Dotanuki Masakuni

period Late Muromachi Koto (ca. 1573)
designation NBTHK Hozon
nakago ubu mumei, one mekugiana
nagasa 69.7cm
price -sold-

Dotanuki is the nickname of Masakuni, a resident of Higo. He originally signed his blaces as Nobuyoshi, and had the name of Oyama Kozuke no Suke. He worked at the very end of the koto period, and had a reputation for very sharp blades gaining the rank of Wazamono. In terms of his name change, Fujishiro notes:

From the latter Koto period until the beginning of the Shinto period, the changing of names was commonly done, and in the event (a smith) was taken into someone's service, the employer (frequently the lord of a castle) would grant the use of one kanji of his name. This was also something that was seriously considered by the swordsmith, and the incentive for changing the name came about in this way.

Often he only signed his work Dotanuki Kozuke no Suke. There are other swordsmiths in the Dotanuki school, and Fujishiro lumps them together as having similar style and quality characteristics, so little effort is made to distinguish them.

Dotakuni Katana

This katana is a wide shape which came back into fashion in the Momoyama period when earlier styles were being copied. It is markedly sakizori though, and deeply curved, so it is easy to reference it to its time. The jigane is itame hada mixed with mokume, and the hamon is midareba mixed with notare in ko nie.

There are some kitae ware in the blade, and the hamon is a bit indistinct in places, but the sword is enjoyable, showing chikei and ji nie throughout. Given the price of polishing a sword like this (roughly $2,700) and the cost of sending a blade to Japan and getting NBTHK Hozon papers ($500 for papers and $300 in shipping and fees), this sword is priced very inexpensively and would be a great starter piece for someone who wants to begin collecting swords.