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Updated: 25 Feb 2024

Bizen no Suke Fujiwara Munetsugu

Hello, world. Welcome to Samurai Museum Shop. Thank you for finding our website. In this post, we would like to introduce one of the prominent Japanese swordsmiths. We hope you will enjoy reading this post. 

 Munetsugu’s birthname name was Koyama Sobei (固山宗兵衛). He was born as the third son of Koyama Munehira(固山宗平) in Shirakawa domain in Mutsu province (today’s Fukushima prefecture) in 1802.  It is said that he learned the sword-forging technique from Kato Tsunahide(加藤綱英) first and was also an apprentice of Chounsai Tsunatoshi (長運斎綱俊), a younger brother of Tsunahide to improve his craftsmanship.

 Munetsugu first served Shirakawa Matsudaira(白河松平家) clan as Hanko(藩工:retained swordsmith). After Matsudaira clan was ordered to relocate to Kuwana domain(Today’s Mie prefecture), Munetsugu became a swordsmith for that domain. However, he eventually settled in Edo city from the second year of the Koka era (1845) by working for Matsudaira clan of the Kuwana family. Because of these historical records, we believe this blade was made in Edo city.

 Munetsugu received an honorable title of Bizen no Suke(備前助) in the same year when he moved to Edo city(1845). His work reflects Bizen Den, one of the five most traditional Japanese sword-forging techniques (五箇伝). He was excellent at forging blades with Choji Gunome Midare tempering line, one of the most noticeable characteristics of Bizen Tradition. He was active in sword-forging during 1830-1870. He is arguably the finest smith working in the Bizen tradition at the end of the Edo period.

 Munetsugu was one of the most popular and famous swordsmiths in Edo city during the end Edo period. His swords have been known for their sharpness. There are many records of his swords passing the test cutting process(Tameshigiri). In his career, he pursued and researched sword-forging to make extremely sharp blades that were practically effective in battles to meet up the demands of the clan. There was a record of him studying to improve the sharpness of his swords from the seventh-gen Yamada Asaemon, who is a master of Tameshigiri and an author of Owazamono. He often received orders from feudal lords or famous figures during the end of the Edo period.

 Munetsugu has been highly regarded among Japanese sword collectors and experts. It is said that his level of craftsmanship is close to or at least equivalent to Sushinshi Masahide, Naotane and other very selected swordsmiths from the end of the Edo period.

We hope you enjoyed reading this post. If you are interested in checking his work, we happen to acquire an antique Katana signed by him. More information is available by clicking the image below.

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