Yokoyama Sukesada Wakizashi with Koshirae
The Bizen tradition of sword craft reigned supreme as the longest and most successful line of smith in Japanese Sword history, spanning over 1200 years of sword manufacture, born with the smith Tomonari in the 10th century AD. (http://www.nihonto.ca/ko-bizen-tomonari/index.html). From Tomonari, the successive centuries saw the development of other schools working in the Bizen tradition such as, Ichimonji, Ko-osafune, Kozori, Osafune, Yoshii, Omiya, and the extensive Sukesada school, from which the school of this sword, Yokoyama,emerged. The quality of works ebbed and flowed with the tides of warfare, with quality yielding to demands of quantity during the dark times of the great civil wars that tore the country apart at the seams. Two calamitous floods also scoured Osafune village twice within a relatively short period and one historic text says that the only smithing family to survive was the Yokoyama family. It’s no coincidence then that with the transition into the Shinto period a few short years later, that the Yokoyama Sukesada line of smiths occupies a place in sword manufacture, keeping breath of life in their tradition after the decimation of the lines after war and natural disaster. The roots of Bizen sword craft remain in the present day with artisans working in Okayama where the famous origin of “Osafune” town lies at the Bizen Okayama Sword Museum. The Bizen traditions are also a major source of inspiration to many other modern day Japanese swordsmiths.
Yokoyama Kozuke Daijo Sukesada is thought to be the sixth generation of that name descended from the famed Yosozaemon Sukesada of the late Muromachi period. He received his title of Kozuke Daijo in 1664. His father was Hichibei Sukesada. Of the smiths to carry the Sukesada name in the Shinto period, Kozuke Daijo Sukesada is the most outstanding to the point that when the name of Sukesada arises in the context of a Shinto work, this is the smith that is assumed to be referred. He died in 1689 at the age of 89.
This lovely wakizashi demonstrates nice health and testifies to the quality of workmanship for which he is regarded, and remains faithful to the Bizen traditions of old with a stout form and conspicuous curvature. It carries clearly and skillfully forged jigane in tightly knit ko-mokume hada, supporting a consistent and vibrant nioideki habuchi in midare with togari fingers reaching up into the ji throughout.
The yakiba is filled with thick ashi through the entire length of the blade and bright ko-nie are sprinkled on the habuchi is places. There is an abundance of detail enjoy in this sword.
Also we can see here the practice of starting the hamon from the hamachi in suguha which became standard for the later generations of Yokoyama makers as well, and a floating patch of tobiyaki which is mirrored on the other side of the blade also. The frosty depth of the noiguchi can also be seen in this shot.
The boshi is strong and healthy sugu with komaru returning in a thick, short kaeri. The konie float in and around the habuchi here as well, and there is a short length of disconnected kaeri further back into the blade seen in the ji above the monouchi.
The measurements of the blade are:
- Nagasa: 51.7 cm
- Mihaba: 3.1 cm
- Kasane: 7.5 mm
- Sakihaba: 2.225 cm
- Sakikasane: 6 mm
This sword is accompanied by a nice shakudo Handachi koshirae with deep red lacquer, complete with a very nice Kozuka and Kogai.
The sword blade has received papers from the NTHK attesting to the authenticity and quality of the blade.
This is a really nice package from a notable and respected Shinto period smith, and would be an excellent addition to any collection.