Family Wakizashi (I believe)

I have a sword that my father brought back at the end of WWII. This, as far as I know, is not a family heirloom (though, my family is Japanese). I believe my father purchased it for his father in law though, I'm not certain.

I'm trying to determine age and swordsmith.

I've looked thru the Kanji but my eyes don't find a match.

I've included some pictures of the sword that I hope are clear enough for someone with great knowledge on swords can tell me a bit more about what I have.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated and I'll be happy to answer any questions I can.

BTW, there is a bit of rust on the last 2 inches of the blade from an unfortunate storage location (and a drip...). I've done nothing on the bland except to wipe it with a light coat of oil (which I got from a knife shop a few years ago) with hopes of at least stopping the rust from progressing. Any suggestions would be, again, greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much!

Gary M


Hi Gary,

I've migrated your photos into the new imaging system which was rolled out yesterday.

The signature reads:

morikatsu saku

which means: 'made by Morikatsu'.

There were at least 7 smiths called Morikatsu: 1 from Bungo province, 1 from Chikuzen, 1 from Hitachi and 4 from Shimotsuke (here's one of them). They worked between 1520 and 1854.

When I have more time I'll look for more details.

UPDATE: I looked into Nihonto Meikan (the largest smith directory) and only MOR102 is listed to have signed 'morikatsu saku'. I also found a record of a sword by this Morikatsu in my personal files which bears a close resemblance in style and shape to your sword.


Thank you so much! This is

Thank you so much! This is great information! Do we have any idea what was written on the smaller blade ?


The little blade is a "kogatana" (lit. "small sword"). It is often called a "kozuka", although that term technically refers to the handle part, not the blade.
The signature on it is "Seki Kanemoto" (it's upside-down in the picture). I have a very similar one. Is there a visible hamon (temper line) on the other side? If so, can you desribe the shape, or post a picture? My Kanemoto has a "sanbonsugi" hamon, which is the style that Kanemoto was famous for. It looks like 3 bumps, the middle one taller than the other two.

The big blade has a somewhat unusual shape. Years ago I had a similar one signed "Masamune" (NOT the famous one, of course, else I would have retired a long time ago!).
Something to think about:
- The blade's overall shape and curvature,
- The "hi" (groove) extends into the nakago (tang),
- The signature looks very crisp (not super old).
It makes me wonder if it is a naginata (halberd) blade that was cut short and mounted as a sword (and re-signed)...
I don't know how likely this is, just an idea.


Pete, Again, many thanks!


Again, many thanks!

How could I tell if the sword would have been cut down? Is there any "real" (realistic) way to tell the age? I can tell you, that since I've had the sword (30 years), this is the first time the handle has been removed.

BTW, I decided to "store" the sword in a vacume bag (like you use for food)... I would think this would keep moisture out... What is the general thoughts about storing this way ?

Thanks folks!

Gary M