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Long Sword (Tachi) with Chrysanthemum Crest inscribed; named "Kiku Gosaku"
Important Cultural Property
Length: 78.1cm Curvature: 2.2cm
Kamakura period/13th century
Kyoto National Museum
This long sword (J., tachi) blade is said to be one of the swords the cloistered emperor Gotoba (1180-1239, r. 1183-98) forged during the period leading up to the Jokyu Rebellion (1221). He is also said to have incised the tang with the imperial chrysanthemum crest, in order to encourage a martial spirit among his subjects. The blade is named "Kiku Gosaku," which means "Made by the Chrysanthemum (Emperor)." Those who assisted in the actual making of blades were famous swordsmiths who were appointed from various provinces and served in fixed monthly rotations. Swordsmiths were selected mainly from provinces which had close connections to the court: Yamashiro, Bizen, and Bitchu. A number of different styles can be discerned in this tachi, but characteristics of the Yamashiro style dominate overall.