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To exploit the sensational evil reputation of Muramasa swords, the writers of kabuki plays used various themes during the late Tokugawa period.  The most frightful of these plays was called “Sato kotoba Awase Kagami” which is commonly known as “Yoshiwara Hyaku ningen” (“Killing a Hundred Persons in the Entertainment District”)  In this play, the killer, a rich silk merchant named Sano Jirozaemon ran amuck with a Muramasa sword.

In another play, “Hachimon Matsuri Tomiya No Nigiwai” a crepe cloth merchant named Chijimiya Shinsuke killed four persons after getting hypnotized by the evil spirit of his Muramasa blade.By means of these plays, the evil reputation of Muramasa swords became known to people in every walk of life.  But on the other hand, there were many persons who did not believe the old superstitions, and in later times, they were not considered evil or unlucky.  Towards the end of the Tokugawa period and on, most samurai were desirous of obtaining one on account of their reputation for sharpness and great strength. 


Yasu Kizu