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HIZENTO - A BRIEF HISTORY

Swords of Hizen province are very popular world-wide. In Koto times, it was swords of Bizen province often referred to as the Sword Kingdom. In Shinto times, and I might add through to today, it is Swords of Hizen, especially those of the Tadyoshi School and its' branch lines Masahiro, Tadakuni, Yukihiro etc.

It began in the City of Saga in the late Koto period 1596-1598, under the patronage of the Lord Nabeshima family, Nabeshima Naoshige, Lord of Saga, and carried on through many generations to the end of the Samurai period and beyond 1880 - 1890. There are several other schools of Swordsmiths but none as famous as the Tadayoshi Schools and their branch lines.

The shape and style is reminiscent of Koto Yamashiro swords, evenly balanced, nicely tapered with a medium curvature and rated very sharp (Saijo O Wazimono) artistically pleasing to the eye. The expression "Shibumi" is often used in describing Hizento (an under quality of excellence).

HIZE KUNI DEWA DAIJO FUJIWARA YUKIHIRO

(1ST Generation)

1617 - 1683

First generation Yukihiro, according to the Hizen Hikkei by Eguchi, Chosin, was the younger brother of 1st generation Masahiro, and eldest son of Yoshinobu, grandson of 1st generation Tadayoshi. However, I think there is a mistake here. For example, Masahiro was born 1606 and Yukihiro was born 1617, younger brother yes, but eldest son, no, can't be - there is a contradiction here.

Yukihiro, son of Yoshinobu, young brother to Masahiro was born 1617, 1st generation, received his Dewa Daijo title in 1648 and the Nokami title in 1663. In 1650, he moved to Nagasaki to study Dutch forging with Hisatusugu and Tanenaga. It is assumed, he also studied the Ichimonji tradition in Edo with Noriyoshi. Yukihiro became a retained smith of the Hiroshima with Norifusa. Yukihiro died May 27, 1683, 3rd year of Tenna.

The sword was purchased from a descendent of the Karatsu family. He also was a samurai retainer in the employ of the local feudal lord of Karatsu Castle. He was a fencing master and collector of swords. His name was Kaku-Mu-Gensaemon I Tada Yasu. The present owner is an 81 year old gentleman named Kuk-Mu-Shige-Zou. He presently lives in Karatsu. I am fortunate in being able to purchase the entire collection from Shingezou San. This collection has been hidden for the past 60 years and I am told seen only by my agent Kazuya Tabata from Fukuoka city.

This beautifully shaped sword is in Ko-Mokume Hada, thick Nie forming Konuka Hada; Chu-Kissaki, Ko-Maru Boshi. Hamon is unusual mixture of Nie covered Choji Midare combined with Hitatsuraba, wild O-Midare Muneyaki, spots of tempering the Ji, resembling the work of Soshu smiths, Ko-Nie, Ara Nie as well presenting a magnificent appearance.