Jūyō-tōken at the 41st jūyō shinsa held on November 10, 1995

Tantō, mei: Nobukuni (信国)
Kanagawa Prefecture, Saitō Eisuke (⻫藤栄輔)


  • nagasa 29.3 cm, only a hint of uchizori
  • motohaba 2.5 cm
  • nakago-nagasa 9.2 cm
  • only very little nakago-sori


  • Keijō: hira-zukuri, mitsu-mune, wide mihaba, sunnobi, a hint of uchizori at the tip
  • Kitae: itame that tends somewhat to masame towards the ha and that features ji-nie, chikei, and a nie-utsuri
  • Hamon: ko-notare-chō in ko-nie-deki with a bright nioiguchi and mixed with gunome, sunagashi, kinsuji, and small yubashiri
  • Bōshi: on the omote side tending to ō-maru, on the ura side a ko-maru, the kaeri is brief on both sides
  • Horimono: on both sides a katana-hi, on the omote side with the relief of a sankozuka-ken inside
  • Nakago: ubu, pronounced kurijiri, gently slanting katte-sagari yasurime, one mekugi-ana, the sashiomote side bears centrally under the mekugi-ana a niji-mei


Traditionally, the first generation Nobukuni (信国) is said to have been a student of Sōshū Sadamune (貞宗) and to have been active around Kenmu (建武, 1334–1338). However, no Nobukuni works exist, which can be dated back that far. The earliest dated blades are from the eras Enbun (延⽂, 1356–1361) and Jōji (貞治, 1362–1369), and as their workmanship can be directly linked to Sadamune, it is today commonly accepted that these works go back to first generation Nobukuni. Several sources list Nobukuni as son or grandson of Ryō Hisanobu (了久信). This appears to be appropriate as there exists works dated Enbun three (延⽂, 1358) and Kōan one (康安, 1361), which are hardened in the traditional suguha of the Rai (来) School, to which Hisanobu belonged, and which show prominent nagare towards the ha, which is a feature that is seen with Ryō lineage as well.

The name Nobukuni was successively used by several smiths. A shift in generations took place at the end of the Nanbokuchō period, i.e., around Eitoku (永徳, 1381–1384), Shitoku (⾄徳, 1384–1387), and Meitoku (明徳, 1390–1394). Also, Nobukuni smiths with the first names Saemon no Jō (左衛⾨尉) and Shikibu no Jō (式部尉) were active at the beginning of the Muromachi period, and these smiths are referred to as Ōei-Nobukuni (応永信国). The signature style of this tantō attributes it to the first generation. Both ji and ha are of an excellent deki and the horimono are of a simple style, but very skillfully executed.

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