With original certificate of registration as a Tokubetsu Kicho [Especially Precious Sword] no. 59424, issued by the Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai [Society for the Preservation of the Japanese Art Sword] on 23 October 1961
Minamoto Kiyomaro, as eminent among shinshinto as Nagasone Kotetsu (see Lot 17 in the sale Important Swords from the Museum of Japanese Sword Fittings, 10 November 2004) was among shinto smiths, was born in 1813, the second son of Yamaura Jizaemon Nobutomo of Saku in Shinano Province (modern Nagano Prefecture). He followed his elder brother Saneo into the sword-smith's craft.
This sword was made in 1830, when Kiyomaro who was only seventeen or eighteen, apprenticed together with his elder brother Saneo to Kawamura Toshitaka, a smith of the Ueda clan. At that time he used the name Ikkansai Masayuki, but later received from Toshitaka the name Shuju, intimating that he was to surpass his teacher. In 1835, resuming the name Masayuki, Kiyomaro went to Edo and entered the military academy of Kubota Kiyone. In 1839 Kubota, recognising his superior talent as a sword-smith, arranged an order of one hundred swords through the membership of the academy. Kiyomaro was able only to complete one sword, probably because the price agreed was too low, and he fled to Choshu Province in the West. In 1843 he returned to Edo. By 1845 he had made his peace with Kubota, who helped him set up forge in Yotsuya. In the following year he took the name Kiyomaro, and came to be known as the 'Yotsuya Masamune'. He was a lover of wine. At the age of forty-two Kiyomaro committed suicide. He was particularly skilful in versions of the Soshu, and particularly Shizu styles. Kurihara Nobuhide and Suzuki Masao were among his eminent pupils. A sword by Kurihara Nobuhide was sold in these Rooms, 8 June 2004, Lot 42.