wazikashi inscription

can anyone help me figure out what this inscription means? i'm trying to decide if this sword is worthy of a restoration or not. it was handed down to me from my father. his great uncle was a naval surgeon and stationed at Yokohama during the Spanish American war. I would love to know the sword maker and when it was made etc. If anyone can help that would be greatly appreciated.

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The signature is "HEIANJOu JUu KUNITAKE".
See KUN1263, from the 17th century.
I cannot verify anything, but that MAY be what it is.

I would not recommend a restoration. A large piece is missing from the tip, it appears to already have been polished multiple times, and it would be very expensive.
It's a great piece of Samurai history just the way it is.


could this be a forgery or

could this be a forgery or even chinese characters? i have had a few other people look at it with mixed reviews. I can't seem to verify the exact signature. can anyone recommend an authority who could look at it and give some definitive answers. thank you.


Looks like a real japanese sword, not a chinese fake. Many swords have fake signatures while still being old and "real". Definitive answers are hard to come by. A Nihonto group near you that you could take it to would be best.


I agree with Looper.
And to clarify, what we mean by "fake signature" in this case is that the smith who made it and signed it was NOT actually Heianjo Kunitake, but rather some other smith who wanted to sell his blade for a higher price. It's called a "gimei", meaning "false name".
It may or may not be a gimei blade.
It may be a high quality blade either way.

To get a "somewhat definitive" answer on is it gimei or not, you would need to show it to a knowledgeable collector - someone with experience on this smith's school and work style.

To get a "very definitive" answer, you would need to get it polished by a real Togishi, then submit it for "shinsa". A shinsa is a formal evaluation by recognized Japanese experts. If they think it's good, they would give you a "kanteisho", which is a written evaluation certificate.
In the end, it's still just an opinion, but it's such a good opinion that nobody would argue with you.


thank you

thank you Pete, I am planning on submitting to shinsa and/or sending over to Japan to have it polished and restored.

polish, then shinsa

Note that to submit it to shinsa, I'm pretty sure that will have to invest in a polish first. Without the polish, the details aren't clear enough.
And I want to mention again that IN MY OPINION it's not a very good candidate for polish, because of the broken tip, and the "tired" body. For the latter, what I think I see in your pictures is that the hamachi is shallow, and the blade narrows in the few inches beyond the hamachi. If true, this means that it's already been polished about as much as it can stand. One more polish MAY be OK, but there is a big risk of exposing the core steel, or exposing other problems that are best left alone.
The broken tip will cause the polisher to re-shape the entire tip, which is going to remove a LOT of steel...