Hasebe

period:mid-Nanbokucho (ca. 1356)
designation:NBTHK Tokubetsu Juyo Token
nakago:o-suriage, mumei
nagasa:67.2cm
sori:1.0cm
motohaba:3.4cm
sakihaba:3.1cm
kissaki:7.8cm
nakago nagasa:22.9cm
nakago sori:0.1cm
price:-sold-

The Soshu tradition starts with a tanto made by Shintogo Kunimitsu, famous now as the Midare Shintogo. It is otherwise in Yamashiro Awataguchi style, except for a beautiful nie-laden midare hamon. With the creation of this tanto, a whole new set of possibilities opened up in the sword world.

Shintogo Kunimitsu is famous in his own regard, and also probably had the three best students in the history of sword smithing, in Yukimitsu, Masamune and Norishige. These three would take the teachings of Shintogo and expand them, mastering the manufacture of activities in nie and binding together the best features of Ko-Hoki, Ko-Bizen and Yamashiro technique. With the subsequent generation, including Sadamune, Go Yoshihiro, Shizu and Samonji, the Soshu tradition would burn very brightly indeed.

Though these students have great fame today, the main line from Shintogo Kunimitsu was handed down to Shintogo Kunihiro who was likely his son and the headmaster of the Sagami forge in which all of these smiths would come to greatness. His style though never diverged from the traditional Yamashiro based style of his father.

Shintogo Kunishige had two other sons: Shintogo Kuniyasu and Shintogo Kunishige, but their work is difficult to find today. They would however have sat at the center of the Soshu tradition.

One important thing that Shintogo Kunimitsu and Shintogo Kunihiro did for us, was to record the place of their work as Kamakura on a small number of works. This allows us to confirm the place of manufacture and their central position in the Soshu tradition.

Hasebe Kunishige is recorded in old books as being a swordsmith from Yamato, which is given as one origin of the name Hasebe. He is said to have moved to Kamakura, made swords with the Kamakura smiths, and at the end moved to Kyoto in Yamashiro. Today he is often included because of this, along with his line, as a Yamashiro smith. However, his style has very little to do with traditional Yamashiro style but is entirely middle period Soshu. The story about Yamato may also just be apocryphal as an attempt to explain the origin of the Hasebe name, lacking information about its use in the Shintogo family. I personally discount the Yamato origin story because of the fact that Hasebe was used previously on works of Shintogo Kunimitsu, Shintogo Kunimitsu and Shintogo Kunishige.

There are opinions based on the surname Hasebe that their native place was Yamato. However, Kozan Oshigata and other authorized synopses list the name Hasebe as having been used also by Shintogo Kunimitsu and his sons, Kunishige and Kunihiro. This seems to indicate that Shintogo and Hasebe were consanguineous. It is most likely that shodai Kunishige was a direct student of Masamune, but it is also possible that he belonged to the Shintogo school and was influenced by Masamune who was trained by Shintogo. NBTHK Token Bijutsu (English)


Tanto by Shintogo Kunishige

Shintogo Kunishige

Among the sons of Shintogo Kunimitsu was Shintogo Kunishige, who would come right at the end of the Kamakura period. Today his work is very rare, with possibly only one signed piece (a tanto), the work of which appears similar to Sadamune and Shizu. This Shintogo Kunishige is in my opinion the first of the three Kunishige generations, with the 2nd generation Kunishige taking on the Hasebe name in a long mei, similar to the expansion of Hiromitsu's signature into six characters from two.

It is widely known that there are three theories concerning Hasebe Kunishige. It is said that 1st generation was a student of Masamune; his sons are nidai Kunishige, Kuninobu and Kunihira. [...] The sandai Kunishige was called ‘Rokuro Saemon no Jo’ and moved to Tennoji of Settsu Province. [... Kunishige's] extant works with the production dates of the Enbun [1352] and the Oan [1368, eras] are the works of the second generation and there is no extant tachi with signature and production date either, but tanto with wide mi-haba and a few wakizashi in shobu-zukuri. A theory says that his swords with the production date of the Enbun is the work of the first generation and with the production date of the Oan is of the second generation. In fact, there are his mumei katana with o-suriage that are superior to ones with the production date of the Enbun in quality. Dr. Honma Junji, History of Koto

The meikan records actually list a Hasebe Shintarô Kunishige (長谷部新太郎国重) as son of Shintôgo Kunimitsu. According to transmission, he was active around Karyaku (嘉暦, 1326-1329) and it is said that he signed in his early years with „Kunimitsu“, the name of his supposed father. Markus Sesko (blog)

Tanobe sensei has held that Rokurozaemon is the nidai rather than the sandai Hasebe Kunishige, as does Fujishiro. Accepting Shintogo Kunishige as the first of the Kunishige line brings these opinions into agreement with Dr. Honma.

Hasebe Kunishige (Rokurozaemon): He is the nidai, and he also lived in Settsu Tennô-ji. He seems to have had the Gô of Rokurôzaemon, according to katana mei. His works are seen from Ôei to Shôchô, hirazukuri wakizashi are predominant, and hamon is hitatsura. Fujishiro Yoshio

Hasebe, Hiromitsu and Akihiro

Hasebe Kunishige signed commonly in long form and sometimes with a date. We see his dated work beginning in the 1346 and the last dated one showing up in 1368. We don't have any dates for Hiromitsu in the 1340s. This would make Hasebe at least a peer to Hiromitsu in time, if not a little bit earlier.

[Hasebe] Kunishige's time coincides with the latter years of Rai Kunimitsu [1340s], Jôji Nobukuni [1362] nado, and viewed from the point that he has many works, it can be deduced that he prospered greatly. Fujishiro Yoshio

We can place Hiromitsu in time solidly in the 1350s and 1360s, with the last known dated work in 1369. Akihiro is thought to be his younger brother and has work dated in the 1360s and 1370s with the earliest in 1357 and the last known one in 1387.

The history of Hiromitsu however is a bit complicated, as there are two major signing styles. The first is a two character signature which also points to his heritage through Shintogo. There is actually one suguba Hiromitsu as well which reminds one of an enlarged work of Yukimitsu, again indicating the cross pollination between master smiths of the time. In later years Hiromitsu began signing his work in long form consistently, and adding dates frequently. These two character works are likely the earliest work of the smith, coming before the dated works.

Since Akihiro's first dated work that shows up is only a few years younger than Hiromitsu's, I think it is fair to think he's the youngest of three students following in this succession.

As well, the names Akihiro, Hiromitsu carry forward characters from Shintogo Kunimitsu or Shintogo Kunihiro and support grouping these smiths under Kunihiro's lineage.

Given all of the above theories and evidence, this is what I currently believe to hold true for the picture of the core Soshu group of smiths. Since this article is focusing on Hasebe, I'm leaving out Shizu, Go Yoshihiro and the other Masamune Juttetsu. I've loosely arranged these into generations with more senior smiths in a generation coming first. The chart begins toward the end of the Kamakura period and ends at the beginning of the Muromachi period.

Dr. Honma believed that Hasebe Kunishige was a student of Masamune and that his placement in the Masamune Juttetsu is plausible. It's likely that Masamune, being the junior smith to Yukimitsu and Norishige, didn't inherit the line of responsibility in the forge, but his discoveries and mastery placed him eventually as the highest level teacher within the group.

Hasebe Kunishige and his school

After his time in Soshu, Hasebe Kunishige moved to Yamashiro province. His work shows no sign of the Yamashiro tradition whatsoever, but today he is included with the Yamashiro tradition smiths of the Nanbokucho period. During the Nanbokucho in general, the Yamashiro tradition as it was defined in earlier times died out in favor of Soshu style blades made by the Hasebe and Nobukuni schools.

When viewed from the point that the Shintôgo Kunimitsu Mon was called “Hasebe”, Hasebe Kunishige also probably came from this extended family. He probably went down to Yamashiro [after his time in Soshu] by taking advantage of the decline of the Hôjô family. [...] It is hard to confirm the story that he was a pupil of Masamune, but because I think that the true Sôshû Den started with Hiromitsu, I feel that this Kunishige had a relationship of some sort or another with Hiromitsu and Akihiro. Fujishiro Yoshio

The name Hasebe has now become synonymous with the school of smiths that followed him, and as well as a nickname for Kunishige himself. So, when we encounter this as an attribution we need to be careful and make a determination about whether or not it's a school or an individual attribution. Mostly the NBTHK and the Honami before them avoided making a direct attribution to Kunishige, and what we see are school attributions unless otherwise explained.

Where the work of the Shodai Hasebe Kunishige leaves off and Rokurozaemon begins is hard to tell as there are some variations in the Kunishige mei. Kunishige retains some minor fame for being the first smith to use the tama style Kuni character (国) where previously smiths used the older form (國) which is not much in use today. However, some of Kunishige's work does use this older form of Kuni. This leaves it open to discussion as to why this happened, if it marks work of the older or the younger generation is not clear. Most texts end up mixing the two together without any differentiation. I will note though that Shintogo Kunishige uses this older style Kuni, so I think these works represent earliest Hasebe Kunishige signatures that were inherited from his father.

The first Kunishige (who I think is Shintogo Kunishige) is said to be the father of Hasebe Kunishige and Hasebe Kuninobu, who were brothers. Other smiths in this lineage are Hasebe Munenobu, Hasebe Kunihira, and Hasebe Shigenobu (there are more but their work is hard to find now). Kuninobu did use the old style Kuni in his signature, so he potentially made daimei for Hasebe Kunishige and this explains the signature discrepancies above. There are likely multiple generations here as well since Kuninobu's signature evolves a bit over time.

Meibutsu Kara-kashiwa Kuninobu

There is a work by Kuninobu that is Juyo Bijutsuhin and in the Kyoho Meibutsu-cho (most famous works in Japan). This tachi is signed Hasebe Kuninobu and is magnificent, rivalling the quality of the Heshigiri Hasebe. The work is so good that Honami Kotoku was himself afraid to verify the signature, saying only that it was an attribution mei. Today with more works found the signature is considered beyond doubt and this blade elevates Hasebe Kuninobu's reputation considerably.

It is also possible that Kuninobu took over the Hasebe Kunishige name and made blades under this name at the end of his career and this is the third theory for the generations of Kunishige, making Rokurozaemon the sandai. A lot of this is hard to piece together, given the relatively few dated works, but this may be the best interpretation.

Because of the large amount of speculation involved in trying to decipher the Hasebe lineage, as it stands currently the NBTHK won't differentiate between smiths on Hasebe work. Unsigned pieces usually just take a school attribution and signed Kunishige work will simply have the mei verified. At some point in the future where more blades are examined, more will be able to be said about this topic.

Historically, Hasebe Kunishige is included in the Masamune Juttetsu (the 10 great disciples of Masamune). From the standpoint of time it could be so as Masamune died around 1340, and Hasebe Kunishige's first dated work we know of is 1346. This would make him still a trainee while Masamune was in his final days. Fujishiro says that the second generation Kunishige was the younger brother of Hasebe Kunishige shodai, but this is confusing as Kuninobu and others are said to be sons of Hasebe Kunishige and are working earlier in time. He does say there are daimei by the second generation for the first generation, but again I think a lot of this generational information is somewhat confused and I believe there to have been three Kunishige but as the chart shows, the first being Shintogo and the second being first generation Hasebe Kunishige.

Work Style

Hasebe, Hiromitsu and Akihiro are bound together by their work styles, in a similar way that Masamune, Norishige and Yukimitsu are bound by their work styles. Though Sadamune was their contemporary, he comes just a bit before in time. So as a result we see similar styles of sugata of these four smiths together, but Sadamune stands alone in his use of a Yamashiro style jihada. In his best works, Sadamune is said to be peerless in the clarity and precision of his forging, superior even to his father Masamune.

These smiths specialized in a development known as hitatsura in which the hamon rose above the yakiba in a disconnected “all over” tempering style. This had its basis in the yubashiri activities started mostly by Soshu Yukimitsu. These formed clouds of nie but didn't coalesce into determined areas of hardening. We see them also in Go Yoshihiro, Masamune and Norishige specifically but it is a hallmark of Soshu work ever since Yukimitsu.

It's not until these mid generation smiths though that we see it turn into a conscious development, and it is now synonymous with their work. The vast majority of what they made and remains to us is in this flamboyant hitatsura style. Because of this, these blades are remarkably easy to kantei, as no other smiths that came after really got the hang of it. As we progress into the Muromachi period, the Soshu style hitatsura becomes less natural feeling and more clearly an imposed technique and starts to lose its charm. The Bizen smiths in the middle Muromachi, along with Muramasa, took up the hitatsura style from time to time and generally did a better job of it than the Soshu smiths of the middle 1500s, as their skill had fallen off remarkably from the time of the founding of the tradition.

Meibutsu Heshigiri Hasebe (Kokuho)

From long ago [Hasebe Kunishige] has been famed as one of the ten students of Masamune. He later resided in Inokuma, Bômon, Gojô, Kyoto.

The style of workmanship in the Hasebe School differs from that seen amongst Kyoto works up until now, becoming Sôshû-den in style. There are extremely few tachi that have legitimate signatures with those that remain being ô-suriage mumei attributed works like the meibutsu Heshi-giri Hasebe (Oda Nobunaga became enraged at the tea server, Kannai who took shelter under a shelf. However this blade cut through the shelf and Kannai with little trouble. Thus, it was given the name Dominating Cutter or Heshi-giri). Yoshikawa, The Early Famed Works of the Kyoto Smiths

This is judged to be an incomparably excellent work of HASEBE. It was the favorite sword of Oda Nobunaga, its name is HESHIKIRI [Effortless Cutter] and is highly renowned. It was given by Nobunaga to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and from Hideyoshi to Kuroda Nagamasa, and is one of the pieces that is listed in the Kyoho Meibutsu Cho. Nihonto Koza

Hasebe Kunishige has works ranked Juyo Bijutsuhin as well as the famous National Treasure Heshigiri Hasebe named above. Oda Nobunaga who owned it, was the first of the great warlords to begin the unification of Japan, a process continued by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and finished by Tokugawa Ieyasu. Nobunaga often had great swords from the Nanbokucho period cut down to a size around 65cm which seemed to be a convenient size for him to wear mounted or on foot. This one though, the Heshigiri Hasebe, was Nobunaga's favorite. The blade is Meibutsu, included in the Kyoho Meibutsu Cho listed in the Edo period as one of the most famous blades in the country. Hideyoshi owned the blade after Nobunaga and then it was handed down in the Kuroda clan through the Edo period.

Tachi are particularly rare from the Hasebe school and virtually non-existent for Akihiro and Hiromitsu. It leads us to believe that these swords were heavily worked in the wars of the Nanbokucho period and destroyed, whereas those from the Kamakura period just prior to this seem to have been already put aside as masterpieces for preservation.

Fujishiro ranks Hasebe Kunishige as Jo-jo saku, but Dr. Honma says he is the equal to Akihiro and Hiromitsu who are both Sai-jo saku smiths. Furthermore Dr. Honma states that the Heshigiri Hasebe is so good, that had he left 10 such works he would have placed Hasebe Kunishige into the top place of the Masamune Juttetsu.

The Hasebe smiths along with Akihiro and Hiromitsu shared a signature style where they signed at the very bottom of the blade, and for some reason the nakago on these Nanbokucho period tanto were exceedingly stubby. Given the extended length of the blades, it is a head-scratcher as to why the nakago were made so small. Whatever reason for this is now lost, but had to have something to do with the koshirae (which have almost all been destroyed from the Nanbokucho period). Later periods which saw these blades remounted usually made the blades machi-okuri to lengthen the nakago and make for a larger tsuka. Since the blades were long it made sense to do this, and the style of koshirae they were originally intended for was long gone. Some were even made o-suriage, in the case of Akihiro there were a couple of tanto that ventured into near-katana lengths. One remains ubu but machi-okuri and about 45cm long, probably closer to 50cm as made. Another is completely o-suriage but is still a long tanto at 37cm. The low signing position of these smiths in the nakago makes them look a bit unbalanced in placement, but the rationale seems to have been to move stress away from the fulcrum point (the machi) and so as to prevent stress cracks from appearing where the mei has work hardened the nakago. With Hasebe Kunishige the mei is particularly compressed as well, apparently to move it as far as possible from the machi.

The Hasebe school eventually petered out in the early 1500s, as successive generations lost the skill of their forebears and other schools took over in Yamashiro (such as the Heianjo group). Together the smiths of the Hasebe school have left 112 blades that have passed Juyo to date, and 10 of these have passed Tokubetsu Juyo. There are some Juyo Bijutsuhin and of course the most famous of them all is the Heshikiri Hasebe which is Kokuho (National Treasure).

Hasebe Katana

While this is not the longest antique Japanese sword I have seen, this is certainly the most massive. From the moment you pick it up in the shirasaya you will know that you are handling something very unusual. This sword is the largest dimensioned of all the blades attributed to Hasebe.

This blade is ranked Tokubetsu Juyo Token, and is one of the 900 or of the top ranked blades by the NBTHK. A fair number of these great blades seem to have been cut down in the Muromachi period for wear as an uchigatana: the famous Heshikiri Hasebe is now only 64cm or so, as is the first Hasebe to have passed Tokubetsu Juyo. Once the need for odachi went away at the end of the Nanbokucho period, there was no longer any purpose for such huge weapons and they were cut down to useful sizes. Oda Nobunaga, the great warlord who began the process of unifying Japan, seemed to like this length around 65cm and it's important to point out that this was a common length for newly made blades in the Muromachi Period. So we see this length frequently in suriage Nanbokucho blades. Those cut down in the Edo period I think were more likely to be preserved around 70cm.

To understand the size of this sword, the kissaki is nearly three times the size of an average kissaki, and the width of this blade at its most narrow in the upper part of the monouchi is wider than even many large blades are at their widest. It is really a magnificent piece that illustrates the scary nature of the oversized Nanbokucho period o-dachi. This blade would likely have been carried by a retainer and then drawn from its scabbard by the bushi on horseback. The size and momentum of the blade when striking from horseback would give it incredible cutting power.

Comparison to Kamakura sword

This blade is currently attributed to Hasebe but also has been attributed to Chogi, who along with Hasebe Kunishige are grouped in the Masamune Juttetsu (the 10 great students of Masamune). Though the Hasebe school smiths are associated with Yamashiro province, they have a direct lineage in the Soshu tradition and Hasebe Kunishige learned his craft in Kamakura alongside Hiromitsu and Akihiro. As such the work of these three smiths are very similar. Chogi picked up Soshu most likely from Osafune Nagashige who is the first Bizen smith to learn Soshu techniques. Chogi is very famous for his massive and aggressive swords.

The NBTHK does not attribute mumei Hasebe blades to individual smiths unless the blade has an old Honami attribution, but the implication of a blade like this is that it would be Hasebe Kunishige. Tanobe sensei felt that the skill level shown in this blade was equal to or higher than Hasebe Kunishige.

This sword has an unusual feature of futasujibi on one side and bohi on the other, this is something seen rarely: somewhere around 70 Juyo blades over all schools have this feature. Soshu smiths like Shizu and his school, Kinju, Sadamune, Yukimitsu, and Samonji show it on a few of their blades and Shinto smiths copied it. Chogi and his student Kencho also show this feature. There is a bit of roughness in the bohi as this is the presence of the core steel, but this has no consequence other than a bit of aesthetic distraction. The blade itself is extremely healthy and in great condition as anyone will know by the weight of it when they pick it up.

The hamon on this blade is a riot of activity, rising very high to the shinogi and due to the extreme width of the blade this leaves a lot of activity all over the blade. Chikei are throughout the blade as well. The NBTHK liked this sword quite a bit, as it was promoted to Tokubetsu Juyo with glowing praise immediately after it passed Juyo Token, which is something that only the best swords achieve. At the time of this writing there are ten Hasebe works that are Tokubetsu Juyo, six of which are daito.

This is certainly an extreme example of the masculine, powerful Soshu blades from the middle of the Nanbokucho period, and not many like this exist anymore from any smith (Hiromitsu has one, and the entire Hasebe school has only 30 Juyo and higher katana or tachi). This rare and impressive blade has certainly earned its status as Tokubetsu Juyo Token.

A massive sword tends to come with a massive habaki. In this case, someone went all out and had a solid gold two piece habaki made for this sword, which weighs 72 grams (almost two and a half troy ounces). To have this made today would cost in excess of $4,000.

Lastly, this sword shows signs of battle damage and the reason it was shortened. Inspecting the nakago shows five largish notches remaining laid out side by side just below the machi. I believe this to be damage from striking a helmet, where the ribs in the helmet would have impacted the cutting edge of the sword. As a result of this damage, the sword was likely shortened so that the impacted area was moved into the nakago.


Juyo Token

Appointed on the 12th of October, 2006, Session 52

Katana, Mumei, Hasebe

Keijo

Shinogi-zukuri, iori-mune, wide mihaba, relatively thin kasane, no noticeable taper, shallow sori, magnificent ô-kissaki

Kitae

Itame mixed with ô-itame and nagare, in addition plenty of ji-nie and much chikei

Hamon

Nie-laden chôji based ha that is mixed with yahazu-ba, gunome, ko-notare, plenty of ashi and yô, much kinsuji and sunagashi and tobiyaki everywhere what makes the ha tend to hitatsura

Boshi

Midare-komi with much nie-kuzure and a rather pointed kaeri with hakikake

Horimono

On the omote side a bôhi and on the ura side a futasuji-ji, both running with kaki-nagashi into the tang

Nakago

ô-suriage, kirijiri, katte-sagari yasurime, two mekugi-ana, mumei

Setsumei

The Hasebe and Nobukuni Schools are regarded as bringing forth the most representative Yamashiro masters of the Nanbokuchô period. The greatest Hasebe masters were Kunishige (国重) and Kuninobu (国信) who, due to the advancing times, were mostly focusing on hitatsura interpretations, although we also know notare-gunome-based works in midareba from them.

This blade is ô-suriage mumei. It is of a magnificent sugata with a wide mihaba that does not taper much and features an ô-kissaki. The kitae is an itame that is mixed with ô-itame and nagare and that shows plenty of ji-nie and chikei and the nie-laden hamon is based on chôji. It is mixed with yahazu-ba, gunome, ko-notare, plenty of ashi and yô, and tobiyaki all over the blade. Such a flamboyant, rich-in-variety interpretation is very typical of the Hasebe School and with this very ambitious approach, we have here a great masterwork among all blades that are attributed to this school. On top of that, the condition of the blade is outstanding.

Tokubetsu Juyo Token

Appointed on the 24th of April, 2008, 20th session

Katana, Mumei, Hasebe

Keijo

Shinogi-zukuri, iori-mune, wide mihaba, relatively thin kasane, no noticeable taper, shallow sori, magnificent ô-kissaki

Kitae

Itame mixed with ô-itame and nagare, in addition plenty of ji-nie and much chikei

Hamon

Nie-laden chôji based ha that is mixed with yahazu-ba, gunome, ko-notare, plenty of ashi and yô, much kinsuji and sunagashi and tobiyaki everywhere what makes the ha tend to hitatsura

Boshi

Midare-komi with much nie-kuzure and a rather pointed kaeri with hakikake

Horimono

On the omote side a bôhi and on the ura side a futasuji-ji, both running with kaki-nagashi into the tang

Nakago

ô-suriage, kirijiri, katte-sagari yasurime, two mekugi-ana, mumei

Maker

Hasebe school of Yamashiro Province

Period

Mid-Nanbokuchô period

Setsumei

Contemporary to the mid-Nanbokuchô Sôshû smiths like Hiromitsu (広光) and Akihiro (秋広), were first and foremost the Yamashiro-based smiths of the Hasebe School. These smiths focused on a flamboyant hitatsura. Old documents like the Goto Tebiki Shô (如手引抄) state Inokuma (猪熊) as the place of residence of the Hasebe smiths and it is assumed that this site refers to what is the present-day area of the intersection of Gojôbômon (五条坊門) and Inokuma. It has to be pointed out that there are no blades extant that bear supplements like “Yamashiro no Kuni-jû” [i.e. the blades don't bear Yamashiro as a place name] in the mei. Today the prevailing thought among experts is that the Hasebe School originated in Yamato, had its greatest success in Sagami [Soshu], and eventually settled down in Kyôto [Yamashiro] later.

The most representative Hasebe smiths were Kunishige (国重) and Kuninobu (国信). The Hasebe workmanship features a Sôshû hitatsura. However, the Sôshû hitatsura is based on a chôji-gunome that is enlarged with tobiyaki, muneyaki, and yubashiri whereas the Hasebe hitatsura is based more on a notare-gunome. Apart from that, the kitae of the Hasebe School shows a tendency towards masame what is not seen on Sôshû works.

This blade is ô-suriage mumei. It is of a magnificent sugata with a wide mihaba that does not taper much and features an ô-kissaki. The kitae is an itame that is mixed with ô-itame and nagare and that shows plenty of ji-nie and chikei. The nie-laden hamon is based on chôji and is mixed with yahazu-ba, gunome, ko-notare, plenty of ashi and yô, and tobiyaki all over the blade. Such a flamboyant, rich-in-variety interpretation is very typical of the Hasebe School and with this very ambitious approach, we have here a great masterwork among all blades that are attributed to this school. On top of that, the condition of the blade is outstanding.