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SWORD #244 - 10012 Bizen Fukuoka Ichimonji Kokubunji Sukekuni

Kamakura Period, 1330 - 1334 AD


Kokubunji is a well known smith, however, he is now recognized as the same smith that migrated to Bingo Province from Bizen, having been trained by his father, Ichimonji Sukemura.

Sukemura is best known as a Bizen Fukuoka Ichimonji smith. Some references claim that Sukemura also moved with his son to Bingo, as he was also called Kokubuni Sukemura in early Ko-Mihara times.

The designation of "Kokubunji" refers to the temple system in Japan that had been established around the Nara period; a Kokubunji temple was to be built in every province, but most of them eventually fell into ruin. One of the last remaining was in Bingo province, where the Mihara school located its' forge. Therefore, we know that the Kokubunji designation means a smith working with the Mihara schoo, including the Kokki-Ji sub-group, related in a way to the same temple.

This blade establishes the Bizen influence from the Ichimonji school that Sukekuni brought to the Mihara group, as explained in the Kantei-sho papers that accompany the blade. Sukekuni was able to adapt the Yamato tradition and style of the Ko-Mihara group to his work, as this blade clearly demonstrates, as it is definitely identifiable as an excellent product of the Ko-Mihara school.

Bizen Fukuoka Ichimonji Kokubunji Sukekuni

Late Kamakura Period

Juyo Token Certificate translation by the NBTHK

Measurements: Nagasa 69.35 cm, Sori 1.7 cm

Shape: Shinogi-Zukuri, Iori-Mune, wide Mihaba, narrow Shinogi-Ji, high Shinogi, thick Kasane, deep Koshizori, Chu-Kissaki

Kitae: Rather standing-out Itame that is mixed with Mokume and that tends to Nagare all over the blade, in Midare-like Utsuri

Hamon: Ko-Nie-Laden Chu-Suguha-Cho with a rather subdued Nioiguchi that is mixed with Ko-Gunome, Ko-Choji, Ko-Midare, Ashi, connected Yo, somre Hotsure, and fine Kinsuji and Sunagashi, the Ha is dull in places.

Boshi: Sugu-Cho with a Ko-Maru-Kaeri

Nakago: O-Suriage, very shallow Kurijiri, Kiri-Yasurime, two Mekugi-ana, Mumei


There was a Kokubunji Sukekuni in Bizen and one in Bingo province but there is the theory that we are facing here the same smith. Extant date signatures are known from the eras Genko (1321-1324), Gentoku (1329-1331) and Kenmu (1334-1336) whose workmanship is either similar to that of the Ko-Mihara school from Bingo province but also shows strong Yamato characteristics or is interpreted in a Suguha-Cho with a Jifu-Utsuri and thus rather reminds of the Un Group of neighboring Bizen province. Apart from that, we also know Kokubunji Sukekuni blades that show a flamboyant Midareba that features Choji and/or Gunome.

This blade has a high Shinogi and thick  Kasane and shows a Kitae in a rather standing-out Itame that is mixed with Mokume, that features Nagare all over, that tends to Masame towards the Ha, and that displays plenty of Ji-Nie and Midare-like Utsuri. The Hamon is a Ko-Nie-Laden Chu-Suguha-Cho with a rather subdued Nioiguchi that is mixed with Ko-Gunome, Ko-Choji, Ko-Midare, Ashi, connected Yo, some Hotsure, and Kinsuji and Sunagashi, and the Ha is dull in some places. Thus, we recognize a mix of the Bizen and the Yamato traditions and the Jiba reflects the characteristic features of Kokubunji Sukekuni whereupon we were in agreement with the attribution to this Smith. The Yakiba of this blade is very varied and its' Deki is excellent.