"MURAMASA" LIVED DURING THE BUN-GI (1501 AD.) ERA, IN "ISE" PROVINCE. THE SUPERSTITION SURROUNDING HIS BLADES, FIRST EMERGED IN 1603, WHEN "TOKUGAWA IEYASU" WAS EMPOWERED AS THE FIRST "SHOGUN" OF JAPAN! IEYASU, HARBORED STRONG, AND JUSTIFIED SUPERSTITIONS REGARDING "MURAMASA" BLADES. THESE WERE A DIRECT RESULT OF NUMEROUS TRAUMATIC AND VIOLENT INCIDENTS THAT TOOK PLACE IN HIS LIFE. BOTH HIS FATHER AND HIS GRANDFATHER WERE SERIOUSLY INJURED BY "MURAMASA" BLADES, AS WERE NUMEROUS OTHER FRIENDS AND RELATIVES, SOME OF WHOM WERE KILLED. THE BREAKING LEVEL OF HIS TOLERANCE WAS REACHED, WHEN HE WAS PERSONALLY, BADLY CUT BY A "MURAMASA" BLADE. THIS CONVINCED HIM THAT THE BLADES OF "MURAMASA" WERE CURSED, AGAINST THE ENTIRE "TOKUGAWA FAMILY".  IEYASU ISSUED AN EDICT FORBIDDING SAMURAI FROM CARRYING, AND OWNING MURAMASA BLADES. TO VIOLATE THIS EDICT MADE ONE ELIGIBLE FOR CAPITAL PUNISHMENT. THE NORMAL FORM OF EXECUTION WAS CRUCIFIXION.


MANY OF THE MURAMASA BLADES WERE "O-SURIAGED", (THE ORIGINAL NAKAGO / TANG WAS CUT OFF) THEREBY REMOVING THE SIGNATURE. OTHERS HAD THE SIGNATURE FILED OFF, AND THE NAME OF ANOTHER SWORD MAKER INSCRIBED IN ITS PLACE. IT IS SAID THAT THE "SHOGUN IEMITSU" (THE GRANDSON OF IEYASU) ORDERED THAT MURAMASA BLADES BE DESTROYED. THIS RESULTED IN SIGNED EXAMPLES BECOMING NEARLY EXTINCT. NO ONE WOULD DARE TO OPPOSE "IEMITSU", AS HE (UNLIKE HIS GRANDFATHER) RULED JAPAN WITH AN "IRON HAND", AND TRUSTED NO ONE. THESE EDICTS, WERE ENFORCED THROUGHOUT THE NEARLY 300 YEAR RULING PERIOD OF THE TOKUGAWA FAMILY.


MURAMASA, AND HIS BLADES BECAME THE SOURCE OF MANY LEGENDS, SUPERSTITIONS, NOVELS AND THEATER PLAYS. IT IS BELIEVED BY MANY, MURAMASA WHILE BRILLIANT WAS ALSO QUITE INSANE, AND THAT HE "MADE A DEAL" WITH "ONI" (THE DEVIL), IN EXCHANGE FOR THE ABILITY TO PRODUCE THE FINEST QUALITY, BLADES OF SUPREME SHARPNESS. THERE IS A STORY ABOUT A DAIMYO, THAT PERFORMED A CUTTING TEST, BY PLACING A "MASAMUNE", AND A "MURAMASA" IN A RAPIDLY FLOWING STEAM, SIDE BY SIDE, HE THEN FLOATED LEAFS TOWARD THE STANDING BLADES. NONE OF THE LEAFS WERE CUT BY THE "MASAMUNE", WHILE THE "MURAMASA" CUT ALL OF THEM THAT STRUCK IT. THE SEVERED LEAFS THEN BEGAN TO DANCE AROUND THE BLADE IN A WHIRLPOOL PATTERN, AS IF TO TESTIFY TO ITS DEMONIC AURA.  IT IS ALSO SAID, THAT NO SAMURAI COULD DRAW A MURAMASA BLADE, AND REPLACE IT IN ITS SAYA (SCABBARD), WITHOUT IT FIRST DRAWING BLOOD. THE ADVISORIES OF THE TOKUGAWA FAMILY, WOULD SACRIFICE ALMOST ANYTHING TO GAIN POSSESSION OF A TRUE MURAMASA BLADE. A SIGNED, AND VERIFIED MURAMASA, IT PERHAPS THE RAREST BLADE A COLLECTOR, COULD HOPE TO ADD TO HIS COLLECTION.

 

 

 

 

  

 

 "A Muramasa Blade" By Louis Wertheimber. (Circa 1887).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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