Ryujin Swords

Wakizashi by Bichu no Kami Fujiwara Kiyonobu NBTHK Tokubetsu Kicho

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Period: Edo, post 1645.

Mei: Bichu (No) Kami Fujiwara Kiyonobu. On the reverse it reads "Mino Seki no oite kore so tsukuru".

Sugata: Shinogi-zukuri, tori-zori, iori-mune. Horimono consists of a carving of a rising dragon and, on the reverse, two lines Goma-bashi and Sanskrit characters

Overall length: 27.01 inches (686.00 mm)

Nagasa: 21.42 inches (544.00 mm) long.

Nakago: Ubu, 5.59 inches (142.00 mm), two mekugi-ana. The yasurime are katte sagari.

Kissaki: Chu-kissaki, 1.35 inches (34.30 mm). The boshi looks to be kaen.

Moto-haba: 1.18 inches (29.9 mm). Moto-gasane: 0.28 inches (7.20 mm). Saki-haba: 0.82 inches (20.79 mm). Saki-gasane: 0.22 inches (5.71 mm).

Sori: 0.39 inches (10.00 mm)

Hamon: Suguha.

Hada: Itame-hada with jinie.

Blade condition:

Blade is in good polish.


In shirasaya with gold-foiled habaki.


Bichu (No) Kami Fujiwara Kiyonobu (KIY368), a Mino smith, was the son of Omi (No) Kami Fujiwara Kiyonobu (KIY367). Hawley’s dates may be wrong; he gives the first generation Kiyonobu a floruit of 1624-1644 and the second 1661-1688. However, this would mean that there were just under 20 years between the floruits of the first and second generations. Additionally there is a reference to the second generation Kiyonobu becoming a Bichu Daijo in 1645 and being promoted to Bichu no Kami at some point after that.

Hawley rates the second generation Kiyonobu at 20 points, compared to the 60 points for the first generation. The Toko Taikan rates the second generation at ¥2.3M (page 153) whilst Fujishiro rates him at Chu-jo saku (S399)

The first generation Kiyonobu was skilled at horimono.. It is not impossible that the horimon here was executed by the first generation, even though the sword was made by the second generation

Tokubetsu kicho were issued until June 1982; the modern equivalent is Tokubetsu Hozon.

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