Bungo Takada Mei Help

Greetings from yet another newbie.

This sword was discovered by me at the bottom of a box at an estate garage sale over thirty-five years ago. I paid a whopping $20.00 for it, which at the time was actually quite a bit for a thirteen year old. I knew enough back then, thanks to Hawley's article in the old book "Guns of the World," to only oil the blade and to leave the rest of it alone. I tentatively translated the signature but as my resources were very limited I was unable to learn anything more. Sadly, over time I almost forgot I owned it.

Recently though I have discovered that a wealth of newer resources, including books translated into English and this great site, are now available. So my curiousity in this blade (and indeed the entire fascinating subject) has once more been piqued. I've started a library and am submitting some pictures to the knowledgable folks here in hopes of seeing if what I think I'm learning about this piece is anything like correct.

The basic dimensions are, I believe, as follows:

Mei: Fujiwara Nobuyuki 藤原宣行 (NOB619/676 (?))
Grain Pattern: Ko-itame Hada (There but very hard to see due to current polish (and my poor photographic skills.))
Length from Hamachi: 57.4 cm
Nakago: 13.9 centimeters
Sori: shallow, 1.2 cm
Muni: 7 mm
Kissaki: chu-kissaki (I would have said shobu zukuri until I read Nakahara's book.)
Hamon: Suguha

I believe this is an old Bungo Takada School o-wakazashi blade that was probably put into its current mounts back during the war. It may well be kazu-uchi mono but someone hung onto it for some reason through the years. It looks pretty tired to me but I'm not sure that some of that tiredness isn't a reflection of a less than steller original forging. The edge is still dangerously sharp for what that's worth.

If my attribution is correct, this smith isn't rated very highly on anyone's list. I think it's old and I think it's authentic but I've been wrong on a lot of things before so any validation or corrections or additional insights would be greatly appreciated. If it is determined to be total junk I figure I could always hold a garage sale and try and get my $20.00 back from some unsuspecting thirteen year old. :-)

Thank you very much again for any and all help,
Leo Boyle

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Dear Leo, What a story! I'll

Dear Leo,

What a story!

I'll have a closer look at the signature over weekend (or sooner).


more than $20

Hi Leo,
I think you're correct on pretty much everything.
Fujiwara Nobuyuki.
The late-1500's smiths such as NOB676 are most likely (that's mostly a guess on my part).
It may not be a super blade, but it's far from junk (like the Chinese-made fakes that are so common these days).
Don't pay too much attention to the "rating" of the smith - many of those ratings that people take so seriously are heavily biased.
One of the good things about a relatively unimportant smith is that the signature is not likely to be "gimei" (false).
From what I can see in the picture, I'm not sure that the hamon is a simple suguha - it looks like there is some wavy-ness to it...?


Thank you both very much

Thank you both very much in helping identify this piece. My primary interest has actually been in antique American Long Rifles so this is very much a new arena for me. I must confess that I am more than a little embarrassed that I've had this in my possession for so long and have known so little about it until now.

Regarding the hamon, now that I've looked again you are correct that there is indeed a bit of very soft, cloud top-like waviness. It's not a straight line. There's quite probably a lot that my untrained eyes are simply not seeing. The pictures in the books are great but they are all in black and white and are of well polished swords which of course mine is not (or, at least hasn't been in quite some time.)

My pictures of the blade unfortunately turned out to be my worst shots. Sorry. I had quite a hard time with the reflection. I will attempt to take some more this weekend that are a bit clearer.

Thanks again and have a great day.



Leo Boyle

Hi Leo, Apologies for the

Hi Leo,

Apologies for the spam filter acting up. When there are too many attempts to post spam within 24 hours, the filter may block even legitimate messages.

Now you may post messages without having to to enter confirmation codes. I've also restored your comments.



Hi Leo,
i,ll double your money for you for that blade :-)
i do like the Bungo Takada blades, i have 2 Tomoyuki, i have just put pics of 1 on the private collection forum, have a look,

Long Live Bungo Takada


I appreciate your kind offer but I think I'll hang onto my old blade for maybe just a little while longer :-)

Thanks for sharing your wonderful Tomoyuki with us. There certainly is a family resemblance to mine I think. Do you know exactly which Tomoyuki yours is?



Leo Boyle


Hi Leo,

Yes the Tomoyuki you see is a katana, (Tom364) 2nd Gen, Kanbun 1661-1673
i think the same mans signature is illustrated in Fuller and Gregory military swords of Japan 1868-1945, page 125, ( i,m sure i will be corrected if i,m deluded )i will try to edit a few mei pics to my pic section,

The other 1 that is of for a polish and shirasaya is a long Wakizashi, 57.8cm Tomoyuki 3rd Gen ( Tom 365)1688-1716,

Anyone got a 1st Gen wanting a loving home? :-)