Accompanied by a certificate of registration as a Tokubetsu Hozon Token [Sword Especially Worthy of Preservation] no.101492, issued by the Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai [Society for the Preservation of The Japanese Art Sword] on 6th October 1987
This is a fine sword by Kunisada II, or Inoue Shinkai, the so-called 'Osaka Masamune', the son or adopted son of Izumi no kami Kunisada I, who is known as 'Oya Kunisada, or 'Parent Kunisada'. Oya Kunisada originated from the castle town of Obi in Hyuga province, where Horikawa Kunihiro had been retained by the Ito clan. He probably studied under Kunihiro, and following Kunihiro's death, under Echigo no kami Kunitomo. Together with Kunisuke, his fellow student in the Horikawa studio, he went to work in Osaka in the early 1620s, and was granted the title Izumi no kami in 1623 when he was only thirty-four years old. He made his last sword, it is believed, in 1652. Many of his late works were either 'daimei' [signed by his son on his behalf], or 'daisaku' [made by his son or other pupil] on his behalf. After the death of his father the maker of this sword, Kunisada II, signed using his father's name as with this sword, and in 1661, the date of manufacture of this sword, received the right granted by the imperial household to carve the imperial chrysanthemum on the tangs of his blades. This is therefore one of the first, if not the first, sword by Shinkai to bear the imperial chrysanthemum. In 1672 he adopted the name Shinkai and no longer signed using the name Kunisada.
The sword is in the mature style of Shinkai in a Shinto emulation of the work of the great Kamakura period smiths of the Soshu school, Go no Yoshihiro, which earned him the contemporary reputation as 'The Osaka Masamune'. Apart from a minor forging flaw within the ha and beneath the habaki, the blade is a fine and perfect example of the smith's work.