Kuniyasu - need help with translation of mei

My father removed this sword from a Captain of the Imperials Marines at the Battle of Okinawa.

I've been told the swordmaker is Kuniyasu.

Can anyone help with the translation of the mei characters?


samurai_sword_1.pdf331.06 KB
mei_2.pdf437.87 KB


Hi Mark,

Yes, it is Kuniyasu. The inscription of the other side is quite interesting. Would you have any other close-up photos in higher resolution? I can read most of it, but there are few characters I'm struggling with.

If you have more photos, you may attach them to the original post by editing it.



Hi Mark,

It appears that it's not the owner's name on the other side, but rather some military mottos:

天長地久 國家安全 武運長久

天長地久 - tenchō chikyū: enduring as the universe; everlasting and unchanging
國家安全 - kuni ie anzen: safety to [our] homes ? - not sure about this one.
武運長久 - buun chōkyū: continued luck in the fortunes of war


This doesn't make much sense to me. Maybe I'm reading it wrong. Higher resolution photos may help to find out.


Higher resolution "rubbing" of mei

Stan, thanks for helping me. Mike


After looking at the hi-res image, I've corrected the second symbol of the second line:


Also, the third symbol is unlikely to be 宥 (maybe 畳 or 膏). I still can't read this line.


They are all slogans.
The 2nd one is read "Kokka Anzen".

The slogan "buun choukyuu" ("The Fortunes of War Forever") was a very popular slogan to write on flags. When a soldier was drafted, he would sometimes be given a flag by his friends and relatives, and they would all sign their names on the flag, and often write a patriotic slogan across the top. The soldier would carry the flag inside his uniform. Years ago, I wrote an article for the "Banzai" newsletter about signed flags and banners.

The last one is read "chi o suu, hone o kamu". It means roughly "suck the blood, chew on the bones". Would be a great slogan for Halloween ! :-)
The kanji are, using the old Nelson numbers: 4205, 885, 5236, 1012.
On the "hone" kanji, there appears to be a small mistake: the stroke should NOT stick out from top, rather the top should be flat.


Hi Pete, Thanks for the

Hi Pete,

Thanks for the clarification!

I'll update the readings tonight.



The final version is then:

天長地久 國家安全 武運長久
tenchō chikyū, kokka anzen, buun chōkyū
chi o suu, hone o kamu

Thanks, Pete!


Thanks a lot for figuring out

Thanks a lot for figuring out the inscriptions.

I especially like the suck blood, chew on bones.