Hello again, Samurai fans! I received another question about the kanji on an old katana sword!Σ(･ω･ﾉ)ﾉ Oh, this is the tough one….(=_=;)
Can you tell me if these are Japanese?
First of all, yes, it seems to be Japanese.
The First Hint to Figure It Out
At least I can read the first kanji 會(kai/ai) which is the old style of the kanji 会 today. This old kanji is still used for some place names and surnames in Japan today. Actually, I could recognize this kanji thank to my high school friend Kaino(會野).
OK, then, it says 會 something…. The second kanji looks like 洋 for me but “會洋” doesn’t make any sense.((+_+))
The Second Hint to Figure It Out
If this engraving is written in the typical style, it may show where and who made this katana blade.
Location 住 Blacksmith’s Name 作
This is the common style that we see on the katana blade. On this blade, however, I don’t see “作” at the end. Hmmm. But the 3rd and the 4th kanji might close enough to 住, don’t you think?
So, I looked up the old names of the cities known for katana productions.
(*’▽’)☆ There it is! 会津若松市(Aizuwakamatsu City)!!
They say that Aizuwakamatsu City used to be called Aizu(會津) long ago. And so many katana swords have the engraving “會津住” at the beginning.
OK, then, the first 3 kanji word can be 會津住!
The Third Hint to Figure It Out
If the first half says 會津住, most likely the name of the blacksmith is written next.
The 5th kanji looks like 長. The 4th kanji is too tough for me to read…. It might be 佶 or 信. However, unfortunately I couldn’t find any evidence that “佶長” or “信長” existed as a blacksmith in Aizu, Japan.
On the other hand, I saw the famous blacksmith 正長 and 政長. Both of them has 長 at the end. Plus, I noticed they didn’t engrave “作” after their names. Therefore, the 4th and 5th kanji are likely to be the blacksmith’s name. But again, I can’t confirm it! Sorry!
Phew, that was tough…! I hope my research helps you to understand the engraving on your katana sword!
【Important】My translation is not a sword appraisal. It doesn’t judge whether the sword or the stamp is genuine.
Today’s Kanji Shirt is “Samurai”! Katana is a Samurai sword.