Wakizashi ID Help (Koto Period?)

I inherited this sword from my grandfather who served in Japan during World War II. It has sat in my closet for years and on a whim I put it on eBay for sale and was inundated with very high offers based on only passable pictures.

I (obviously) had no idea of the swords provenance or value. Any clues in terms of history, value, condition (I understand it will need a good restoration) would be much appreciated. I understand only so much can be gleaned from pictures. I have also put very high resolution images at my website oscarbrockert.com (the pictures on the website are clickable to bring up the high res version)

I have teased out the signature on the blade as best I can and I've highlighted it in red in one of the pictures.

I appreciate any help as this world of Japanese swords is much more vast than I realized.


Hi Jason,

The second symbol is very faint, but I'd read the signature is Yukihira (行平). And this reading is correct then it explains why you got so much interest in your sword because people may think (or hope) it may be a work of famous Bungo Yukihira. And even though I always stay on conservative side and my usual first reaction when seeing a 'big' name is that it's a fake, I'm quite excited about this one.

The sword is in very poor condition. First of all, it doesn't matter if it's a real sword by the famous master or a fake, don't attempt to clean, polish or 'improve' it in any other way.

Secondly, I've never heard of a wakizashi by Bungo Yukihira, as he made mostly (or only) tachi. What IS interesting though is the horimono (the carving on the blade surface). I looked into 2-4 books which show other works of Yukihira and most of them have the same motif and some - similar style. The horimono itself looks very poorly cut (on your sword), which is a minus, but closer examination (in person) may reveal that it was polished over and this may explain its poor appearance. But even if it's an old fake, the forger tried very hard to make this sword make real by faking both signature and carvings (which was quite common, by the way).

Sword fittings looks quite nice on their own too. They are wirth quite a bit even without the blade.

Ok, now I'll get back to my conservative self. Bungo Yukihira is a legend. One of his swords (Kokin Denju no Tachi) is a National Treasure of Japan. I'm sure there were many attempts to fake his works over last 800 years and you may own one of them. But the mere possibility of scoring big may get eBay folks excited. I'd suggest showing this sword to someone knowledgeable and see what they say after seeing the sword in person.

Can you please confirm the length of the blade? Is it 16 inches (blade surface only, without the tang)?

Can you also please make a photo showing the thickness of the blade at the base? (like here )



Hi Stan,

Thanks so much for the reply. This world of Japanese swords is vast but finding someone to talk to about it is a little less vast.

Love if you are correct on the signature but either way, its actually been fun to find that the sword is probably way older than I thought with some history either way.

The blade is 15 7/8 blade surface only.

I will upload a picture of the width of the blade.

I am also here in New England and I havent been able to find anyone to take the sword to to get it looked at. Any suggestions that you know of? I thought of contacting the Higgins Armory in Worcester, MA but it seemed presumptuous for an old rusty sword... maybe not?

try Boston

Google "Boston token kai".
Or, do a similar search on any major U.S. city.
Or, ask at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Their web site says that they have a special exhibit this summer titled "Samurai!".

At a "token kai" (sword collector's club), what you want to do is identify one or two members who are experienced collectors, but generally NOT dealers.


Bungo Yukihira

Hi Jason,

I've added all swords by Yukihira I could find to the smith's page. Some images show horimono.

Have a look at this kodachi which was for sale in Bonhams (see http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/17926/lot/3084/). This is the only blade of comparable size (to your sword).