An Ancestral 450 Year Old Bladed Koto Katana, of the Hosokawa Clan by Shigetaka, Mounted & Last Used By A WW2 Officer & Captured By an 8th Ghurkha Rifles Officer in 1945. In Excellent Condition for Age.
Just returned from having the hilt wrap restored and rebound and it looks as good as it did before the war.
This superb sword straddles the two most famous eras of Japanese history, from the battle of Sekigahara the most significant combat period in Samurai history, right through, used by the same clan, and into the very last period when as a true, traditional, samurai sword, it would have been used in hand to hand combat conflict, WW2.
The specific benefit with this word is that is a lot less expensive than if traditionally mounted, as it once was in the Edo period, but not that much greater in cost than a good traditionally made modern Japanese shingunto sword from the 1940's.
In overall superb condition throughout.
Surrendered after one of Japan's greatest defeats of WW2 to a senior officer within General Slim's overall command in the 8th Gurkha Rifles, under General Scoones. An absolute beauty, with a circa 450 year old blade.
Signed Shigetaka, made for a samurai of the Hosokawa up to 500 years ago, The clan was descended from the Seiwa Genji, a branch of the Minamoto clan, and ultimately from Emperor Seiwa himself, through the Ashikaga clan. It produced many prominent officials in the Ashikaga shogunate's administration. In the Edo period, the Hosokawa clan was one of the largest landholding daimyō families in Japan. In the present day, the current clan head Morihiro Hosokawa, has served as Prime Minister of Japan.
The blade shows a very good notare undulating hamon, based on sugaha. Very nice wooden saya with horn kurigata combat leather covered. Traditional gunto mounted tsuka with single menuki. Iron plate pierced tsuba with clan mon. The blade is a bright as a button, and the condition overall is exceptional and the leather covered saya has a wonderful patina. Tsukaito hilt wrap now in perfect condition over a single menuki
Surrendered nearing the end of WW2 by a Japanese commanding officer to a British Colonel, serving under General Slim, after The Battle of Imphal. It took place in the region around the city of Imphal, the capital of the state of Manipur in North-East India from March until July 1944. Japanese armies attempted to destroy the Allied forces at Imphal and invade India, but were driven back into Burma with heavy losses. Together with the simultaneous Battle of Kohima on the road by which the encircled Allied forces at Imphal were relieved, the battle was the turning point of the Burma Campaign, part of the South-East Asian Theatre of the Second World War. The defeat at Kohima and Imphal was the largest defeat to that date in Japanese history. The defeat at Kohima and Imphal was the largest defeat to that date in Japanese history. They had suffered 55,000 casualties, including 13,500 dead. Most of these losses were the result of starvation, disease and exhaustion. (The Allies suffered 17,500 casualties, almost entirely from battle.) The Japanese had also lost almost every one of the 12,000 pack horses and mules in their transport units and the 30,000 cattle used either as beasts of burden or as rations. The loss of pack animals was to cripple several of their divisions during the following year.
Mutaguchi had sacked all of his divisions' commanders during the battle. Both he and Kawabe were themselves subsequently relieved of command.
In December, Slim and three of his corps commanders (Scoones, Christison and Stopford) were knighted by the viceroy Lord Wavell, at a ceremony at Imphal in front of Scottish, Gurkha and Punjab regiments. Slim was created KCB, the others were made KBEs.
This is a great sword for a collector of original, early, samurai swords, but an example that has continually used for hundreds of years by several samurai, then used by a samurai descendant officer up to the end of WW2 1945. His family mon clan crest} is displayed in the swords tsuba.
Ashikaga Yoshisue, son of Ashikaga Yoshizane, was the first to take the name of Hosokawa. Hosokawa Yoriharu, a Hosokawa of the late Kamakura period, fought for the Ashikaga clan against the Kamakura shogunate. Another, Hosokawa Akiuji, helped establish the Ashikaga shogunate.
The clan wielded significant power over the course of the Muromachi (1336–1467), Sengoku (1467–1600), and Edo periods, moving, however, from Shikoku, to Kinai, and then to Kyūshū over the centuries.
The clan was also one of three families to dominate the post of Kanrei (Shōgun's deputy), under the Ashikaga shogunate. One such individual was Hosokawa Yoriyuki. At the beginning of the Ashikaga's rule, the Hosokawa were given control of the entirety of Shikoku. Over the course of this period, members of the Hosokawa clan were Constables (shugo) of Awa, Awaji, Bitchū, Izumi, Sanuki, Settsu, Tanba, Tosa, and Yamashiro Provinces.
Hosokawa Tadaoki, was a retainer of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi
A conflict between Hosokawa Katsumoto, the fifth Kanrei, and his father-in-law Yamana Sōzen, over the shogunate's succession, sparked the Ōnin War, which led to the fall of the shogunate and a period of 150 years of chaos and war, known as the Sengoku period. Following the fall of the Ashikaga shogunate, which was based in Kyoto, control of the city, and thus ostensibly the country, fell into the hands of the Hosokawa clan (who held the post of Kyoto Kanrei – Shōgun's deputy in Kyoto) for a few generations.
Katsumoto's son, Hosokawa Masamoto, held power in this way at the end of the 15th century, but was assassinated in 1507. After his death, the clan became divided and was weakened by internecine fighting. What power they still had, however, was centered in and around Kyoto. This gave them the leverage to consolidate their power to some extent, and came to be strong rivals with the Ōuchi clan, both politically, and in terms of dominating trade with China. The Hosokawa remained in Kyoto for roughly one hundred years, fleeing the city when it was attacked by Oda Nobunaga. Another division of the clan whom many believed became extinct is the Saikyū clan. Hosokawa Tadatoshi, the third lord of Kumamoto, was the patron of the artist and swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. Following the abolition of the feudal class in 1871, the Hosokawa clan and its branches were made part of the new nobility in the Meiji era. The head of the main family line (Kumamoto) was given the hereditary title of marquis (kōshaku), while the heads of the secondary branches became viscounts (shishaku); the titles became obsolete in 1947. The present head of the main family line, Morihiro Hosokawa, was a former Prime Minister of Japan, is a descendant of the Hosokawa of Kumamoto.
The leather combat cover to the saya has shrunk a little at the bottom, through combat wear and age in the jungles of Imphal, and on to in 1945. One press stud is no longer fixed to the leather.