Here is another one! Recently I have been receiving a lot of questions about the kanji on old katana swords.(‘ 0 ‘ ) They are sometimes extremely tough to read but very interesting.

KansaiChick is here for help!(*’▽’)/


A couple of years ago I inherited this sword from my brother. I was wondering if you could translate the Kanji on it.

samurai katana sword


OK…I’ll give a shot…!(@_@)

The First Hint to Figure It Out

I can read some clear kanji quickly on the blade. It says “武■住■方.” According to my experience, when I see “住 (sumau)” on the katana blade, the kanji word above 住 says location. So, “武■” could be the name of the city where this blade got created or where the owner of this blade was living.

Speaking of the old city starting with “武”, the first name that pops in my mind is 武蔵(Musashi). Musashi is an ancient country(city) which was located around in today’s Saitama and Tokyo, Japan, long time ago.

On the other hand, “■方” can be the name of the blacksmith or the owner.

The Second Hint to Figure It Out

Now, it’s a guessing time! The kanji under 武 kind of look like 刻…but 武刻 doesn’t make any sense! (+_+) Well, I leave it for now. The kanji above 方 might be 区 or 正…, and 正方 sounds like a boy’s name.

If the 4th kanji is 正, whole phrase will be “武■住正方”. I looked it up and found “武州住正方”…!!! Yay!! So, most likely it says 武州住正方.

When the engraving on a katana blade is written in the typical style, it usually show where and who made it.

Location Blacksmith’s Name

This is the common style but I don’t see “作” this time.

So, where is 武州? Well, let me look it up…! (@_@)/

It seems that the place called 武州 also existed in ancient China, but in this case it’s appropriate to think of it as 武州(Bushuu), another name for Musashi in Japan.

Who is Masakata in Bushuu?

According to the specialists, he is a well known sword guard maker in Edo era. The division of labor by the craftsman’s specialty is strict, and it’s unlikely that Masakata made a katana sword blade. Also, the example of his engraving below doesn’t look alike the one on the blade.

kanji on the sword guard

We only are able to imagine the possible assumptions.

  • There was a blacksmith who has the same name in Bushuu and he made this blade.
  • The blacksmith engraved Masakata’s name on this katana sword blade because he was the owner.
  • The sword guard craftsman Masakata sneakily learned sword making and used somebody’s shop and made this blade.
  • Somebody simply faked the engraving.

Sorry, but we may never know…!

How Is the Sword Guard on This Katana Sword?

Since the parts, that make up the sword, can be disassembled, so it’s highly possible that it has a completely unrelated sword guard. However, it could be made by Masakata, so I asked the current owner to send me a photo of its sword guard.

samurai sword guard

Oh, it was not made by 正方! Σ(・ω・ノ)ノ

It says 信盧(Nobuyoshi) and he is also a sword guard craftsman in Edo era(19 century). Thanks anyway!

Please take a good care of your samurai sword.(*’▽’)/

 

【Important】My translation is not a sword appraisal. It doesn’t judge whether the sword or the stamp is genuine.

Other Questions on Japanese Kanji


Today’s Kanji Shirt is “Samurai”! Katana is a Samurai sword.

samurai kanji shirt


If you want to know the meanings of any Japanese kanji that you don’t see English subs for in a particular animation or live action movie, tell me “Name of the Show”, “Season and Episode #” and “the Exact Moment (Minute: Second) if it’s available”!

If it’s just Japanese kanji that you see around you, like a shop sign or a tattoo, you can send me the photo as long as you are allowed to take picture of it.

I can’t promise to reply to everyone but I’ll try my best!

Email to: info@kansaichick.com


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