(Zenjo) Tegai Kanetoshi (fss-691)


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This is a beautiful well made katana of the Nambokucho period at 25 1/2”. The Military mounts and are  well made with mon on the kashira.  The koshirae is a rare version painted a unique color.  They are attractive looking without being too bold in appearance.  The blade is very well forged and the hada/grain texture is smooth looking and dark. There is masame and itame both.  The hamon is hoso-sugu-ha and nie deki with the entire top of the hamon layered with nie there is hataraki/activaty.  It is a heavy nioi based, nie mix with many fine workings visible.  The shape is very nice with a well balanced curvature.  This sword with these mounts is a very fine blade with Hozon papers from the NBTHK. There is Sayagaki on the shirasaya also.

The blade itself is  masterful in hoso-sugu-ba just peppered with nie and small activities throughout emulating the great old blades of past. The hada is so fine and a well worked of ko-itame masame blend. It is covered in ji-nie and has an oily appearance that is found in the best of blades. A rare package!! At 25 1/2” it was most probably used as an uchigatana.

The blade appears ubu 4 holes with one filled. The saya may have been painted originally.

The Sayagaki reads:


但生茎無銘也鷹羽鑢鮮明ニ残存セリ同工ハ南北朝末乃至應永頃ノ年代ノ同派ヲ代表スル上手也 本作穏和ナル直刃ヲ焼申候而此工ノ在銘作ニ結バレル出来口也

刃長貮尺壱寸四分有之 峕戊子暦神無月探山識

Yamato no Kuni Tegai Kanetoshi

Tadashi ubu-nakago mumei nari, takanoha-yasuri senmei ni zanson-seri dôkô wa Nanboku-sue naishi Ôei goro no nendai no dôha o daihyô-seru jôzu nari, honsaku onwa-naru suguha o yaku môshi-sôrô shikashite kono kô no zaimei saku ni musubareru dekiguchi nari.

Hachô 2 shaku 1 sun 4 bu kore ari
Toki tsuchinoe-nezumidoshi kannazuki Tanzan shirusu + kaô

Yamato no Kuni Tegai Kanetoshi

The blade has an ubu-nakago which is mumei but which still shows distinct takanoha-yasurime. Kanetoshi was a very skilled smith and representative for the Tegai School for the time from the end of the Nanbokuchô period to around Ôei (1394-1428). Apart from that, this blade shows a deki with a hardening in calm suguha that connects it to the extant signed works of this smith.

Blade length ~ 64.8 cm
Written by Tanzan (Tanobe Michihiro) in October of the year of the rat of this era (2008) + Kaô

Tanobe attributed the blade to Tegai Kanetoshi.
A note on the NBTHK papers as opposed to the Tanabe Sayagaki:

As for the connection, the Zenjo founder Kaneyoshi, who moved to Mino, was the son of Tegai Kanetoshi who is said to have been a son or student of the famous master Tegai Kanenaga. Tegai Kanetoshi in turn was a student of Kaneyuki who was the third son of the 2nd generation Tegai Kanenaga. So the Zenjo School had its origins in the Tegai School but the attribution to just “Zenjo” is a little ambiguous, this school was active until the end of the Muromachi period. ” The NBTHK attributed this to Zenjo only, an early Muromachi period or “Zenjo Kaneyoshi” attribute would have been closer to making this connection which we believe Tanabe did.. This would allow us to draw a connection to the school’s founder Kaneyoshi and see the direct Yamato influence. However, even the later Mino-based Zenjo smiths worked in a style that was still similar to their Sue-Tegai colleagues, i.e. they did not completely lose their Yamato origins.


During the twelfth century Uchigatana started to be used and by the Muromachi Period approximately 1336 to 1573 the uchigatana began to rival the tachi as the sword of choice by warriors. Unlike the tachi, the uchigatana was worn edge-up in the belt,  this and usually being slightly smaller than the tachi was the main difference between the tachi and the uchigatana.  Since it is worn differently, the engraved words on the sword are also opposite to the tachi, making the words still upright instead of upside-down like when one wears the tachi like an uchigatana. This sword became popular for several reasons, the uchigatana was more convenient to wear and did not get in the way of using a polearm as much as a tachi, also the frequency of battles fought on foot and the need for speed on the battlefield, were major reasons for the uchigatana being rapidly accepted and indicated that battlefield combat had grown in intensity. Since it was shorter, it could be used in more confined quarters, such as inside a building.

Unlike the tachi, with which the acts of drawing and striking with the sword were two separate actions, unsheathing the uchigatana and cutting the enemy down with it became one smooth, lightning-fast action (this technique was called battojutsu otherwise known as Battokiri). The curvature on the blade of the uchigatana differs from the tachi in that the blade has curvature near the sword’s point (sakizori), as opposed to curvature near the sword’s hilt (koshizori) like the tachi. Because the sword is being drawn from below, the act of unsheathing became the act of striking. For a soldier on horseback, the sakizori curve of the uchigatana was essential in such a blade, since it allows the sword to come out of the saya (sheath) at the most convenient angle for executing an immediate cut.

The word uchigatana can be found in literary works as early as the Kamakura Period, but during that time the uchigatana was used only by individuals of low status and privates in the ranks. Most uchigatana made during the early Kamakura Period were not of the highest standard, and because they were considered disposable, virtually no examples from these early times exist today. It wasn’t until the Muromachi Period (considered by some to be a kind of Dark Age in the history of the Japanese Sword), when the samurai began to use them to supplement the longer tachi, that uchigatana of high quality began to be made. In the Momoyama and Edo Periods, the tachi was almost totally abandoned and the custom of wearing a pair of long and short uchigatana together, the daisho (literally “big-little”) became the dominant sign of the Samurai class.

  • Mei: Mumei
  • Date: koto (Nambokucho period)
  • Nagasa: 25.51 inches
  • Sori: 1.8 cm
  • Width at the ha-machi: 2.65 cm
  • Width at the yokote: 1.8 cm
  • Thickness at the mune-machi: .67 cm
  • Construction: Shinogi zukuri
  • Mune: Iori
  • Nakago: Ubu
  • Kitae: Itame/masame
  • Hamon: suguba
  • Boshi: Maru
  • Condition: Good polish
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This sword is on consignment.
Special Sale Price
On Hold

Asking price: $10,800.00

(shipping and insurance included)

Email us if your interested in this item and remember to include the order number for this item: fss-691.

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MY INVESTMENT -30% = my bottom line

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