BY Awataguchi Yoshimitsu
L27.6 No Curvature
Kamakura period/13th century
Tokyo National Museum
Yoshimitsu, commonly known as Tôshirô, was a Kamakura-period (1185-1333) swordsmith associated with the Kyoto Awataguchi School. An expert craftsman, he is known for his short blades (J. tantô). This particular example has been famous since the Muromachi period (1392-1573). While the overall dimensions of the piece are quite small, the blade is unusually thick; hence the name the "Thick (J. Atsushi) Tôshirô." The metal finish and tempering pattern are both of outstanding workmanship.
This blade was handed down through the house of Ashikaga Shoguns. It then passed through the hands of such notable figures as Hitotsuyanagi Naosue (1553-1590), Kuroda Josui (1546-1604), Toyotomi Hidetsugu (1568-1595), and Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536?-1598). Eventually it came into the possession of Môri Hidemoto (1579-1650); the Môri family later presented it to Tokugawa Ietsuna (1641-1680).