NOBUKUNI (信国), 4th gen., Ōei (応永, 1394-1428), Yamashiro – “Minamoto Saemon no Jō Nobumitsu” (源左衛門尉信光), “Nobukuni” (信国), “Minamoto Saemon no Jō Nobukuni” (源左衛門尉信国), first name Saemon (左衛門), because he signed this first name in combination with the preceding clan name Minamoto (源, in its Sino-Japanese reading “Gen”), he is also referred to as “Genzaemon-Nobukuni,” priest name Junjō (順城), he signed in early years with Nobumitsu (信光), there exists a blade with this Nobumitsu mei which is dated Shitoku two (至徳, 1385), the known extant date signatures of Genzaemon-Nobukuni range from the 15th to the 34th year of Ōei (1408-1427), i.e. are later than the mentioned Nobumitsu blade, that means from a chronological point of view, the tradition that he signed first with Nobumitsu seems legit, there are tachi and tantō but by far more wakizashi extant, these wakizashi can be in shinogi-zukuri or hira-zukuri, the jigane is an itame mixed with mokume and bō-utsuri or a rather standing-out itame mixed with masame, sometimes also jifu appears, the hamon is a chōji mixed with gunome, a gunome with tobiyaki, or a suguha-hotsure in ko-nie-deki, he also hardened a gunome-chōji-midare mix or a suguha with ko-ashi in nioi-deki in the style of the Bizen tradition, typical for him are gunome elements which tend to yahazu or mimigata, the bōshi is in the case of a midareba a midare-komi with a somewhat pointed ko-maru-kaeri and/or hakikake and in the case of a suguha mostly sugu with a ko-maru-kaeri, he was an excellent horimono carver and we know among others bonji, names of deities, or kurikara dragons as relief in a hitsu or in a katana-hi, wazamono, jō-saku

NOBUKUNI (信国), 5th gen., Ōei (応永, 1394-1428), Yamashiro – “Minamoto Shikibu no Jō Nobukuni” (源式部丞信国), “Nobukuni” (信国), he signed with the honorary title Shikibu no Jō (式部丞) and it is said that he signed early years with Nobusada (信貞), Shikibu no Jō Nobukuni is often listed as on of the 3rd gen. of the lineage but it is also possible that he was the son of the 4th gen. as we know a blade from the twelfth year of Ōei (1405) which is signed “Nobukuni-ko Nobusada” (信国子信貞, “Nobusada, son of Nobukuni”), but there is also a blade extant that is signed with “Shikibu no Jō Nobukuni” and dated Ōei ten (1403), from the point of view of these two dated blades, it is likely that Nobusada and Nobukuni were two different smiths because if he signed with Nobusada in early years he would not have returned to this name two years later after he already signed with “Shikibu no Jō Nobukuni” in 1403, the youngest extant date signature is from the fourth year of Eikyō (永享, 1432), he works in the style of the 4th gen., wazamono, jō-saku


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