◯ 永延︱ 山城
Biography and lineage
His most famous extant work is meibutsu Mikazuki ‘Crescent Moon’ Munechika (三日月宗近), one of the Five Greatest Swords of Japan, held in Tokyo National Museum.
According to an old legend (the story can be also seen in the Noh play “Kokaji”), Munechika was ordered to make a sword for the Emperor, so he visited Fushimi Shrine in Kyoto to pray for help. As he prayed, a fox-spirit of Inari appeared and helped him construct a sword of exceptional beauty, later called ko-kitsune-maru ('Little Fox').
Picture 1 (left): Munechika forging a blade ko-kitsune-maru, assisted by a Fox-Spirit in the form of a woman, by Ogata Gekko, 1873
Workmanship and style 
Shape and construction
Munechika's tachi tend to be slightly stronger in shape as compared to those of other Heian period smiths. His blades lack hiraniku.
Kissaki is a little longer than usual for this period. He made kodachi at times. In all cases blades have much grace and elegance.
Bo-hi ending in kakudome or in kakinagashi. The tip of the hi covers the whole area of the ko-shinogi.
It is said in the old texts that he made other carvings, such as banners, hoko and suken. There are no known extant blades with these styles of carving.
The width of the hamon starts out wide at the hilt and becomes narrow as it goes towards the kissaki. The hamon itself is in nie in suguba with ko-choji midare mixed in. Deep nioi is mixed in the nie.
And the habuchi and inside the hamon there are many clusters of nie either as inazuma, kinsuji or uchinoke. Nijuba will be found from the monouchi area towards the kissaki.
Boshi is made in nie kuzure, kaen and komaru with very little kaeri. There are some swords that are done in yakizume.
Jitetsu and hada
High quality iron has been well worked together into exceptionally fine steel resulting in ko-mokume hada and with abundance of ji-nie. Chikei will be found in places.
Nakago is made long and has sori. It exhibits hiraniku. Nakago-jiri becomes square and there are occasional kiji-momo.