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Muramasa

MURAMASA

 

The list of Wazamono is a list of 228 swordsmithsof katana and other weapons in the book Kaihō kenjaku (懐宝剣尺 Pocket Treasured Sword Length or Kaihō-kenshaku, released in 1815 by Yamada Asaemon. (Yamada Asaemon V was one among a direct line of official sword testers for the bakufu during the Edo Period, every generation of whom inherited that name).

 

The work lists 14 saijō ōwazamono (最上大業物 "supreme sharpness swords"), 20 ōwazamono (大業物 "great sharpness swords"), 50 ryōwazamono (良業物 "good sharp swords"), 80 wazamno (業物 wazamono, "sharp swords"), and 60 makes with mixed levels of sharpness.

 

Saijō ōwazamono

 

14 in this category:

 

Osafune Hidemitsu (長船秀光?)

Mihara Masaie (三原正家) I

Osafune Motoshige (長船元重)

Nagasone Okisato (長曾弥興?) = Nagasone Kotetsu (虎徹?) I

Nagasone Okimasa (長曾弥興正?) = Kotetsu II

Seikan Kanemoto (清関兼元?) = Kanemoto I

Magoroku Kanemoto (孫六兼元?) = Kanemoto II

Izumi no Kami Kanesada (ja:和泉守兼定?) = Kanesada II or "Nosada"

Sendai Kunikane I (初代仙台国包?)

Sukehiro I = Soboro Sukehiro (ソボロ助広?)

Tadayoshi I (初代忠吉?)

Tadayoshi III = Mutsu no Kami Tadayoshi (陸奥守忠吉?)

Tatara Nagayuki (多々良長幸?)

Sanzen Nagamichi I (初代三善長道?)

 

The list does cover both shintō (new sword) as well as the kotō (old sword). However it omits pieces by the most preeminent smiths from the kotō period (900 to 1596 AD), blades by e.g. Sōshū Masamune, Sōshū Sadamune, O Kanemitsu, Bizen Nagamitsu and Ise Muramasa. Such treasure swords never underwent test-cutting during the Edo Period, being considered too valuable as historical art objects to risk damage.

 

The claims that swords of Muramasa are second only to Masamune can be disputed, but certainly they have been nearly as famous.

 

Those swords made by Muramasa of Ise Province are as sharp as those classified “Supreme Sharpness” by the official tester Yamada Asaemon.  In fact, Kubata Sagana, a kendo teacher of the late Tokugawa era wrote that a Muramasa blade was sharper than those made by O Kanemitsu.

 

Many lords and samurai chose Muramasa blades of “Supreme Sharpness” for their own use.Among them were Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Maeda Toshiiye, Fukushima Masanori, and Sanada Yukimura.