Sword identification.

I have a sword I could really use some help with identification and origin. When the sword was passed down to me it had a sticky note stating Ryokai Hideyoshi, Buzen Province. 1428. (Tachi). Is this accurate? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


The signature is:
The "YOSHI" kanji is unusual, and this Hideyoshi seems a bit obscure. He seems to be related to Yoshizane (see YOS1255 or YOS1257 - they use the same unusual kanji for "Yoshi").

I can't see the 'nengo' for the date very well (where the rusty spot is). But if the same person was able to correctly read Ryokai Hideyoshi (not that easy to do!), then I would trust that they read the date correctly also.
After the 'nengo' (era name), it appears to say "22nd year, a day in the 8th month".


Thanks for getting back to me

Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. Do you have any idea on a value?


No, sorry.

Thanks again! Really enjoy

Thanks again! Really enjoy the site.


Not sure if I'm reading it correctly but it does appear to match Yoshizane. Also Yoshizane may have come before Hideyoshi. I will attach what I have found and would be great to hear your opinion. Thanks again.


No, on your blade, the kanji are definitely HIDE and YOSHI.
Using the "Swordsmith index" on this site for examples:
The first kanji of HID80 is the same HIDE.
The first kanji of YOS1255 is the same YOSHI.


Nbthk Chicago

Hi Pete.
I just got back from the sword show in chicago. It passed with a 76. I will attach the sheet I received. If you could help me understand it's meaning. Was told it was a good score but I value your advice on this. Thanks again.


My feeling is that 76 is good score for a blade that is not in good polish.
On the other hand, be aware that a 70-something number is (I believe) a "default" range of numbers.
That is, anything that "passes shinsa" is likely to get at least roughly 70 or so, and only upper-tier blades get into the 80's.
Also be aware that (if I'm not mistaken) this "score" thing is done outside of Japan, for Westerners who are obsessed with "rankings".
Also be aware that it's all highly subjective - a different judge may have given a different opinion.

As for what the judge wrote:
First, looking at the NENGO (era name): Note that both kanji are written in boxes. But looking at the list of NENGO, I don't see anything that matches. My guess is that this person has added the "box" to indicate that the kanji is unclear. If you ignore the box, then the kanji he wrote is "Kyoroku", which starts in 1528. And he says it's the 3rd year, which would be 1530.
The signature:
If you ignore the "box" around the 6th kanji, it confirms what I read. I don't know why he would be so uncertain about the 6th one, unless it is because "Hideyoshi" is an obscure name, and he wondered if it was really something else?
Under the NENGO is the official length: 2.19 SHAKU.
For the HAMON, the kanji he added is "CHUu", meaning "medium (width)".

Note that in the "KANTEI" box he didn't write anything - probably because he didn't know, or was uncertain about the name and date. And he doesn't give any explanation for the "76" rating. Too bad.

The stuff next to "BOSHI" describes the detail of the tip area.
The stuff next to "HORIMONO" describes the 2 grooves and such.

So, unfortunately, overall it really doesn't tell you a lot, other than an opinion on the reading of the signature and date.
At the risk of being too cynical: These sword-show shinsa papers can be a disappointment, because they so often don't commit to anything important. They are for pleasing Westerners, and providing the most basic info.

I assume that you did NOT get a "KANTEISHO" paper from the NTHK? A KANTEISHO is the more formal paper, where a panel of judges has to actually sign their name to it (although they often still don't tell you very many details that we would like to know). KANTEISHO are probably not issued outside of Japan, but I'm not sure.



Hi Pete.
Thanks for your feedback. The origami papers will be sent in roughly 3 months. That will have there formal stamps and description from what I understand. I was told this was there highest score for the day. When I receive the origami I will post for your feedback. Thanks again Pete.


It'll be interesting to see what the origami says. I don't think they will say anything that is "unsure" on a KANTEISHO.
If they took a picture or rubbing, perhaps others in Japan will look at it, or perhaps someone will take the time to do a little research (the guy in Chicago may not bring lots of reference material with him).
For things that are unclear, they can do a couple of things:
- For a kanji that they can't see, I would expect them to write an empty box or empty circle to show that it is unknown.
- They can say something more generic, to be sure that it is accurate (although less specific). For example, the era could be stated as "Muromachi jidai", or whatever.



Always appreciate your feedback. Thanks again Pete.