Hello again, Samurai fans! I received another question about the engraving on an old katana sword! (*’▽’)/

Let’s see the katana sword!

I’d like to find out where these amazing pieces of craftsmanship are from. 

meanings of kanji on katana swordmeanings of kanji on katana swordmeanings of kanji on katana sword

OK, let me see…. ((( @_@)

I see the second picture says “藤原清人作”!

Then, the third picture says…文久…二? 年? 八月…目? or 日?? Hmmm, it’s tough to tell from the photo, but I got the basic idea!(*’▽’)/

The Meaning of the First Engraving on this Samurai Sword

Let’s talk about “藤原清人作” first!

藤原(Fujiwara) is a Japanese family name that exists even today, so I can tell this part says somebody’s name clearly.

When you see a person’s name on katana swords, usually it can be the blacksmith’s name or the owner’s name.

The last kanji “作” means “Make”. Therefore, we can tell it’s the blacksmith’s name this time.

藤原清人作 means “Made by 清人 Fujiwara”.

If he was a recent person, 清人 can be pronounced as “Kiyohito”,”Seito”,”Kiyoto”, and so on. But he is not! That’s why, I looked up his name!

According to some katana experts, we read 清人 “Kiyondo“.

They say that Kiyondo Fujiwara was a well-known blacksmith who worked from the end of the Edo era to the Meiji era in Japan.

Well then, 藤原清人作 means “Made by Kiyondo Fujiwara”.

The Meaning of the Second Engraving on this Samurai Sword

I can see the second engraving says when this sword was made. Because I can read “文久” and “八月” clearly.

文久(Bunkyuu) is the name of a period in Edo era. It’s between 1861 and 1864. Then, “八月” means “August”.

By the way, when Japanese people tell “when”, they usually write that in this order: year, month, and date.

In Japanese, the year is written as “a number + 年 (ex. 2020年)”. That’s why, I guessed the kanji between 文久 and 八月 were “二年”.

Plus, I learned that blacksmiths often skip writing specific date on their works. They just engrave “日(day)” without the number at the end.

文久二年八月日(Bunkyuu ni nen hachi gatsu hi) means “August, 1862”.

OK, I did it!! (*’▽’)☆

Thank you so much for the question again!

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.

samurai kanji shirt

Other Questions on Japanese Kanji


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