JUYO TOKEN

ENJU TARO KUNIMURA

with Cutting Test:

kiritsuke-mei: Ō-kesa ichido dō ryōdo otoshi (大袈裟一度胴両度落) -

 “Cut twice through a single body via the ō-kesa cut”

700 + years old

w/ Sayagaki by Tanobe Michihiro Sensei, of the NBTHK

 

 

Juyo Zufu pages

 

"ENJU TARO (TITLE) KUNIMURA"  FOUNDED THE RENOWNED "HIGO ENJU SCHOOL" OF
SWORD MAKING, IN APPROXIMATELY "1305 AD.", BY THE GREGORIAN CALENDAR (THE JAPANESE "NENGO" DATING SYSTEM, DOES NOT COUNT THE FIRST YEAR) "700" YEARS AGO!

KUNIMURA WAS BORN IN "YAMATO" PROVINCE, AND WAS THE SON OF
"HIROMURA", AN EXCELLENT SWORD MAKER WHO STUDIED IN "1245 AD." UNDER THE
FAMOUS "NORIHIRO", FOUNDER OF THE "SHIKKAKE" LINE OF SWORDSMITHS.
HIROMURA WHO WAS HIGHLY RESPECTED, WAS HIS SON'S (KUNIMURA) FIRST TEACHER.

DURING KUNIMURA'S YOUTHFUL YEARS HE MOVED TO THE NEIGHBORING "YAMASHIRO"
PROVINCE, TO BECOME A STUDENT OF "RAI KUNIYUKI", A SWORDSMITH OF
"NATIONAL FAME"! WHILE STUDYING WITH KUNIYUKI HE WAS GRANTED PERMISSION
TO MARRY KUNIYUKI'S DAUGHTER, AS THE SON IN LAW, AND FOREMOST STUDENT HE
BEGAN TO BE RECOGNIZED FOR HIS SUPERB ABILITIES.

IT WAS THEN THAT HE
MOVED TO "HIGO PROVINCE", SEEMINGLY ONE OF THE CENTERS FOR DISPUTE
SETTLEMENT (MANY FAMOUS BATTLES WERE FOUGHT IN THE AREA), WHERE FINE
SWORDS WERE IN "GREAT DEMAND"! HIGO SAMURAI WARRIORS WERE KNOWN FOR
THEIR PERSISTENCE, AND VERACIOUS ATTITUDE IN BATTLE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Juyo Zufu translations:

Jūyō-tōken at the 46th jūyō shinsa held on October 5, 2000

katana, mumei: Enju Kunimura (延寿国村)
kiritsuke-mei: Ō-kesa ichido dō ryōdo otoshi (大袈裟一度胴両度落) - “Cut twice through a single body via the ō-kesa cut”

Tōkyō, Robert Benson

Measurements

nagasa 70.7 cm, sori 1.8 cm, motohaba 2.7 cm, sakihaba 1.55 cm, kissaki-nagasa 2.35 cm, nakago-nagasa 16.55 cm, nakago-sori 0.1 cm

Description

Keijō: shinogi-zukuri, iori-mune, relatively slender mihaba, noticeable taper, high shinogi, normal kasane, deep toriizori-style sori, ko-kissaki

Kitae: overall densely forged itame that is mixed with mokume and with nagare in places and that features plenty of ji-nie, fne chikei, and a faint shirake-utsuri

Hamon: hoso-suguha in ko-nie-deki with a bright nioiguchi that tends a little bit to a gently undulating ko-notare in places and that is mixed with ko-ashi and along the upper half of the blade with nijūba elements that give the ha a striped appearance

Bōshi: sugu with a brief ō-maru-kaeri

Nakago: ō-suriage, very shallow ha-agari kurijiri, sujikai-yasurime, two mekugi-ana, mumei, the sashi-omote side bears towards the nakago-mune the result of a cutting test added via a kiritsuke-mei

 

Explanation

Kunimura was the founder of the Higo-based Enju School and was according to tradition the son of the Yamato Senju’in smith Hiromura (弘村) who became the son-in-law of Rai Kuniyuki (来国行). Thus, Kunimura was Rai Kuniyuki’s grandson from a daughter who had married into another family. The school founded by Kunimura have rise to many excellent smiths, e.g. Kuniyoshi (国吉), Kunitoki (国時), Kuniyasu (国泰), Kunitomo (国友), Kunisuke (国資), Kuninobu (国信), and Kunitsuna (国綱) and flourished from the end of the Kamakura to the Nanbokuchō period in the Waifu (隈府) region of the Kikuchi district (菊池郡) of Higo province. The Enju smiths did not display many individual features in their workmanship and followed basically the Yamashiro Rai style, with the difference that their kitae shows a trend towards masame and a shirake-utsuri, that their hamon has a more subdued nioiguchi with lesser hataraki, and that their bōshi runs back as ō-maru with a brief kaeri.

This blade shows an itame that is mixed with mokume and nagare and that features plenty of ji-nie, fine chikei, and a faint shirake-utsuri. The hamon is a hoso-suguha in ko-nie-deki with nijūba that give the ha a striped appearance and the bōshi is ō-maru with a brief kaeri whereupon we clearly recognize in the jiba all the characteristic features of the Enju School. The blade was originally probably relatively long and within the school, slender blades with a noticeable taper and a ko-kissaki usually go back to the hand of Kunimura, what further substantiates the attribution to this smith. The blade displays an excellent deki in an elegant suguha in ko-nie-deki with a bright nioiguchi.

 


 

 

ERA: "KAMAKURA" ( 1186 TO 1332 AD.)

APPROXIMATE AGE OF BLADE: "700" YEARS

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"IF UNSIGNED"

ATTRIBUTED TO: "ENJU KUNIMURA"

SCHOOL (MON): "HIGO ENJU", FOUNDER!

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"THE NAKAGO" (TANG)

MEI (MAKERS SIGNATURE): MUMEI (UNSIGNED). DUE TO SHORTING OF THE TANG.

THIS IS A VERY COMMON PROCEDURE, NORMALLY DONE TO CUSTOMIZE THE BLADE (HIS LIFE DEPENDED ON IT) TO THE OWNER / USER!

OMOTE MEI: NONE, O-SURIAGE.

(THE OMOTE IS THE SIDE WORM AWAY FROM THE BODY)

URA MEI: CUTTING TEST, PROBABLY DONE IN THE LATE KOTO PERIOD (1500 TO 1600 AD.)

(THE URA IS THE SIDE WORN TOWARD THE BODY)

NENGO (DATE): ABOUT 1305 AD. ( DETERMINED VIA ASSOCIATION WITH THE MAKER)

TAMESHIGIRI (CUTTING TEST): "TWO STROKE TEST", ONLY ATTEMPTED WITH BLADES OF SUPREME SHARPNESS (OTHERS WOULD FAIL). 1st. TEST # 5; OKESA (SEE CHART). 2 nd. TEST # 12; NI-NO-DO (SEE CHART).

JIRI (TANG END): SAKIKURI (SLIGHTLY ROUND).

MEKUGI ANA (HOLE IN TANG, FOR RETAINING PEG): TWO

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BLADE: TYPE: TACHI (CUTTING EDGE WORN DOWN).

STYLE: SHINOGI-ZUKURI (MOST POPULAR STYLE)

MUNE (BACK RIDGE) : IORI (PEAKED)

 

NAGASA (LENGTH OF CUTTING EDGE): 27 7/8" (70.8 cm.)

SORI (CURVATURE): 1 5/8" (4.1 cm.)

MOTOHABA (WIDTH): 1 1/8" (3.2 cm.)

 

BOSHI: (TEMPERING IN POINT): CHU-MARU (MEDIUM CURVE).

KO-HAKIKAKE" (SHORT TURN BACK).

KISSAKI (POINT STYLE): SMALL TO MEDIUM, TYPICAL KAMAKURA STYLE.

HAMON (TEMPERING, MARTENSITE): MEDIUM SUGUBA (STRAIGHT), KO-NIE, (SMALL 'VERY BRIGHT" NIE) NIE IS MARTENSITE CRYSTALS.

 

HADA / KITAE (BLADE GRAIN STYLE): KO-ITAME, (FINE BURL WOOD GRAIN), WITH FIRM TEXTURE THAT APPEARS SOFT.

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"CONDITION"

KIZU (FLAWS): "NONE"

POLISH: EXCELLENT, IT WAS POLISHED ONLY A FEW YEARS AGO.

DAMAGE: "NONE"!

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SHIRA SAYA (STORAGE CASE), "HIGH QUALITY", WITH "SAYAGAKI" (EXPLANATION OF SWORD WRITTEN ON THE SCABBARD) BY TANOBE MICHIHIRO SAMA, OF THE N.B.T.H.K.!

OTHER: THE KAMAKURA SHAPE, AND BALANCE ARE TRULY REMARKABLE. THIS IS AN EXTREMELY GRACEFUL BLADE!

 

KUNIMURA THEN FOUNDED THE "ENJU SCHOOL" WHO'S WORKS GAINED RAPID
POPULARITY. KUNIMURA'S WORKS BORE A STRIKING RESEMBLANCE TO THOSE OF HIS
SENSEI (TEACHER) RAI KUNIYUKI. AS THERE ARE "FEWER THAN 10" DAITO'S
(LONG SWORDS) ATTRIBUTED TO ENJU KUNIMURA, IT IS THE OPINION OF SOME
EXPERTS THAT A NUMBER OF HIS UNSIGNED WORKS HAVE BEEN COUNTED AMONGST
THOSE OF RAI KUNIYUKI ( A NATIONAL TREASURE SWORD MAKER ). PLEASE NOTE
THE EXCERPTS FROM WM. HAWLEY'S "JAPANESE SWORD SMITHS" AN ACCURATE
INFORMATIONAL, AND VALUE INDEX. THE COLUMNS ARE, FROM L TO R: MAKERS
NAME, PROVINCE NAME, AVERAGE WORKING DATE, VALUE INDEX, THE NORMAL
RATINGS, FOR ALL MAKERS ARE FROM 5 POINTS, TO 100 POINTS. "JUYO BLADES;
100 POINTS, AND UP TO "600" POINTS FOR A BLADE OF NATIONAL. TREAS.
STATUS, REMARKS, CODE INDEX.


 



KUNIMURA'S WORKS ARE SO SCARCE (LESS THAN 10) THAT THERE ARE NO PUBLICLY
RECORDED SALES FOR COMPARISON. HOWEVER, A SIGNED, JUYO BLADE BY HIS SON
"KUNITOKI" SOLD IN 1992 FOR $165,000.00 USD, IT WAS FROM THE "COMPTON COLLECTION" (SEE IMAGE BELOW).


KUNITOKI IS RATED AT 50 POINTS (FOR AN AVERAGE BLADE).
KUNIMURA IS RATED AT 100 POINTS.

THE KUNITOKI IS TRULY AN EXCEPTIONAL BLADE, AND IS ILLUSTRATED IN
"TANOBE SAMA'S BOOK" (TANOBE SAMA ALSO DID THE "SAYA GAKI" FOR THE
KUNIMURA). I HAVE PERSONALLY EXAMINED THIS KUNITOKI ON "MANY OCCASIONS".
IT WAS AN EXCELLENT INVESTMENT FOR THE BUYER.

 

" JUYO ENJU KUNIMURA", THERE ARE ONLY ABOUT "10" DAITO (LONG SWORDS) KNOWN TO EXISTS BY HIM TODAY!!!.

THE BLADE IS APPROXIMATELY " 700 YEARS OLD ", AND IS "NEARLY PERFECT "!

THE CONDITION IS TRULY REMARKABLE. THE KODOGU ( FITTINGS ) ARE FROM THE LATE KOTO, OR VERY EARLY EDO (APPROX. 1550 TO 1650) PERIOD. BOTH THE BLADE, AND THE FITTINGS ARE FROM "HIGO" PROVINCE. THEY ARE OF THE QUALITY THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN TAKEN INTO BATTLE BY A DAIMYO (WAR LORD), OR A SAMURAI GENERAL. ONLY A VERY AFFLUENT SAMURAI, COULD HAVE AFFORDED SUCH A BLADE IN THAT TIME PERIOD.

 

You may also view our CUTTING TEST BLADES SOLD IN THE PAST by clicking here

 

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