Ryujin Swords

O-Tanto, signed Inoue Shinkai

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Period: Shinshinto

Mei: Inoue Shinkai. This is almost certainly gimei; the blade is Bizen Yokoyama. See notes below.

Sugata: Hira-zukuri, iori-mune.

Overall length: 16.69 inches (424.00 mm)

Nagasa: 13.11 inches (333.00 mm) long.

Nakago: Ubu, 3.58 inches (91.00 mm), the yasurime are kiri, and the nakago-jiri is ha agari kurijiri.

Moto-haba: 1.12 inches (28.50 mm). Moto-gasane: 0.32 inches (8.20 mm).

Sori: 0.11 inches (2.70 mm).

Hamon: Hako/gunome with togari. Muneyaki is present. Boshi is jizo.

Hada: Difficult to see it's that fine, but looks to be mokume/itame.

Blade condition: In recent polish. A few scuffs, and scratches. No fatal flaws and no cracks. See photos.


In Edo period koshirae. Patterned iron fuchi-kashira and flower menuki. See pictures.


This is one solid, very well-made blade, with very good koshirae. It is, however, unlikely to be by Inoue Shinkai. It is almost certainly a Shinshinto blade from Yokoyama school of Bizen province. The Bizen Yokoyama school was founded by Sukehira, the fifth generation after Sazaemon Sukesada, and the younger brother of Gengoro Sukesada. It was a major school whose history stretches from the late 1400ís until after the Meiji Restoration (1867). The last known smith to sign Yokoyama was Sukekane, who described himself as the 60th generation Tomonari.

The Bizen Yokoyama made blades in the style of the Oei Bizen School of the early Muromachi period, and the shape and structure of their swords reflects this. Yokoyama school smiths are all highly regarded. It is therefore well worth having the mei removed, and submitting it to shinsa.

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