*Mukansa meaning: "without judgment", meaning that his swords are of such a high level that they are displayed at the annual contemporary sword smith exhibition without examination of a panel of judges; no further awards will be granted, since the swords are above competition.

THIS BLADE BY YOSHIMITSU, WHOM IS RATED MUKANSA IS CONSIDERED TO BE A NATIONAL LIVING TREASURE (AND WILL LIKELY BE MADE SO AFTER HIS DEATH) IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT AMONGST OTHER LIVING NATIONAL TREASURES.

THE VALUE OF HIS WORKS EXCEED ALL OTHER TREASURE CLASS MAKERS.

 

Ôno Yoshimitsu 大野義光 Time Line…

Ôno Yoshimitsu (sword smith name) was born October 16, 1948, in Niigata, Japan with the given name of Yoshikawa Mitsuo. He is the third son of Sukasa (father) and Saki (mother) Ono. He took interest in Japanese swords while in school. In 1969 he joined the swordsmith studio of Yoshindo and Shoji Yoshihara. By March 1975 he received his swordsmith’s license from the agency of Cultural Affairs. In the same year he was awarded for excellence (Doryoku Shô) at the 11th Shinsaku-meitoten (The Annual Exhibition of Modern Swords held at the Japanese Art Sword Museum).

In March of 1976 Yoshimitsu opened his own forge in Kurosaki City, Niigata. The following year he married his wife Yoshikawa Kazue made a home with her in Tokyo.

From the 11th Shinsaku-meitoten in 1976 to the 15th in 1980, he won the award for effort every year. The following year (1981) at the Shinsaku-meitoten he received the award for excellence (Yûshû Shô). In 1982 at the 17th Shinsaku-meitoten he won the Prince Takamatsu award (Takamatsu-no-miya Shô). Yoshimitsu then went on to win the Chairman of the Agency for Cultural Affairs award (Bunkachô Chôkan Shô) in 1983. For the following four years (1984-1987) he went on to win the Prince Takamatsu award (Takamatsu-no-miya Shô) each year.

In 1984 Yoshimitsu received invitation from Japan’s premier shine, Ise Shrine, to make a sacred sword for the shrine’s 61st shrine reconstruction ceremonies. From his past success at the annual sword exhibition, in 1987 he was promoted to the rank of Mukansa*, and has displayed swords in the Mukansa category every year since. In 1989 Yoshimitsu received yet another invitation from the Ise shrine to make a sacred spear for the ceremonies of the 61st reconstruction of the shrine.

Yoshikawa Mitsuo chose the sword smith name of Yoshimitsu. He did this by using one character from his teacher’s name () as customary in Japanese traditional arts. He added Ôno to his signature after the creation of his forge in Ôno at Kurozaski, in 1976.

Yoshimitsu's favorite sword is the national treasure / Meibutsu Yamatorige, and his goal is emulating this style of complex Chôji and elegant Sugata. However, he also works in other styles, but always tries to capture the spirit of a famous sword rather than making an outright copy. His swords are mostly Nioi-deki with Ko-nie, Ashi and Yô, and he frequently produces Utsuri.

*. Mukansa meaning: "without judgment", meaning that his swords are of such a high level that they are displayed at the annual contemporary sword smith exhibition without examination of a panel of judges; no further awards will be granted, since the swords are above competition.

 

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