Swords by Yoshindo and Kuniiye Yoshihara


A gorgeous set of swords by both Yoshindo Yoshihara and his brother Kuniiye (given name Shoji), two of Japan's leading contemporary swordsmiths. This set consists of a Katana, a Tanto, and a large Kogatana, all in meticulous polish with top quality habaki and shirasaya, originating from the collection of Dr. Nathan Rosenbloom.

Dr. Rosenbloom began collecting swords in the 1950's with his first purchase of a tanto, and assembled a fine array of Japanese swords, fittings, inryo, and even a fine collection of rare Bokuto. His collective interest is varied and he acquired swords from all time periods and traditions of Japanese sword history, including 20th Century works such as these.

Anyone whom has admired the swords of today's leading swordsmiths will know the names of Yoshindo and Kuniiye (Shoji) Yoshihara. Yoshindo has been a dramatic influence toward the proliferation and popularity of Japanese sword crafts today through the combination of his talents as a smith and his widely popular book The Craft of the Japanese Sword that he co-authored with Leon and Hiroko Kapp in 1987. Yoshindo Yoshihara is has been ranked as Mukansa level sword smith in Japan since 1982 after having received many awards in the annual sword making competitions held by the NBTHK. He is still active today and remains a noted smith for his independent nature, and willingness to stray from the straight and narrow path to explore new interests and styles. He again joined efforts with the Kapps and co-authored Modern Japanese Swords and Swordsmiths in 2002. Many of Yoshido's works are typically bold and flamboyant with a healthy and intimidating shape, but he is also quite capable of creating subtle and quietly elegant swords with intricate activity as well.

Kuniiye Yoshihara is also one of today's top Japanese Mukansa level master swordsmiths, and continues to work in Tokyo today. Kuniiye's works are less flamboyant than Yoshindos and show a quieter more refined appearance in some aspects. His works reflect a closer following to his grandfather's style (the first Kuniiye) and as a former practitioner of Iaido, he is familiar with the handling and design aspects that are important in the function of the sword. Kuniiye made a cameo appearance in the motion picture "The Last Samurai" when he played the part of a swordsmith in a small village.

The Daito

This Katana is a very unique sword. It is "Gassaku" or, "Created Jointly" by both Yoshindo and Kuniiye Yoshihara. The signature reads Yoshindo (and) Shoji (Kuniiye's given and former signing name) Saku. The length measures 29 ½ inches (75.0 cm), and it is a bold 1 3/8 inches (35 mm) wide at the habaki, and 5/16 inch (7.75 mm) thick. This sword is meticulously polished in a top-flight sashikomi finish showing a beautifully forged jihada in a mixture of ko-itame with dispersed areas of chu-itame. The hamon is choji-midare in nioi deki with long dripping ashi reaching for the edge. There are a couple small tobiyaki here and there, and yo float in the yakiba. The boshi is an extension of the hamon remaining choji midare and turning back crisply with a longish kaeri. There is finite ko-nie, which begins to develop in the monouchi just before the yokote then becomes more prominent in the ji and yakiba of the kissaki in a delicate misting of the surface. It is mounted with an expertly crafted gold-foiled habaki, and shirasaya. It is dated 1980, and on the ura of the nakago it is marked in kana as having been made for the Rosenbloom family.

This sword also has yet another unique aspect in it's provenance. The upper right portion of the signature reads "Oite Da Ra Su". This translates to "Made in Dallas". This sword was made in Dallas in 1980, when the Yoshihara brothers demonstrated the making of a Japanese sword at an exhibition in Dallas, Texas. Sword making was demonstrated for forty days and this is one of the swords made during that exhibition. It was this exhibition that preceded additional exhibitions in Dallas, and purchases of his works by other museums such as the Boston Museum and the Metropolitan. This was quite a landmark occasion in contemporary sword history, and this sword is tangible evidence of it.

The Tanto

This 10 1/8 inch tanto is forged in hirazukuri form with a finely stranded and subtle running itame hada. The hamon is chu-suguha with a gentle undulation and fine speckling of ko-nie, with ko-ashi, and some kinsuji. The boshi is in komaru with a short kaeri and a couple of faint yo. It is signed "Yoshindo Saku", dated August of 1976, and signed on the omote of the nakago as made for the Rosenbloom family. It is polished in the kessho style showing all the nie structure as well as a bright and consistent nioiguchi, and mounted with a solid gold two piece habaki and shirasaya. This also is an example of Yoshindo's work while still competing in the annual contests in Japan, and prior to his elevation as a Mukansa level smith.

The Kogatana

The Kogatana is forged in a beautiful ko-itame hada becoming masame in the yakiba. This little blade has tons of gorgeous hataraki for such a small canvas. The hamon is an active midare with sunagashi, kinsuji, inazuma, and a deep, bright nioiguchi. The ji is packed with black ji-nie and chikei. The boshi turns back pointedly, and strands of nie pull from the turn back into the tip. This is a magnificent little work that is so much fun to study. It is signed simply as having been made for the Rosenbloom family by Yoshindo's hand. It is mounted in a solid silver habaki and a honoki shirasaya still covered in protective mulberry paper with "Yoshindo Yoshihara" written on the outside. Date of this work is not signed, but most likely not far from either of the other two swords. At 5 3/8 inches, it is more oversized than most normal Kogatana, but this is made as an example of craft rather than a utilitarian Kogatana one would normally see accompanying koshirae.




These swords comprise a fine set of the works that Yoshindo and Kuniiye were capable of before the advent of any books, exhibitions, Mukansa status, or current popularity. They were working diligently to achieve great things through great efforts. This group of swords is an incredible example of the workmanship and provenance of the smiths, the contemporary history of which they are part, and the unique nature of joint work by two of todays top Japanese sword craftsman, and immediately available.

$29,500.00 for all.