The Museum of Japanese Sword Fittings, ed., Tokubetsu ten, Edo jidai no katana to tosogu (Special exhibition of swords and sword fittings from the Edo period), exh. cat. (Tokyo: Museum of Japanese Sword Fittings, 1999), no. 7, p. 7.
___________, Shinshun tokubetsu ten, busho to aito ten (Special New Year's exhibition, warriors and their favorite swords), exh. cat. (Tokyo: Museum of Japanese Sword Fittings, 2001), no. 5, p. 10.
This wakizashi is by Yasutsugu I working in Edo where he was retained by the shoguns Tokugawa Ieyasu and Hidetada in the early seventeeth century. He received the privilege of the use of the character yasu in his name from Ieyasu, and also the right to carve the triple-hollyhock leaf crest of the Tokugawa clan. Both the first and second generations resided alternately in Echizen and Edo, and styled themselves Echizen Yasutsugu even when working in Edo.
The inscription motte namban tetsu (using Southern Barbarian steel), which is frequently found on works of the Echizen school, implies the use of imported steel. The inscription also states that the sword belonged to Honda Hida no Kami, of the clan of the fudai daimyo descended from the close ally of Ieyasu, Honda Tadakatsu (1548-1610). A copy made by Yasutsugu of the now-lost tanto named "Wakae Masamune" is similarly inscribed as being among the blades owned by Honda Hida no Kami (see Sato Kanzan, Japanese Sword Oshigata Dictionary ed. Morihiro Ogawa, trans. Victor Harris [Tokyo: Quality Communications, 2005] no.647). This refers to Hida no Kami Narushige, the son of Honda Shigetsugu. Narushige was a retainer of Hideyasu, the second son of Ieyasu. When Hideyasu became Lord of Echizen, Narushige was appointed governor of Maruoka Castle in that province. He was a patron of both Yasutsugu I and Yasutsugu II.
The cutting test ichi no do mitabi otosu implies that the same cut was executed three times on three different bodies. In the early Edo period ichi no do (the first trunk cut) meant a cut through the body several centimetres above the breasts, whereas it was lower in later times, with ni no do and san no do being progressively lower, and the lowest kuruma saki was across the navel.