Aoe Masatsune, a Kokuhô taken from the Kumano Hayatama Shrine of Shingu Shi in Wakayama Prefecture, on January 17th 1945. It is believe to have been taken by 1st Lieutenant Ward H. Maris of the 390th Infantry Regiment of the 98th Division. He removed 3 other swords at the same time.
The Aoe Masatsune is 2 shaku, 4 sun, 3 bu long = 29 inches. It was designated Kokuhô on April 14th, 1925, and was in Itomaki Tachi mounts. It had been presented to the Shrine by the 8th Tokugawa Shogun = Yoshimune (1683 – 1751). It was Albert Yamanaka’s Nihontô Newsletter missing Kokuhô # 3.
There is a fairly happy ending to this part of the story, and that is Sensei Yumoto found this sword, and Endo San bought it back for the Shrine in the early 1980’s (?). I was lucky enough to be one of the persons who was with Endo San and Sensei Yumoto on October 30th, 1985 when they visited this sword at the Shrine.
IMAGE LOST. Unfortunately some of the information on this page from Jim Kurrasch’s website has been lost. Please contact me if you have a Nanka Token Kai copy that I can re-construct it from or any images of the missing sword
The sadder part of this story is that the other swords taken at the same time apparently are still missing. The 1st was a 2 shaku, 2 sun, 5 bu – 26 7/8 inch tachi in
archaic ‘Phoenix Head’ mounts (birds head tachi). It was designated Kokuhô on December 28th 1897. This tachi was considered a sacred item by the Shrine. This
was Nihontô Newsletter’s missing Kokuhô # 4.
A second similar tachi was also taken from the Niu Shrine of Kawahara Mura, Naka Gun, Wakayama Prefecture by 1st Lieutenant Maris. It was designated
Kokuhô on April 13th, 1913. It was 2 shaku, 4 sun, 8 bu – 29 5/8th inches long, and mounted as a ‘Phoenix Head’ Tachi, in archaic mounts.