Masamune Sword and Blade Workshop is operated today by Tsunahiro Yamamura (Masamune XXIV), carrying on the Soshu tradition of blade making that extends back over 700 years to its founder, Goro Nyudo Masamune.
Among the hallmarks of the Soshu tradition is firing the metal to very high temperatures.
As the metal is heated to high temperatures, the wavy shape of the hamon (blade pattern) becomes more pronounced.
However, because the metal becomes brittle when it’s heated to high temperatures, both softer and harder metal are mixed together in order to protect the blade from breaking.
These unique techniques produce a sword with a prominent, beautiful hamon, making them not just blades but beautiful pieces of art.
Tsunahiro (Masamune XXIV) believes that a great sword has dignity and grace.
In short, his aim is that one’s first thought on seeing one of his swords should not be “It looks sharp,” but rather “It looks beautiful.”
「His attention is focused on things like...
“A sword should exude an impressive presence when drawn.”
“A sword should captivate the eye with its beauty.”
Allow us to introduce to you the exceptional work of Tsunahiro (Masamune XXIV.)
The “suguha” hamon (the blade pattern straight and parallel with the edge) defines this sword. The Soshu tradition is noteworthy for its large hamon, but beyond even the standard skill needed for beautiful hamon, the suguha hamon requires exceptional technique. The suguha hamon is prevalent among the most famous swords, indicative of its high aesthetic value.
The “fuller,” the groove along the sword, is also noteworthy.
The purpose of the fuller is to lighten the blade, while strengthening the sword by distributing force when striking.
This fuller is also distinctive even as an art piece.
This type of short sword is called a Wakizashi. The sword shown above is distinguished by its large hamon, characteristic of the Soshu tradition.
The work to add a hamon takes place during the final steps of production.
When tempering the sword in order to keep the tip strong, clay is applied to give the blade a hamon. The temperature the blade is fired to and the temperature of the water used to quench it to play a significant role in the final product, making it exceptionally difficult to produce a hamon in line with specific expectations.
After Tsunahiro (Masamune XXIV) passed his swordsmith examination, his first project was to make a dagger.
This dagger features a distinctive suguha hamon, marking his starting point as a swordsmith.
It is no exaggeration to say that this dagger marked the beginning of his new life as Tsunahiro (Masamune XXIV).