Ryujin Swords

Gendaito by Goto Kanehiro in naval tachi mounts

Click on any picture for more detail.


Period: Showa, pre-WW2.

Mei: Goto Kanehiro saku

Sugata: Shinogi-zukuri, tori-zori, iori-mune.

Overall length: 33.86 inches (860.00 mm).

Nagasa: 25.59 inches (650.00 mm).

Nakago: Ubu, 8.27 inches (210.00 mm). Takanoha yasurime, one mekugi-ana.

Kissaki: Chu-kissaki, 1.31 inches (33.40 mm), ko-maru boshi.

Moto-haba: 1.20 inches (30.60 mm). Saki-haba: 0.83 inches (21.00 mm). Moto-gasane: 0.32 inches (8.30 mm). Saki-gasane: 0.24 inches (6.00 mm).

Sori: 0.56 inches (14.20 mm).

Hamon: Notare-midare.

Hada: A fine nashiji-hada. It's not easily seen in these photos, partially due to my technique. I shall try and do some better pictures.

Blade condition: In good condition. No ware or fatal flaws, and only the odd scuff. It could do with a better polish - it will polish up beautifully.


Formal naval kai-gunto mounts, including a same-nuri saya and black same.


His given name was Goto Hiroyoshi, born 1 October 1907 and apprenticed to Katsumasa. According to various sources, he reputedly made only hantanto-gunto from Yasuki steel (a very high grade carbon steel); Slough, for example, mentions Goto Kanehiro as making medium grade showato. The construction and steel was non-traditional, but the hamon was created by the traditional clay and water quenching method. This is not, however, a showato; there are no stamps of any kind on it, as would have been required by law, and there is no evidence that such a stamp has been removed. In short, we have a gendaito. Given the high quality formal naval mounts, one is left to conclude that it was a special order, and possibly even a one-off. In short, it is a highly unusual sword.

Kanehiro certainly knew how to make a sword in the traditional manner. He was apprenticed to Katsumasa and in 1941 won 4th seat at the Exhibition. In 1942 he was ranked Chuge Sake by Kurihara Hikosaburo. His choice of method for producing military swords therefore almost certainly reflected maintaining the volume required by the military authorities and the shortage of tamahagane. That does not however exclude the smith from making custom order swords in the traditional manner. Whether this sword was made for a friend, relative or important paying customer is, unfortunately, not something that we are ever likely to know, since Goto Kanehiro died 26 January 1960 at the young age of 52.