A Minatogawa Shrine KATANA by Masanao
w/ORIGINAL Navy mounts
Swordsmith: Minatogawa Masanao (湊川神社正直)
Location: Hyôgo Prefecture
Period: WW II
Approx measurements: Nagasa (cutting edge length): 66.5 cm
Kitae: Itame with nagare
Hamon: Gunome-Choji (sugu-chôji-midare)
Nakago: Kikusui mon, one mekugiana, Ubu
Habaki: Copper with Kikusui mon
Signature: Minatogawa-jinja Masanao" (湊川神社正直) and dated with "a day in the ninth month Showa 17 " (昭和十七年九月日).
Certificate: N.T.H.K Kanteisho (Important work) 75 pts, 1997 New York NY NTHK shinsa, See shinsa work sheet further below.
Condition: This is an excellent blade overall!
Included: Original Navy mounts on a new tsunagi, Shirasaya, carry bags
Note: Family name was Okada (岡田), he studied with master Moriwaki Masamori. His given name was Okada Yoshiaki, born 1917.
MINATOGAWA SHRINE SWORDS
The Minatogawa Shrine or Minatogawa Jinja was established in 1941 by the Japanese Navy to produce swords for distribution through the Japanese Naval Academy. The head swordsmith was Kasame Moriwaka (Masataka). Masataka first signed his swords as either Michimasa or Morimitsu, but adopted the name Masataka and the kikusui mon upon the establishment of the Shrine. The Minatogawa Jinja smiths produced true gendaito. The swords of the Minatogawa Jinja are normally designated with a kiku-sui mon (chrysanthemum on water) above the swordsmith's signature. One unusual early sword of this group is signed: Oite Minatogawa Jinja Michimasa, dated 1941, and lacks the kikusui mon. That blade has received a Hozon origami from the NBTHK. It is believed that all smiths of this group used Masa as the first character of their name. The signature (mei) normally reads "Minatogawa Jinja Masa----". Some of the smiths working at the Minatogawa Jinja were Moriwaka Masataka (oshigata at right courtesy of Ron Polansky), Masahide, Ito Masakiyo, Masuda Masaaki, Murakami Michimasa Masatada, Fujiwara Masayoshi, Okada Masanao, Masamitsu (Fujita Masami) and Unshu Norimasa (Bando Norimasa). Minatogawa swords are very well made and much sought after by collectors; there being very few of them made.
There are several blades known made by Noshu Seki 23rd Generation Kanefusa which have the kiku-sui mon carved as a horimono on the blade (not on the nakago). These blades were not made at the Minatogawa Jinja Tanrensho and have no known connection with it. These swords probably were a special order from a group of Naval officers or a Naval officer's association.
Herman Wallinga's article Gendaito Made at the Minatogawa Shrine, published in the Japanese Sword Society of the United States Journal (volume 33, number 3, 2001) is the definitive English language reference for blades of the Minatogawa Shrine.
Courtesy of: The Japanese sword index
Pages from- Herman Wallinga's article Gendaito Made at the Minatogawa Shrine
NTHK certificate translation
kantei-sho (鑑定書) – Appraisal
Minatogawa-jinja Masanao (湊川神社正直)
shôshin (正真) – Authentic
nagasa 2shaku 2 sun 0 bu han kore ari (長さ貮尺貮寸分半有之) – Blade length ~ 66.8 cm
Heisei 9nen 10 gatsu 12 nichi (平成九年十月十二日) – October 12, 1997
Nihon Tôken Hozon Kai (日本刀剣保存会) – NTHK
meibun (銘文) – Signature: [kikusui-mon] Minatogawa-jinja Masanao (湊川神社正直)
Shôwa jûnananen kugatsu hi (昭和十七年九月日, "a day in
kitae (鍛) – Forging: itame-nagare
hamon (刃紋) – Hardening: sugu-chôji-midare
bôshi (鋩子) – Hardening in tip: ko-maru
chôkoku (彫刻) – Engravings:
nakago (中心) – Tang: mekugi-ana (目釘穴) 1, yasurime (鑢): kiri
bikô (備考) – Remarks: Hyôgo Prefecture, gendai
shinsa’in natsu’in (審査員捺印) – Seals of Judges: 2 seals
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