Accompanied by a certificate of registration as Juyo Token [Important sword], no. 10897, issued by the Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai [Society for the Preservation of the Japanese Art Sword] at the 46th Juyo Shinsa on October 5th 2000.
The long inscription states that the sword is a copy of the large Hocho [kitchen-knife] style wakizashi listed as by Masamune and a treasure of the Egara Shrine in Kamakura Soshu Province. It was made by Koyama Munetsugu and the horimono was carved by Toryusai Kyoju. In 1840 a certain Nomura Toshikatsu, pupil of a Kuwaue Hori, presented the sword together with Koizumi Ujiyori the shrine attendant of the Shibajin Meigu of Edo (now called Shiba Dai Jingu). The inscription 'Akitsuki' above the name of Nomura might imply that he was a retainer of the Akitsuki branch of the Fukuoka clan.
The sword was exhibited at the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo between 2003 and August 2006 together with the original from which it was copied. An exhibition caption at the time told that the wakizashi known as 'Hocho Masamune', dating from the Nambokucho Period, was purchased on 4th November 1894 by, or for the Yasukuni Shrine, having been in the possession of the Egara Tenmangu of Kamakura in Sagami Province, and recorded in the Shuko Jushu of Matsudaira Sadanobu. The caption for this sword states that it was made in the late Edo period by the great smith Koyama Munetsugu, and the horimono by Toryusai Kiyotoshi. It is a very desirable piece by the two makers, dated 2001, and with signature of Eizan.
A paulownia box has a long inscription by Eizan, repeating the above details.
The Egara Tenmangu thrives today in Kamakura and is one of the three great shrines dedicated to Tenjin Sama, the deity of learning.
Koyama Munetsugu was born in Shirakawa of Oshu Province in 1803, as Koyama Sobei, with two brothers Munehira and Munetoshi. He studied first under Kato Tsunahide and made swords from the 1820s through to the early Meiji period, specializing in the Bizen style with chojiba predominantly of nioi, as with this blade, and with very fine jigane. At first he was retained by the Shirakawa Matsudaira clan and went to Kuwana of Ise Province when the Matsudaira moved there. He went to Edo in 1831.
Tanaka Kiyotoshi(Seiju) (1804-1876) was a sword-fittings maker born in Aizu, who is presumed to have studied in the Aizu Shoami tradition, and also under Kono Haruaki taking the name Akiyoshi using one character of his teacher's name. Around the age of thirty he took the name Kiyotoshi when he was working at Ginza in Edo where Munetsugu had his forge. At the age of about fifty he received the Buddhist rank Hogen. Toryusai is one of a number of art names he used as one of the most prominent soft metal tosogu sculptors of his day. Horimono on sword blades by Kiyotoshi are rare to say the least, and such a joint work together with Koyama Munetsugu is unique.
The original piece in the Yasukuni Shrine has a straight utsuri with nioi-based hamon of midareba with ko-notare in gunome, and these characteristics together with the style of the so-no-kurikara horimono on the blade suggest that it might have been made by Tomomitsu, or another of the Nambokucho period Bizen smiths. Interestingly there exists another copy of the same Yasukuni shrine original which is signed Munehiro, who is assumed to be an otherwise unknown pupil of Koyama Munetsugu.
There are three original Hocho Masamune blades made by Masamune of Soshu Province and listed as National Treasures, owned by the Tokugawa Bijutsukan, Eisei Bunko, and a private collection respectively, all of which have more subdued horimono of suken with kuwagata. That in the collection of the Eisei Bunko has the same bonji as this blade, believed to represent the deity Fudo Myo-O [s. Acala - the unmoving] whose attribute the kurikara is.