10.19.22 fred@nihonto.com

Nidai Kawachi-no-Kami Masahiro was born in the fourth year of Kan’ei (1627) when his father was 21 years old.  He was first called Sadenji and he used the name of Masanaga (正永) when he started making swords.  In the third year of Manji (1660) on October 19th, he received the title of Musashi-daijô (武蔵大掾) and on February 28th of the first year of Kanbun (1661), he was promoted to Musashi-no-kami Masahiro (武蔵守正広).  On February 5th of the fifth year of Kanbun (1665) when he was 39 years of age, his father the first generation Masahiro passed away.  In that same year, on April 13th, he became Kawachi-no-kami (河内守).

It is very possible the time of  the Nidai’s succeeding the Masahiro mei took place soon after the Shodai’s death. However, probably because he was too busy running the Shodai’s funeral, and celebrating the promotion, etc, to engage in sword production.  For that reason we have seen no work bearing the Musashi-no-kami Fujiwara Masahiro (武蔵守藤原正広) mei.  The Nidai Masahiro died on August 6th in the thirteenth year of Genroku (1700) at the age of 73.

The general style of his workmanship is as follows:

SUGATA:                             Shinogi-zukuri katana number the most among his works.  Wakizashi are relatively fewer.  He produced very few hira-zukuri wakizashi, tantô, and naginata.  No yari works are known to exist.  Generally speaking, the Nidai’s blade structure is less diversified compared to the Shodai’s.  Most of the katana he produced are wide and thick.  Sori is sometimes more pronounced that the works of the Shodai.  As a whole, his blade structure has a sturdy appearance.

KITAE:                                  His grain structure will be a tight ko-itame hada with fine and dense ji-nie.  The simple grain formation is neat yet less powerful compared to the Shodai’s.

HAMON:                              The hamon often featuring midare-ba is similar to the Shodai’s, but he also produced suguha.  He produced more suguha than the Shodai.  Some of Musashi-no-kami mei blades are made in the Shizu utsushi style (copies of Shizu blades) midareba just as in Shodai Tadahiro’s works.  Other types of midareba include basic gunome mixed with chôji and ko-notare as well as long ashi, gunome-midare with regular formed heads, choji type midare with long ashi; and plain and simple notare.  Usually suguha works have a better and uniform quality.

BÔSHI:                                 His bôshi, like other Hizen-tô smiths, in general is ko-maru smoothly curving along the fukura.  Most of them have either a fairly long or a very long kaeri.

NAKAGO:                            The shape of the nakago is iriyama-gata more swollen at the bottom than Shodai’s.  The yasurimei are either ô-sujikai or sujikai.

 MEI:                                      When Nidai Masahiro was given the Musashi-daijô title in the third year of Manji (1660, he inscribed his name as HIZEN -no-JÛ MUSASHI-DAIJÔ FUJIWARA MASANAGA (肥前住武藏大掾藤原正永).  In the following year when he became Musashi-no-kami, be signed his name as HIZEN-no-KUNI MUSASHI-no-KAMI FUJIWARA MASANAGA (肥前国武藏守藤原正永).

The sword we are offering here is a fine example of his work after his father passed away in 1665.  We know this because it was at that time that he changed his signature to Hizen-no-kuni Kawachi-no-kami Fujiwara Masahiro as this sword is signed.  It is an excellent example of his work and the blade is in excellent condition.

The blade has a nagasa (cutting edge) of 27.9 inches or 71.0 cm.  The width at the hamachi (base) is 1.25 inches or 3.18 cm and the width at the kissaki (point) is 0.90 inches or 2.29 cm.  The sori (curvature of the blade) is 0.55 inches or 1.4 cm.  The kasane (thickness) of the blade is 0.28 inches or 0.72 cm.  The overall shape of the blade is typical of blades of the Kanbun period (1660’s).  That is it is a wide and thick sword with a nice sori and slightly extended kissaki.

The jigane is a ko-itame hada with very beautiful grain.  There is ji-nie throughout forming areas of tobiyaki and chikei.  We call this typical Hizen hada or konuka-hada.  The hamon starts with a deep nioi-kuchi suguha becoming an even deeper nioi-kuchi gunome-midare with tobiyaki above the hamon.  The bôshi is a typical Hizen bôshi smoothly curving along the fukura ending in a modest kaeri.  The nakago is a little rough on one side due to some old rust that has been removed.  The mei can still be clearly read.

This blade comes with a very nice Edo era koshirae.  The saya is black roiro lacquer.  The fuchi/kashira and menuki are all shakudo carved as dragons.  The tsuba is a round iron sukashi tsuba with five hollyhock leaves engraved within.

The sayagaki gives the name of this blade as “flock of plovers”.  This is probably a homage to the appearance of the bright areas of tobiyaki here and there along both sides of the blade in the jihada.  This fine sword comes with two sets of NBTHK papers.  The original set is a Kôshu Tokubetsu Kitcho Tôken certification from 1979.  The more recent paper is an NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon certification  from 2020.  Both papers attest to the quality, condition, and authenticity of this beautiful sword.