SHIGEMASA (繁政), Shōwa (昭和, 1926-1989), Tōkyō – “Shigemasa” (繁正), “Sakai Ikkansai Shigemasa” (酒井一貫斎繁正), “Tōtō Jōhoku ni oite Sakai Ikkansai Shigemasa kinsaku” (東都於城北酒井一貫斎繁正謹作), “Sakai Ikkansai Shige-masa” (酒井一貫斎繁政), “Sakai Shigemasa hori-dōsaku” (酒井繁政彫同作), real name Sakai Hiroshi (酒井寛), he was born on August 19th 1905 in Shizuoka as third son of Sakai Yasujirō (酒井安次郎) who was the younger brother of Miyaguchi Shigetoshi (宮口繁寿), in 1925 he started his apprenticeship as a swordsmith under Kasama Shigetsugu (笠間繁継) and became independent in 1932, he signed his name first with the characters (繁正), during World War II he worked for the forges Nihontō Tanrenkai (日本刀鍛錬会) and Ōkura Nihontō Tanrenjo (大倉日本刀鍛錬所), later he lived in Tōkyō´s Itabashi district (板橋), like his master Shigetsugu, Shigemasa too was an excellent horimono engraver, he died 1995 at the age of 91, during World War II he forged ten tantō for Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku (山本五十六, 1884-1943) who rewarded several persons with them for their merits in assisting the attack on Pearl Harbor which had been co-planned by Yamamoto


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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.

Sakai Ikkansai Shigemasa was one of the top smiths working during the Showa period.  This Kanetoshi gendaito 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 Kanetoshi gendaito will be a highlight of any gendaito collection.