Juyo Token Norishige Tanto

Nagasa:                                  24.9 cm 

Sori:                                       slight uchizori

Motohaba:                                2.2 cm

Nakago nagasa:                        9.0 cm

Nakago sori:                             0.1 cm


No. 51 Jūyō Tōken, October 13, 2005; mei "Norishige"; sayagaki by Hayashida Hitoshi (林田等), February 1944. 

Provenance: Hayashida Hitoshi (林田等), Hirose Kazuo (広瀬一男).

Publications: NBTHK Jūyō Tōken Nado Zufu, Volume 51; Hayashida Oshigata.

Norishige_Hayashida Oshigata.jpg

Hayashida Oshigata

This Norishige was discovered during a get together of sword enthusiasts from the upper class (Kyorakukai Meeting) in 1943 by Hayashida Hitoshi, a sometime sword dealer and collector in Tokyo. In his notes he made an oshigata of the sword and called it a masterpiece. Probably, he made this sayagaki for the blade and also commissioned the koshirae.


昭和⼗八年九⽉十四⽇ 共楽会に於いて求む 三百四⼗円

Was bought at Kyorakukai. 14th day of the 9th month of Showa 18th (1943). Price is 340 JPY.

則重正真也 ⾧⼋⼨⼆分半

Norishige, genuine article. Nagasa: 8 sun, 2 bu and a half.


Solid silver, waves design habaki. (it's likely that he had the koshirae and new solid gold habaki made around this time) 


Masterpiece Tanto.

Norishige Tanto's photo & oshigata

Norishige Juyo Oshigata.jpg


Norishige Juyo Zufu_edited.jpg


Designated as jūyō-tôken at the 51st jūyō-shinsa held on October 13th 2005;

tantō bearing the signature Norishige (則重).

                                                                                           Ibaraki Prefecture, Hirose Kazuo (広瀬一男)


measurements: nagasa 24.9 cm, very slight uchizorimotohaba 2.2 cm, nakago-nagasa 9.0 cm, nakago- sori 0.1 cm;
shape: hira-zukuri, steep mitsu-mune, blade is rather slender in proportion to its mihaba, tends to a sunnobi shape, there is scarce fukura and very slight uchizori;

kitae: itame mixed with mokumenagare, and standing-out ō-hada, in addition plentiful of ji-nie and many thick chikei;
hamon: nie-laden notare-chō with a wide nioiguchi that is mixed with ko-notaregunome, connected ashi and yō, plenty of kinsuji and sunagashi, many hotsure along the habuchi, some tobiyaki. There is ayubashiri-based nijûba in places, the nioiguchi is wide and the hamon is nie-laden;

bōshi: midare-komi that ends with a very short kaeri and almost tends to yakitsume;
nakago: ubukirijirikatte-sagari yasurime, two mekugi-ana, the sashi-omote side bears centrally under the first mekugi-ana a large and thickly chiselled niji-mei, the second mekugi-ana goes through the character for “Nori”


The Kokon Mei Zukushi and other early Edo period sword publications list Norishige as one of the Ten Brilliant Students of Masamune but on the basis of his tachi and tantō shapes and the known date signatures from the Shōwa (1312-1317) and Gen’ō eras (1319-1321) it is more likely that he was a fellow student of Masamune under Shintōgo Kunimitsu, an approach that was already forwarded by earlier, i.e. Muromachi period sword publications. The workmanship of Norishige is similar to that of Masamune but his nie are even more emphasized and have a greater variety. The kitae is a bit more larger structured and stands out as so-called matsukawa-hada which is accompanied by the large and conspicious chikei. The hataraki along the habuchi and within the ha are interwoven with the kitae- hada and as indicated, we see an infinite variety of nie on blades of Norishige.

This tantō shows an itame mixed with mokumenagare, and standing-out ō-hada and we also see plenty of ji-nie and many thick chikei, that means the hada appears overall as the aforementioned matsukawa-hada. The hamon is a nie-laden notare-chō with a wide nioiguchi that is mixed with ko- notaregunome, connected ashi and yō, plenty of kinsuji and sunagashi, many hotsure along the habuchi, some tobiyaki, and a yubashiri-based nijūba in places. So we have here all in all the very typical workmanship of Norishige and the deki is excellent. The blade has scarce fukura and a little uchizori what results in a tantō-sugata with takenoko-zori what is another characteristic feature of Norishige. Well, we know various signature styles from this smith but this one has not yet been found on any other blade and needs thus further study (i.e. the first case for the "to mei ga aru", ref. p. 321 of the book).

Sayagaki & Tsunagigaki


Omote side: 越中國則重

Etchū no Kuni Norishige



nagasa: 8 sun 2 bu


Written by Tōrindō (pseudonym of Hayashida Hitoshi, 林田等) in February of the year of the Monkey (1944) + kaō

Ura side: 御拵 o-koshirae


Aikuchi mounting in glossy red-lacquer with gold powder application and horn fittings, pure gold "dragon in clouds" kozuka, work of Gotō Sōjō [2nd Gotō generation], attributed to the latter by Mitsutaka [13th Gotō generation, also named Enjō], pure gold "reclining dragon" menuki, kogatana by Tsunatoshi, red color sageo.

Tsunagi: There is a very same description located on the tsunagi.



kozukamei: Sōjō saku, Mitsutaka + kaō (宗乗作 光孝)

kogatanamei: Yonezawa-jū Tsunatoshi (米澤住綱俊)

A very interesting information can be found in Kanto Hibi Shō (Honma Junji, Supplement 2,

1983) on page 267. One could compare two different tantō bearing two very similar Norishige's signatures and identical conclusions: "to mei ga aru".

Kanto Hibi Shō

Kanto Hibi Sho.JPG