Osafune Chogi Katana

Osafune Chogi

periodNanbokucho (ca. 1362)
designationNBTHK Tokubetsu Juyo Token Katana
ratingSai-jo saku · Ryo-wazamono
nakagoo-suriage, mumei
nagasa71.2 cm
sori1.9 cm
motohaba3.2 cm
sakihaba2.3 cm
kissaki4.2 cm
nakago nagasa18.4 cm
nakago sorislight
price -sold-

CHOGI along with KANEMITSU is one of the two great smiths of Bizen Province during the early Yoshino Period and both of these smiths having studied under MASAMUNE in Kamakura are counted in the MASAMUNE JITTETSU.

CHOGI was the first swordsmith in Bizen Province to break away from the tradition that was started in the late Heian Period by the KO-BIZEN swordsmiths and his works are made in a combination of Bizen Tradition and Soshu Tradition quite akin to those previous to his time.

Traditionally, the soft steel used by the Bizen smiths is said to be very difficult to work in NIE, however CHOGI succeeded in this which tells of the skill that CHOGI had. In comparison to KANEMITSU’s work, whose work is very much subdued, CHOGI"s work is made quite HADE (loud). Even those works that are worked in NIOI alone will have much to see due to the extreme activity of the workings in it, so much so that there will be NIOI SHIMI within the HAMON. Albert Yamanaka, Nihonto Newsletters

This Soden-Bizen style takes its name from its hybridization of the main line of Bizen with the Soshu wave that swept out of Kamakura under Masamune. Chogi is considered the leader of the Soden branch of the Bizen tradition due to his in depth use of Soshu techniques. His name can also be read as Nagayoshi, but Chogi is the commonly accepted pronunciation. It is essentially a nickname and shows both a fondness of his work and remarks on his distinctive style among the Bizen smiths.

Detail of Tokubetsu Juyo Osafune Chogi KatanaDetail of Tokubetsu Juyo Osafune Chogi Katana

The genealogy of Osafune follows from Mitsutada. His son Nagamitsu is followed by Kagemitsu, and Kanemitsu as the main line of Osafune. Nagamitsu’s younger brother Sanenaga is followed by Mitsunaga, and Mitsunaga’s sons are Nagashige and Chogi, making for the second line of Osafune. Mitsutada, Nagamitsu, Kagemitsu, Kanemitsu and Chogi are all ranked Sai-jo saku while Sanenaga and Nagashige are Jo-jo saku and Mitsunaga is Jo-saku. Chogi seems to have elevated his line according to these rankings. Mitsunaga left us very few works so Fujishiro may never have seen any examples, resulting in a conservative ranking.

In the work of Kanemitsu and Chogi (both of whom are counted among Masamune’s Juttetsu, or ten excellent students), and Motoshige (said to be one of Sadamune’s Santetsu, or three excellent students), the influence of the Soshu-den is clearly recognizable. The question of just who were Masamune’s ten students or Sadamune’s three students aside, it is quite interesting to note that the Soshu tradition came into vogue even in the famous sword-producing region of Bizen province and that smiths there actually incorporated several Soshu elements into their sword production; this amalgamated Nanbokucho-period workmanship is known as the So-den Bizen.

Generally, Bizen swords made during the Nanbokucho period are called So-den Bizen. Among these, those by Chogi and his school show the most distinct features of the Soshu tradition. Some of their hamon and jihada are reminiscent of work by masters of Soshu province. Their work, dating from the Kenmu through the Enbun eras (1334-1360), has been confirmed as extant. Nagashige, Kanenaga (or Kencho) and Nagamori belong to this school. Kokan Nagayama, The Connoisseur’s Book of Japanese Swords

Chogi is a peer of Kanemitsu in time and skill, but his work is even distinctive due to its departure from the traditional workmanship of Bizen. These two smiths were the best smiths alive at their peak and it is safe to say that with their passing the high water mark of skill and talent was never surpassed again until the present day. Through their leadership Bizen would achieve and maintain supremacy from the middle of the Nanbokucho period until the end of all koto traditions many centuries later.

Detail of Tokubetsu Juyo Osafune Chogi KatanaDetail of Tokubetsu Juyo Osafune Chogi Katana
The Hachimonji Chogi
The Hachimonji Chogi

Chogi throughout the samurai era was considered to have several excellent students, which include Kencho (aka. Kanenaga), Nagamori, and Nagashige. In the current era the dated works of Nagashige reveal that he is a predecessor of Chogi and Kanemitsu rather than a follower. Nagashige’s work is the first work from Bizen that shows the Soshu style, and as he left dated work from 1334 which is now Kokuho and overlapped with the end of Masamune’s career. Dr. Honma was of the opinion then that Nagashige was likely one of Masamune’s students and the conclusion from this is that Nagashige transmitted the Soshu tradition to Chogi (Nagayoshi).

Chogi’s work adopted more Shoshu Den characteristics than Kanemitsu’s, and in historical times, people used to say that his work and style is the most distant from the Bizen style.

In his characteristic work the jihada and hamon have frequent nie, which is a strong Soshu-den detail. But there is a strong Bizen-den style tachi, which is the Noshu Takasu Matsudaira family’s tachi classified as Juyo Bunkazai. NBTHK Token Bijutsu

Chogi’s work has become synonymous with o-kissaki and massive shapes with an extreme masculinity, even more so than Kanemitsu. One of his massive blades retains a length of 78.4 cm and is known as the Hachimonji-Chogi. It has this name from the legend that Satake Yoshishige used it to cut an enemy from the Hojo clan in half from shoulder to hip, making for a shape like the Japanese numeral for hachi (8, 八). I was lucky enough to handle this blade in Japan many years ago, before it passed Tokubetsu Juyo.

This type of grand sword is also made by Kencho and the styles Chogi invented became the template for the Oei Bizen smiths who completed the dominance of Bizen technology that would resonate throughout the Muromachi period. His work as a result is extremely popular with collectors, and becomes a very easy kantei to achieve at a glance because there is no other smith who combines these shapes and styles and quality of manufacture at the same time.

Detail of Tokubetsu Juyo Osafune Chogi Katana

Because the traditional Bizen style took a turn under Chogi and Kanemitsu, these two smiths in later years were grouped in the Masamune Juttetsu, the 10 great students of Masamune. Today it is thought that this was not the case with these smiths. Fujishiro and other scholars believed that the Soshu revolution spread throughout Japan and affected works in all areas.

Bishu Osafune Chogi
Bishu Osafune Chogi

However, due to the very large size of the works made during the height of the Soden-Bizen tradition, the vast majority became o-suriage mumei during the Muromachi to Momoyama periods so we rarely encounter signed tachi by this smith. Though we think of the typical hirazukuri ko-wakizashi of the Nanbokucho period as enlarged tanto, they are not, they are instead their own special kind of sidearm. Smiths like Chogi, Samonji, and Shizu made tanto which are characterized by a rather small size and show these ko-wakizashi to be variants of uchigatana that originate in the Kamakura period.

Chogi’s signature can be found on eight Juyo, four Tokubetsu Juyo, one Juyo Bijutsuhin and one Juyo Bunkazai tanto for a total of 14 pieces. There are a further single signed uchigatana at the Juyo level, one signed naginata naoshi (Tokuju) and five signed tachi (3 Juyo, two Juyo Bunkazai). One of the Tokuju tachi is actually gakumei now, which can cause it to be classified as a katana. There is at least one Tokubetsu Hozon signed and dated tanto lurking out there that may pass Juyo in the future. Of note, one of the Juyo is known to be a signed tachi as it appears in the Kozan Oshigata, however, for some reason in later years the mei and date of Joji 6 were tragically filed off. Most of these mei follow the form of Bishu Osafune Ju Chogi but sometimes he used a signature with Bizen rather than Bishu, and added Saku at times.

37 cm Ko-wakizashi
37 cm Ko-wakizashi

The tanto he made are of lengths between 19.9 cm (rather small) and 28.2 (rather big) which again show that he was not so constrained to one style of work. He left two ko-wakizashi 31.4 cm and 37 cm, the latter of which seems to show the influence of Sadamune and has a 1372 date.

Chogi’s dated work is shown mostly on these tanto and wakizashi, and shows a range between 1350 and 1380. There are tachi of 82.6 cm and uchigatana of 61.9 cm both dated 1379 (the latter of which is also in the Kozan oshigata). There is also one lost uchigatana of 1.99 shaku in hitatsura of which we have an oshigata with the date partially punched out, but appears to be Kentoku 5 (1374). Another interesting note about his dates is that in the beginning of his work span he used the Southern Court dating, and then switched to the Northern Court. The name of the Nanbokucho period is taken from these two factions. The Southern Court of Emperor Go-Daigo is considered by historians to be the legitimate one of the two, while the Northern Court of the Ashikaga Shogun won the struggle. So, we can see the political tide mirrored in Chogi’s switch of his dating system in his works. Unlike Chogi, Kanemitsu always used the Northern Court’s dating system, which may imply they had different customer bases though they were working side by side in Osafune.

Chogi’s horimono show variety which show further inspiration from the Soshu tradition. These include gomabashi, suken, futasujibi, bohi, soebi, koshibi, ryu (dragons), tsume, and various ken and bonji set into koshibi or bohi. Inscriptions of Hachiman Daibosatsu can be found on some works which may mark them as being intended as temple or shrine dedications. His bonji can be found above suken and gomabashi similar to Soshu Sadamune, but many interesting variants are found at the base of hi and due to the former great length of the tachi many have left remnants in the nakago after the blades have been made suriage.

Horimono Remnants
Horimono Remnants
Hamon Types
Hamon Types

The hamon is o-midare with a mixture of notare and genome, is generally a larger pattern compared to that KANEMITSU, with abundant nie, nioi fukai, with abundant midare ashi, there is also tamayaki, tobiyaki, they have ambition, and are busy. Occasionally, there is one that is mostly nioi deki. If viewed from the skill of the hamon, they have more ambition than those of KANEMITSU, and are rich with variations. However, there is occasionally one which has a bit of weakness in the ha. Nihonto Koza

His hamon also contain a vast number of styles which show a desire to experiment and manufacture new types of work. Some of these hamon are clearly anchored in tradition Bizen techniques while some others are similar to Soshu and some are simply his own inventions. Within these one of his signature elements is an ear shape which appears in his choji midare type of hamon. These hamon vary from nioi to nie based and the more nie that is found in the hamon correspond with diminished utsuri.

From all of this we can get the image of Chogi as a smith who was concerned with stylistic variety and a virtuoso skill-set. One thing that seems to never change is his signature though, which seems to have a remarkable easygoing nature with characters that appear to be rather wide and fat as seen above.

Detail of Tokubetsu Juyo Osafune Chogi KatanaDetail of Tokubetsu Juyo Osafune Chogi Katana
Hitatsura uchigatana (now lost)
Hitatsura uchigatana (now lost)

Around the peak of the Nanbokucho period, the Osafune school’s top master smith Kanemitsu established a unique notare hamon and produced many of them. His notare hamon are gentle, the tops of the hamon are ko-gunome, and there is a balanced and orderly shaped hamon. With this hamon, the shapes are an Enbun Joji style, with a long dynamic shape. Chogi’s jihada are mainstream Osafune’s tight itame refined jihada, and there is a bright nioiguchi. He established his own legitimate dynamic style.

This Chogi notare hamon is mixed with frequent ko-choji and ko-gunome, the top of the notare hamon has vertical alterations, and even the entire notare hamon has vertical variations, and there are frequent ashi and yo hataraki. Looking at the ashi and yo hataraki, some places under the ashi have yo, and in some places the yo are stacked into two or three layers. Also, some ashi short and some are long, and a lot of hataraki are seen. With this kind of complex hamon, it is not overwhelming, and the entire hamon is well balanced, a lot of alterations and dynamic changes. This is different from Kanemitsu, and shows Chogi’s characteristic notare hamon and his high level of skill. NBTHK Token Bijutsu

His importance as a swordsmith is underlined by Fujishiro’s Sai-jo saku rating, and by the fact that 30 of his swords have passed Tokubetsu Juyo, with 61 remaining Juyo. So about one in three have already passed Tokuju. These 91 swords are accompanied by six Juyo Bijutsuhin and five Juyo Bunkazai, making for a total of 102 works of his known at the Juyo and higher levels. These blades were precious to daimyo and we know the Abe, Matsudaira, Satake, Arima, Honda, Hosokawa, Ikeda, Inaba, Kuroda, Tsugaru, Okubo, Sakai, Satake, Shimazu, and Yamanouchi clans all handed these works down to the present period. The Tokugawa Shoguns, along with the Mito and Kishu Tokugawa did as well. Topping this off is an excellent cutting rating of Ryo-wazamono. That these blades will cut well is something they project to the viewer at a glance.

Detail of Tokubetsu Juyo Osafune Chogi Katana

Juyo Bunkazai References

Owari Tokugawa Zaimei Tachi

This signed Chogi tachi is was made a little bit shorted than the usual massive works of the Nanbokucho period, so luckily retains its signature Bishu Osafune Chogi and stands as an important reference work for the smith. It is almost identical in style to the Tokubetsu Juyo example above and this fact is cited in the sayagaki for the sword. This Juyo Bunkazai work can be considered to be the finest example of Chogi left to us as it was previously ranked Kokuho before the restructuring of the old Juyo Bijutsuhin and Kokuho blades. It was also an heirloom of the Matsudaira - Owari Tokugawa and also was present in the Aoyama collection. Mr. Aoyama was the best collector of the 20th century and had five Kokuho in his collection, as well as this Tachi and many other extremely fine works. His collection also included fittings and notably were the components of the Museum of Japanese Sword Fittings which was broken up and auctioned at Christie’s after his death.

Osafune Chogi Katana Aoyama Jubun

This shinogi-zukuri, iori-mune tachi is wide but has a narrow shinogi-haba. The kasane is fairly thin, and the sori is modest. The kissaki is large dimensioned and adds sturdiness to the blade structure.

The kitae is itame with moku. The grain is tight and compact with ji-nie forming chikei. The midare utsuri is clearly visible.

The hamon is basically the mountain-shape gunome-midare of the koshi-hiraki variety, where choji, togariba, squarish variety, and ko-notare are mixed. There is a small portion where ear-lobe patterns are formed. The overall width is quite diversified and contains tobiyaki.

Inside the ha exist many ashi and yo in its nioi structure with ko-nie. There are also kinsuji and sunagashi in it. The nioiguchi is fairly bright and clear.

The boshi is midare-komi with a somewhat pointed ko-maru followed by a short kaeri. The nioiguchi about this area is dull.

There is a bo-hi on each side. The nakago is suriage with a rather flat kurijiri. The yasurime are kattesagari. There are four mekugi-ana, the bottom one of which is the original.

Chogi by some opinion is claimed to have been a late descendant of Osafune Sanenaga. Among Bizen works from the Nanbokucho period, he is compared with Kanemitsu as a leader of the Soshu trend in the Bizen tradition. His workmanship is considered even more Soshu affected than Kanemitsu in terms of the outstanding nie in both ji and ha.

In general, Chogi is recognized as the least Bizen-like swordsmith among all Bizen artisans. Also, Chogi and Kanemitsu have long been compared to sakura (cherry) and ume (plum) blossoms because of the quality of their hamon. While Kanemitsu produced neat squarish gunome as well as a laid-back notare, Chogi created more elaborate and diversified midare in a larger scale. This analogy seems quite appropriate.

The earliest production date found in Chogi’s works is Shohei 15, (i.e. Enbun 5 - 1360), followed next in the order of Joji, Oan, and Eiwa. The most late date known is Koryaku 2nd (1380).

Relatively more tanto examples are extant today with his mei. Very few tachi work carry his signature. There are some formed in the uchigatana structure. His chisel cuts for the mei inscription always consist of relaxed, extended strokes in all his works, tanto or tachi. His mei is quite uniquely characteristic, just like his workmanship.

This tachi example is unconventional in terms of its having a conspicuously more Bizen traits than Chogi’s norm. That is to say, compared with Chogi’s usual workmanship, this tachi is nioi-dominant with much less nie. The grain structure is finer than usual, and the midare-utsuri is very clear. However, the hamon is Chogi’s usual, typical mountain shaped variations rich in diversity. Kinsuji and sunagashi are also present in the ha.

Looking at this work, the origin of the koshi-hiraki type midareba characterizing the later Oei-Bizen workmanship seems to have evolved from this type of Chogi’s work.

This is formerly from the old collection of the Matsudaira in Noshu Takasu, which is a branch family of the Owari Tokugawa.

Osafune Chogi Katana Yamanbagiri Chogi

Yamanaba-giri Chogi

This is a famous sword by Chogi that was made suriage by Horikawa Kunihiro and is now Juyo Bunkazai. Horikawa Kunihiro also made his own copy of the Yamanba-giri Chogi and his copy is also Juyo Bunkazai.

The Chogi was said to have killed a type of yokai known as a mountain-witch or a mountain-hag, and this story gives the blade its name. It was a gift from the Hojo to Nagao Akinaga and has a substantial history. The blade disappeared briefly at the beginning of the Edo period but reappared in the Owari Tokugawa collection. They handed it down and preserved it. Today it is in the Tokugawa museum.

The blade features an o-kissaki, deep curvature, and almost no taper between the machi and the kissaki. Though it is long at 71.2 cm it is very wide and as a result, without any reference sword in the image it can appear to be short.

In modern times these two swords are sometimes challenges that swordsmiths undertake to produce their own utsushi. I’ve added an extensive translation of a reference originally appearing on Tsuruginoya to my blog and you can read about both of these swords by clicking here.

Detail of Tokubetsu Juyo Osafune Chogi KatanaDetail of Tokubetsu Juyo Osafune Chogi Katana
Tokubetsu Juyo Token Osafune Chogi KatanaOsafune Chogi Katana Habaki

Tokubetsu Juyo Token Osafune Chogi Katana

This is the type of sword that has little difficulty rising up through to Tokubetsu Juyo. It passed in back to back sessions into Juyo and out of Tokuju within six months. As a side note it is also a small lesson in the sometimes trivial use of den as one paper they decided den Chogi and the other is just Chogi. These are the same judges only five months apart I will point out again. As of the time of writing in 2021, there are 1,163 swords that have met that mark in about 50 years of sessions. It is the badge of an elite blade and most collectors will not get a chance to handle one. Those who can own them are lucky in this life.

When I showed this to some other dealers in Tokyo last year, I had feedback that the only finer Chogi they had ever seen was the one I submitted to Tokuju in 2020. This blade is healthy in the extreme and has been preserved like a jewel. The jihada is super fine and filled with chikei all the way through, and represents Chogi’s best abilities in this regard. The hamon is his own invention and comes down via the traditional Bizen line and has his small Soshu additions. This hamon is what would pass through Chogi down to the Oei Bizen smiths and become the template for the rest of the Bizen tradition up until it’s passing at the end of the Muromachi period.

The blade boasts a motohaba of 3.2 cm making it quite broad and masculine and follows the Nanbokucho template of no noticeable taper. The kissaki is elongated but not quite an o-kissaki and this makes the blade itself appear quite long.

Like other massive Chogi he liked to decorate the blade at the bottom of the hi with bonji and other interesting horimono. I think any perfect examples of this are gone now as there are no ubu Chogi tachi anymore. So we can only look at the nakago of these blades and dream what they used to look like. This one had some interesting large bonji and they continue through to the bottom of the nakago.

This is a nearly perfect sword, and the NBTHK took pains to note that it is particularly excellent and an exceptional masterpiece even among even the repertoire of Chogi. The note that it is kenzen or in a perfect state of preservation seems not even necessary when you see the photos or are able to handle this blade because it is heavy with thick niku, the gorgeous jihada shines and the hamon fascinates. Chogi blades are now extremely expensive in all cases and this one of course is not an exception. But it is the type of blade that represents a collection in one item. When you have something like this you quickly lose interest in pieces that are not close to peer level with it.

Tanobe sensei took pains to point out that this blade is a good match for the signed Juyo Bunkazai Chogi that was owned by the Tokugawa. I’ve documented that blade above and I made a composite of the two oshigata cut at the red marks. You can see that they are identical in the construction of the hamon. Furthermore both blades have well forged fine jihada. They seem to be brothers.

Chogi Composite Juyo Bunkazai (left) and Tokuju (right)
Chogi Composite Juyo Bunkazai (left) and Tokuju (right)

If you have been waiting for a world class blade by one of the best smiths, here is your chance. It also comes with a beautiful two piece solid gold habaki made in the modern era. It gave me many fine moments of enjoyment during my 2020 year in Tokyo.

Jihada with Fine Chikei
Osafune Chogi Katana Oshigata

Juyo Katana

Appointed on the 12th of September, 1991 (Session 37)

Katana, Mumei, Osafune Chogi


shinogi-zukuri, iori-mune, wide mihaba, relatively noticeable sori, elongated chū-kissaki


rather standing-out itame that is mixed with mokume and that features ji-nie, chikei, and a midare-utsuri


nie-laden notare to gunome-chō that is rich in variety, that tends to slant in places, and that is mixed with chōji, togariba, many ashi and yō, tobiyaki, kinsuji, and sunagashi


midare-komi with a pointed kaeri


on both sides a bōhi that ends in marudome plus below and in the nakago an engraving that appears to be a naga-bonji


ō-suriage, ha-agari kurijiri, on the omote side katte-sagari and on the ura side katte-agari yasurime, two mekugi-ana, mumei


Chōgi (長義) was with Kanemitsu (兼光) the greatest master of the Sōden-Bizen trend among Nanbokuchō-period Bizen smiths. He worked in a nioi-based but also in a nie-laden style and as far as works in the latter are concerned, the saying is used since earliest times that “Chōgi was the most un-Bizen-like of all Bizen smiths.” Chōgi’s hamon shows more ups and downs and is more varied than that of Kanemitsu and many of his works are quite unique.

This blade has a wide mihaba, an elongated kissaki, and plenty of hira-niku and is thus of a magnificent shape. In terms of workmanship, this blade belongs to the group of Chōgi works that are relatively calm in terms of nie appearing in the ji and in the ha. The jigane reflects this approach as the hada does not stand out very much and has a midare-utsuri and fine and beautiful ji-nie appear. The hamon is a midareba that is rich in variety and that is mixed with gunome, chōji, togariba, koshi no hiraita, and other elements and the ha features vivid ashi and yō. Thus, although the blade is ō-suriage and mumei, it shows very well the characteristic features of Chōgi. The jiba is overall perfectly healthy (kenzen) and the blade is of a particularly excellent deki among all works attributed to this smith.

Osafune Chogi Katana Tokuju PhotoOsafune Chogi Katana Origami

Tokubetsu Juyo Token Katana

Appointed on the 19th of February, 1992 (Session 12)

Katana, Mumei, Den Osafune Chogi


shinogi-zukuri, iori-mune, broad mihaba, normal kasane, a little sori, elongated chū-kissaki


itame-hada mixed with mokume, ji-nie, plentiful of chikei, standing-out midare-utsuri


basing on koshi no hiraita-gunome with mixed-in chōji and togariba elements, plentiful of ashi and yō, tobiyaki, along the rather dense nioiguchi appear ko-nie, sunagashi, and kinsuji, the nioiguchi is bright and clear


midare-komi with pointed kaeri


bōhi with marudome on both sides, below of them there are traces of a horimono which seems to be a long bonji inscription once


ō-suriage, shallow kurijiri, katte-sagari yasurime on the omote and katte-agari yasurime on the ura side, two mekugi-ana, mumei


Within the group of the Nanbokuchō period Osafune-mono, the school of Kanemitsu (兼光) – with smiths like Nagashige (長重), Chōgi (長義), Kanenaga (兼長), and Nagamori (長守) – shows a different, varying workmanship. On the basis of this, there is an old saying which goes “when a work from the Bizen-mono does not look like Bizen, it is Chōgi”. Chōgi´s workmanship shows compared to Kanemitsu somewhat larger midare and there is also not a nioi-deki seen which would be typical for the Bizen tradition, but strong, conspicuous nie, which go back to the influence of the Sōshū tradition.

This katana has a broad mihaba, an elongated kissaki, and plentiful hira-niku, which give it an imposing appearance. Compared to other works of Chōgi, the nie along the ji of this blade are rather calm. The kitae is an itame with mixed-in mokume and there appears a clearly visible midare-utsuri. The hamon is a mixture of gunome, chōji, togariba, and koshi no hiraita-gunome. Within the ha, there are free and unconstrained applied ashi and yō, which gives the midareba an abundance of variation. Although the blade is ō-suriage, the deki shows the characteristics of the smith very well. The jiba is in perfect and healthy condition and it can be said for sure that this blade is an exceptional masterpiece among all works of Chōgi.

Osafune Chogi Katana Sayagaki


This sword has two shirasaya. When I got it one was blank and one had an old sayagaki by Tanobe sensei. I thought it would be interesting then to get a sayagaki added to the blank shirasaya as it would reflect the changes in style over time of Tanobe sensei’s work. Tanobe sensei is the retired former head researcher of the Nippon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (NBTHK).

  1. 備前國長船長義
    Bizen no Kuni Osafune Chogi
  2. 第十二回特別重要刀剣
    Dai jūni-kai tokubetsu-jūyō tōken
    Tokubetsu-jūyō at the 12th tokubetsu-jūyō shinsa
  3. 大磨上無銘也。同工ハ相傳備前ノ旗頭ノ面目躍如タル沸ヲ強調セシ作域ガ持味ナレド一方デ備前傳本来ノ乱映ガ立ツ肌合ト匂主調ノ刃文ヲ表ハス出来口モ存在シ代表例ガ濃刕ノ高須松平家舊蔵ノ重文太刀也。
    Ō-suriage mumei nari. Dōkō wa Sōden-Bizen no hatagashira no menmoku-yakujo-taru nie o kyōchō-seshi saku’iki ga mochiaji naredo ippō ga Bizen-den honrai no midare-utsuri ga tatsu hada-ai to nioi-shuchō no hamon o arawasu dekiguchi mo sonzai-shi daihyō-rei ga Nōshū no Takasu-Matsudaira-ke kyūzō no jūbun tachi nari.
    This blade is ō-suriage mumei. Chōgi can be rightfully called the leader of the so-called Sōden-Bizen trend, which emphasizes nie by retaining traditional elements of the Bizen tradition, e.g., a midare-utsuri and a hamon that bases on nioi despite the tendency towards nie. Most representative for this style of Chōgi is the jūyō bunkazai tachi that was once owned by the Matsudaira (松平) family which ruled the Takasu fief (高須藩) in Mino province.
  4. 本刀ハ其ノ重文太刀ニ繋ガレル者而堂々タル体配ヲ呈シ乱映ノ鮮明ナ肌合ニ匂口ノ締マル華ヤカナ山形ノ互乃目乱ヲ焼キ帽子モ乱込ミ尖ルナド見事ナル出来映ヲ示候
    Hontō wa sono jūbun tachi ni tsunagareru mono shikamo dōdō-taru taihai o tei-shi midare-utsuri no senmei na hada-ai ni nioiguchi no shimaru hanayaka na yamagata no gunome-midare o yaki bōshi mo midare-komi togaru nado migoto naru dekibae o shimeshi sōrō.
    This blade is similar to that tachi. It is of a magnificent shape, shows a prominent midare-utsuri, is hardened in a flamboyant mountain-shaped gunome-midare with a tight nioiguchi, and with the pointed midare-komi bōshi, it is of a gorgeous deki.
  5. 刃長弐尺参寸五分有之
    Hachō ni-shaku san-sun go-bu kore ari
    Blade length ~ 71.2 cm
  6. 于時令和二年庚子神楽月探山識焉「花押」
    Koretoki Reiwa ninen kanoe-ne kagurazuki Tanzan kore o shirusu + kaō
    Written by Tanzan [Tanobe Michihiro] in November of Reiwa two (2020), year of the rat + monogram
Osafune Chogi Katana Old Shirasaya

Old Shirasaya

This is the older shirasaya and sayagaki by Tanobe sensei.

  1. 備前國長船長義
    Bizen no Kuni Osafune Chogi
  2. 第拾弐回特別重要刀剣指定品
    Dai jūni-kai tokubetsu-jūyō shitei-hin
    Tokubetsu-jūyō at the 12th tokubetsu-jūyō shinsa
  3. 但大磨無銘也。同工ハ南北朝期ニ於ケル所謂相傳備前ノ旗頭也。
    Tadashi ō-suriage mumei nari. Dōkō wa Nanbokucho-ki ni okeru iwayuru Soden-Bizen no hatagashira nari.
    This blade is ō-suriage mumei. Chōgi was the leader of the so-called Sōden-Bizen trend that occured in the Nanbokuchō period.
  4. 本作ハ正ニ青山孝吉舊蔵ノ重要文化財指定同工有銘作ニ被繋者有之候。
    Honsaku wa masa ni Aoyama Kōkichi kyūzō no jūyō-bunkazai shitei dōkō yūmei saku ni tsunagaru mono kore ari sōrō.
    This blade is really close to the signed jūyō-bunkazai Chōgi from the former Aoyama Kōkichi collection.
  5. 頗ル變化ニ富ム乱ヲ焼申候而㞮来・保存共ニ㞮色也。
    Sukoburu henka ni tomu midare o yakimōshi-sōrō shikamo deki, hozon tomi ni shusshoku nari.
    It is hardened in a midare that is extremely rich in variety and both deki and condition of this blade are outstanding.
  6. 珍々重々
    Very rare, very precious.
  7. 刃長貮尺参寸五分有之
    Hachō ni-shaku san-sun go-bu kore ari
    Blade length ~ 71.2 cm
  8. 惟時庚寅年卯月良宜日探山邊道觀併誌「花押」
    Koretoki kanoe-toradoshi uzuki ryōgi no hi Tanzan Hendō mite narabi ni shirushite + kaō
    Examined and written by Tanzan Hendō [Tanobe Michihiro] on a lucky day in April of the year of the tiger of this era (2010) + monogram
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