Ryujin Swords

Wakizashi by Shodai Sukehiro, NBTHK Hozon

Click on any picture for more detail.


Period: Kanbun era (1661-1673), Edo period.

Mei: Sesshu [no] ju fujiwara Sukehiro. The blade has recent Hozon origami.

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

Overall length: 21.49 inches (546.00 mm)

Nagasa: 16.18 inches (411.00 mm) long.

Nakago: Ubu, 5.31 inches (135.00 mm), two mekugi-ana, katte-agari yasurime, and ha agari kurijiri. As is typical of this smith, there is no kessho.

Kissaki: Chu-kissaki, 0.96 inches (24.40 mm). The boshi is difficult to see, but is sugu-ha with coming to ko-maru with a slight kaeri.

Moto-haba: 1.08 inches (27.50 mm). Moto-gasane: 0.28 inches (7.20 mm). Saki-haba: 0.66 inches (16.80 mm). Saki-gasane: 0.23 inches (5.80 mm).

Sori: 0.35 inches (8.90 mm)

Hamon: Thick niedeki gunome midare showing kinsuji, ashi, sunagashi and togariba.

Hada: Ko-itame hada with ji-nie.

Blade condition: In good polish. No fatal flaws and no cracks. See photos.


In shirasaya and with koshirae. The koshirae are held together with a tsunagi. See pictures for the koshirae.

The saya is decorated with blue aogai. The nanban tsuba is square, whilst the fuchi-kashira are of shibuichi. The fuchi-kashira feature ume flowers and a small flying bird. The menuki are of shakudo and gold.


A very nice sword by a top smith at a reasonable price. This is actually priced at less than the last price realised for an equivalent sword by this smith at Christies.

The first generation Sukehiro was born Tsuda Yaheinojo in Banshu. He was known throughout his life as Soboro. Fujishiro notes that this strange nickname referred to his habit of wearing threadbare and dirty clothing, without any concern for his appearance. An alternative and more plausible theory was offered by Iida Kazuo in the Sukehiro Taikan. In classical Chinese, "soro" means a place where frost and dew falls. Sukehiro was therefore given this nickname because his swords show the beauty of frost and dew in the hamon.

The shodai Sukehiro studied in Osaka at the school of shodai Kunisuke. Having established himself, became one of the representative smiths of the Osaka Shinto tradition. Fujishiro gives him the extremely high rank Jo-jo saku by Fujishiro, and he is one of only a handful of smiths who are rated at Sai-jo O-wazamono for the supreme sharpness of their blades. Sukehiro’s adopted son is Tsuda Echizen no Kami Sukehiro, one of the best smiths of the Shinto period, and possibly the best smith of the Shinto period.

Sukehiro generally made wakizashi and katana; tanto are rare. His surviving works feature more wakizashi than katana.

Oshigata included.

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