By Fred Weissberg 5/2/03



The swordsmith Sekishu Naotsuna was from Iwami Province (present day Shimane Prefecture) on Honshu. He is considered to have been the son and student of Moritsuna. He worked around the Teiwa Era or 1345. Since this was the height of the Nanbokucho Era and Naotsuna made mostly long tachi which have been shortened, very few blades remain with his signature. In fact the only Nanbokucho dated sword known is a tanto that was dated in the second year of Eiwa or 1376. This blade is considered to have been the work of the second generation.

The first generation Naotsuna is regarded to have been one of the ten best pupils of Masamune (Masamune Jutetsu). There is a Tokubetsu Juyo signed tachi that is considered to be the work of the Shodai. It exhibits obvious ties with the works of Masamune. This slim tachi contains outstanding chikei as well as kinsuji and sunagashi, which all clearly demonstrate characteristics of the Soshu influence.

Although Iwami Province was well known for producing fine iron ore, it is not known for producing a long line of fine swordsmiths. The Naotsuna line was certainly an exception, but it only lasted for three generations. One of the students of Naotsuna was Sadatsuna who, likewise, led a three-generation lineage of smiths who produced fine swords. Beyond these two lines, there were other smiths who continued into the Muromachi Era and beyond, but few of them were of note.

SUGATA: The tachi were long with shallow Torii sori. Since most of the tachi have been shortened, this sori has been somewhat lessened. Blades with generally have a chu-kissaki that is sometimes a bit compressed. The will be little Hira-niku. The shinogi is high creating a narrow shinogi-haba and the Mune is low.

JITETSU: The grain of the steel is Itame mixed with Mokume. The color of the steel will tend to be a little dark. The Ji will be well sprinkled with Ji-nie and Chikei.

HAMON: There will be variations in the width of the Hamon, It will be heavily worked in Nie. There are examples of Gunome mixed with Togareba, Ko-notare, Choji-gokoro, etc. It is deep Nioi lined with Nie throughout. There are many Sunagashi and Kinsuji. It goes into the Ji where it forms Tobiyaki and Yubashiri.

BOSHI: The Boshi will vary also. Generally it will be a Midarekomi with a deep Kaeri. On others it will cover almost all of the boshi. In almost all cases, there will be Nie forming Hakikake which are multi-layered Nie formations appearing like the trace of broom strokes.

NAKAGO: If Ubu, the Nakago will have Sori with a tip in Kurijiri. The Yasurimei will be Sujikai or Katte-sagari.

MEI: The signed extant works of the Shodai are signed with the Ni-ji Mei Naotsuna. The second generation has left signed examples reading Naotsuna Saku and Ishikawa Izuha (no) Ju Naotsuna Saku. There is also one extant tanto by the second generation with the Nengo Eiwa Ni-nen Ju-gatsu Nichi (October 1376).

HORIMONO: Bo Hi (single wide grooves) and Futatsu Hi (double grooves) are found.





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