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Updated: 26 Feb 2024

Chounsai Tsunatoshi

 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. 

 Tsunatoshi was born in 1798 in Yonezawa city, Hashu province (Yamagata prefecture) as the third son of Izumi no Kami Kunihide(和泉守国英). His family name was Kato, and he was the younger brother of Kato Tsunahide (加藤綱英). Tsunatoshi’s real name was Kato Hachiro.

 Tsunatoshi served Yonezawa Uesugi clan, a powerful feudal lord in today’s Yamagata prefecture.
During his early career, he moved to Edo city to learn superb sword-forging techniques from Suishinshi Masahide, one of the most renowned swordsmiths at the end of the Edo period.
There is also a record of him forging swords in Osaka and Kumamoto while his base was in Azabu town in Edo city (Today’s Tokyo).

 He settled in Edo city around 1823, and he created most of his work. He started to run his school there and resided in the house of Uesugi family. It is said that he received a stipend from them. He received the honorable title Chounsai (長運斎) in the first year of the Bunka era (1854). And, he gave this title to his son Koretoshi (the second-gen Tsunatoshi) in 1856, and he got the new title Chojyusai (長寿斎). Chojyu means living a long life in Japanese.

The school Tsunatoshi belonged to flourished at the end of the Edo period, training many swordsmiths who later became historically significant ones, such as Koyama Munetsugu, Takahashi Naganobu, Ishido Korekazu. Tsunatoshi excelled at forging Bizen-Den tradition swords with Choji Midare Hamon, an irregular, wavy tempering line. Most of Tsunatoshi’s work reflects Bizen Den (One of the Five Japanese sword-forging traditions). In terms of Bizen Den tradition swords, it is said that Tsunatoshi school surpassed Suishinshi Masahide school.

 Tsunatoshi died at the age of 66 in December 1863 after creating many great swords for high-class Samurais in Edo city. He is categorized as one of the top-tier swordsmiths during the late Edo period (SHIN SHIN TO era). And, he was the head of the prosperous school at 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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