Signed Choshu ju Kanemitsu, who worked in the Tenmon era (1532-55). This Kanemitsu (of the many, there was only one Kanemitsu who signed as living in Choshu [Nagato] province) is recorded as belonging to the Kanemoto school (curiously not the Kanemitsu school), Kaneui branch of the Mino school. He is ranked by Hawley at 15 (quite respectable).
The saya is known as Han-dachi Koshirae, or “Half-Tachi” (“Han” means half, and dachi is for “Tachi, that is, halfway between katana and tachi mounts. Han-dachi originally appeared during the Muromachi period when there was a transition from tachi to katana. Then, the sword was being worn more and more edge up when on foot, but edge down on horseback as the tachi was used for. The handachi is a response to the need to be worn in either style. All parts are en suite, and very representative of its period. The squared tsuba (guard) is thick and bold, and brings balance to the sword. The hearts on the sword’s scabbard are not actually hearts. They are called “inome” – the eye shape of an inoshishi. An inoshishi is Japan’s “wild boar.” The inoshishi is noted for having a very focused and driven character that doesn’t give up. It attacks with purpose. Like the tombo, the dragonfly that flies in formation and does not retreat, the inoshishi was revered by the Japanese Samurai. Both the tombo and inoshishi were often symbolized on the mountings of Japanese Samurai swords.
Blade length: 22 1/8 inches, overall: 32 1/4 inches