I bought this sword and I see some kanji on the blade. What does it mean?
Wow, you got a Katana sword! Thank you for the pictures! Let me see…OK, you want to know what this means. Leave it to me! KansaiChick is here for help. (*’▽’)/
First of all, Japanese people call this 銘(mei). I think you might see something on the same spot of your kitchen knife. Today some makers engrave or print their brand name and stuff there. Ancient Japanese blacksmiths did that too.
Let’s see what this one says.
Yay, I managed to read it!
Everything is stuck together and I bet it’s really hard even for Japanese people to tell what it is. Seriously we need a historian! lol
The First Part: 南都住 (Nanto-ju)
The first part of the phrase 南都 (nanto) sounds familiar to me. This is an old way to call Nara. Nara is a city in Kansai area, Japan.
南 means “South” and 都 means “Capital City”. The ancient capital city was in Nara, then it moved to Kyoto later. So, sometimes they are called 北都 (hokuto: North Capital City: It means Kyoto today.) and 南都 (nanto: South Capital City: It means Nara today.)
The Second Part: 金房 (Kanabou)
No regular Japanese people can recognize this name. But I found out it is the name of a blacksmith guild that flourished around 16th Century.
However, I can tell its Koshirae (All other parts except for the blade) is not from the era. This design is obviously made in way newer era. So, we can tell only the blade was created around 16th Century. (If this 銘 is real.)
The Third Part: 兵衛尉 政次 (Hyouenojou Masatsugu)
It looks like person’s name but I didn’t know who he is but, so I looked it up! (*’ω’*)
They say that 兵衛尉 政次 is a chief level blacksmith in the Kanabou guild.
This is very ancient name and very different from our name today. I can tell there are 2 parts 兵衛尉 and 政次, but they are not his family name and first name. They look like Nickname and his first name, or whole thing could be this blacksmith’s nick name.
南都住金房兵衛尉政次 means “(made by) Hyouenojou Masatsugu of Kanabou Blacksmith Guild, located in Nara City”. (*´Д｀)☆ Yay, I did it!
Today’s Kanji Shirt is “Samurai”! Katana is a Samurai sword.