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Updated: 22 Feb 2024

Oku Yamato no Kami Taira Ason Motohira
奥大和守平朝臣元平

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. 

Motohira is one of the most renowned swordsmiths in Satsuma domain (Today’s Kagoshima prefecture) during the late Edo period. Oku Yamato no Kami and Ason are titles given to him in his career for his excellent craftsmanship.

 He was born in October, the first year of the Enkyo era (1744), as the first son of Oku Motonao in Satsuma domain. His birth name was Oku Kouzaemon. It was often the case with many swordsmiths that they used different makers’ names from their real names.

 In his early career, he learned sword-forging techniques from his father, and when he was 38 years old, he became a Hanko (藩工), who exclusively forged swords for a specific clan. This fact suggests that his craftsmanship was widely recognized in the domain. Furthermore, he received Yamato no Kami in the first year of the Kansei era (1789). Kami is an honorable official title given by the emperor to highly skilled swordsmiths. It is said that he trained many swordsmiths, including Bizen Sukehira. Many of his apprentices traveled to Satsuma domain from a very long distance. We assume his sword-forging techniques were very refined and appreciated among Japanese swordsmiths. Motohira was great at forging blades in Soshu Den tradition.

 Considering when he was born, this blade was forged in his late 50s. He lived a long life, and he died at the age of 84 in 1826. He kept forging blades until he was 83 years old. He must have had full of vitality to make high-quality blades throughout his career.

 Satsuma province had a high ratio of Samurai population compared to other parts of Japan. And they are famous for their military power ruled by Shimazu clan. We assume a swordsmith needed to be skilled to stay active and popular in this demanding place. Motohira was one of them. This blade has thick width and heavy weight, which would give you muscular impression on the blade. It must have been owned by a high-class Samurai who was strong enough to handle this blade.

 

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

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