Kunihiro, or Tanaka Shinano no Kami, was retained by the Ito clan of Obi in Kyushu. After the fall of the Ito clan he travelled to study and further his craft. A sword dated 1576 made when he was forty bears the inscription Yamabushi no toki, implying that he was at a time following the Shugendo sect of mountain monks, which numbered swordsmiths from the Heian period onwards (see lot 5). In 1590 he entered the Ashikaga military academy in Noshu where he met Kanemichi and made at least one sword with him. From 1599 he lived in Kyoto, and taught many pupils, including Izumi no Kami Kunisada (see lot 39). He is known as Horikawa Kunihiro after the Horikawa district of Kyoto in which he worked until his death in 1614. Most of his blades with the two-character signature date from his time in Kyoto. Much of Kunihiro's work is in Soshu style like this blade, rich in jinie and having a deep hamon with copious activity.