Ono Hankei, whose family name was Noda, was born into a family of gunsmiths in Suruga province (present-day Shizuoka Prefecture), and as a gunsmith used the name Noda Zenjiro Kiyotaka. He was employed by Tokugawa Ieyasu, and then by his son Hidetada, under whose auspices he made both swords and guns whilst living at Teppo-cho (gun street) in Edo. He made guns and swords for the main Shinto shrines, where many still survive, including examples designated as Important Cultural Property. Hankei emulated the work of Etchu Norishige, and many of his blades accordingly have a vivid hijiki (a stringy edible seaweed) or matsukawa (pine bark) hada and deep hamon of nie with copious activity including kinsuji and sunagashi. The blades are extremely hard, with such a matrix of differing quality steel that there are frequently longitudinal fissures following the direction of the folding grain. Hankei cut out his distinctive signatures with a gouge rather than using the usual hammer and chisel, so the profile of the cuts is smooth and the metal is not raised at the edges.