Akihisa katana

Born in Meiji 43rd year (1909). Civilian name Yamagami Juji. Yamagami (Shigetsugu) Akihisa lived in Nishiyama-cho, Niigata province. He worked at the family forge with elder brother Yamagami Munetoshi. During the war years Munetoshi was considered senior but after the war, Akihisa became more known. In 1934 he became a student of the famous Ikkansai Kasame Shigetsugu, one time head instructor at the Yasukuni Shrine. Later he was a student at Kurihara Akihide’s Nihonto Tanrenjo Denshusho, from whom he got his “Aki” mei. He became a Rikugun Jumei Tosho in 1941. Both he and his brother occasionally used a circular stamp with “matsu” in the centre on some of their swords, as a trade mark, although it is believed that Shigetsugu personally managed the sale of Akihisa blades. Before WW2 he won Monbu Daijin Sho – Minister of Education Award, Kaigun Daijin Sho – Minister of Navy Award, Rikugun Daijin Sho – Minister of Army Award in the Shinsakuto exhibitions. In 1941 he was awarded Tokubetsu Meiyo Seki – Special Honour Seat in the Army Gunto Exhibition. After the war, in 1954, when the prohibition of sword making was eased, he was one of the limited number of smiths who were granted a sword-forging permit from the Japanese Government and continued his career as a swordsmith. He won many more awards such as Doryoku Sho, Nyusen in the annual Shinsakuto Meito Exhibition while teaching numerous young swordsmiths, including his son, Norihisa.

Hawley’s reference: AKI44
Toko Taikan rated ¥1Million.




SKU: KATANA0022 Category:


Gendaito are traditionally made modern Japanese swords forged from swordsmiths working after the Meiji period. Some references categorize gendaito as swords made after the end of the Meiji, including only the Taisho, Showa, Heisei and Reiwa eras. Those swords categorized as gendaito were made using fully-traditional methods, including a heat treatment in water, rather than oil, and using tamahagane (traditional Japanese iron) as the base material for their work. Tamahagane is made from satetsu (iron sand) and put through a smelting process in an tatara (clay furnace) for up to 72 hours to produce a quality iron for the forging process.

Those swordsmiths who were approved to forge gendaito during WWII were designated Rikugen Jumei Tosho. While for many years Showa period blades were overlooked, a number of exhibitions such as the first showing of Yasukuni-to, demonstrated the high level of craftsmanship exhibited in these swords. Some are extraordinarily impressive examples modelled on classical works (koto utushimono of smiths such as the Bizen Nagamitsu and the Ichimonji school). The schools of Miyairi Akihira, Gassan Sadakazu, Kasama Ikkansai Shigetsugu and others are especially famed for their quality of work and produced swords that are regarded today as exemplary examples that can be compared favorably with the swords of earlier time periods.

Akihisa was one of the top smiths working during the Showa period.  This Akihisa katana is a good example of a high quality gendaito made using traditional methods by one of the most skillful smiths of the time period. This Akihisa katana will be a highlight of any gendaito collection.

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