Ryujin Swords

Chisa-katana by Omi no kami Fujiwara Tsuguhiro in 1886 Army kyo-gunto mounts

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Period: Edo (Kanbun to Jokyo eras, 1661-1688).

Mei: Omi kami Fujiwara Tsuguhiro

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

Overall length: 27.72 inches (704.00 mm).

Nagasa: 21.77 inches (553.00 mm).

Nakago: Ubu, 5.94 inches (151.00 mm). Iriyama gata nakagojiri, katte sagari yasurime, one mekugi-ana.

Kissaki: Chu-kissaki, 1.15 inches (29.3 mm), ko-maru boshi.

Moto-haba: 1.15 inches (29.30 mm). Saki-haba: 0.73 inches (18.50 mm). Moto-gasane: 0.28 inches (7.00 mm). Saki-gasane: 0.19 inches (4.80 mm).

Sori: 0.49 inches (12.60 mm).

Hamon: Notare. Further details are not particularly clear, due to the polish, but there appears to be sunagashi.

Hada: Difficult to make out, due to the polish - it needs a magnifying lens - but it looks like ko-mokume.

Blade condition: In old polish and good condition. No ware or fatal flaws, and only the odd scuff. It will polish up beautifully.


In 1886 Army kyo-gunto field officer mounts with a leather combat saya cover. The mounts are in excellent condition, with everything original. Unusually, the tsuka is wrapped in black same, rather than the usual white, and the mekugi is of brass, rather than bamboo or horn.


This sword was originally owned by the late Ron Gregory, of Fuller and Gregory fame. It is being sold on consignment.

An interesting sword that combines an ancestral blade with almost perfect late Meiji military mounts. At 21 inches (553.00 mm) the nagasa is intermediate in length between a katana and the average wakizashi length. It should properly be considered a chisa-katana; the proportions are that of a katana, rather than a wakizashi, and it is between 1 and 2 shaku in length. Additionally, a chisa-katana did not have a companion sword.

The mei belongs to one of two smiths. The first generation (shodai) Tsuguhiro worked 1661-88 (TSU181, 25pts; TT p391). The second generation (nidai) is dated by Hawley as 1688 (TSU182, 15pts). The nidai Tsuguhiro worked in Kanda, Bushu province, where he continued the style of the shodai. Fujishiro rates the work of the nidai as chu-jo saku (above average skill), and his swords have obtained a sharpness rating of wazamono for their high degree of cutting ability. Although the shodai’s swords have been considered better by some authors, this is a matter of subjective opinion.

Hawley describes the work of the nidai as being characterised by suguha hamon and mokume hada. That, and the mei, indicates that this may be the work of the shodai Tsuguhiro. This however is merely an opinion, and it would however need to go to shinsa to determine which of the two smiths made this sword. It would certainly be very worthwhile getting this sword both polished and papered. Whichever it should prove to be, this is an excellent and untired Shinto period sword.