September 5-7, 2023 Firearms & Militaria
Search By:
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 9/7/2023
Measures 2 shaku 4 sun, approximately 72.75cm, with a 6 bu 5 rin sori, approximately 1.9cm. Iconic shinogi zukuri construction with iori mune, 1 mekugi-ana, finely executed kiri yasurime with mei reading "(Kikusui Mon) Minatogawa Jenja Masataka" and "Made for the captain of the battleship Yamato, a day in the 4th month, the 17th year of Showa" and "Kosaku Ariga's Sword." Accompanying NTHK worksheet and Kanteisho origami confirms the mei and worksheet further translates it as "Worn and gladly made for the captain of the battleship Yamato, a day in the 4th month, the 17th year of Showa". Ariga (an alternate reading is Aruga based on an interpretation of one Kanji, but he appears to have preferred Ariga) was the final captain of the Yamato battleship, the lead ship of the Yamato class battleships in the Imperial Japanese Navy and one of the heaviest and most well-armed battleships ever constructed. The Yamato, laid down at Kure on November 4th, 1937, was the flagship of the Combined Fleet in 1942, under Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. It was present at the Battle of Midway, directed by Isoroku Yamamoto, but after the loss at Midway, Musashi became the flagship in 1943. Yamato was present at several of the most important battles in the Pacific, including the Philippine Sea, Leyte Gulf, and Samar, although it only fired its guns during Leyte Gulf. In 1945 the Yamato was sent on a suicide mission to engage American forces at Okinawa, with enough fuel for a one-way sail, as part of Operation Ten-Go; instead, they were sunk before reaching the island by Allied Air forces. Her captain, Kosaku Ariga, was a career officer whose first command was Yugao in 1929. He commanded several other ships until 1934 when he served the Chinkai Guard District from 1935-1937 before being assigned as the executive officer on the Sendai. He was promoted to Captain in November of 1940 and commanded Destroyer Division 4 at the Battle of Midway and the Battle of Eastern Solomons. After training in the 1st Naval District in 1943 to prepare for taking command of the destroyer Chokai, he took command of Chokai but contracted malaria and was forced to return to Japan, where he was chief instructor at the Torpedo school until November 1944. On November 16th, 1944 the Yamato joined 2nd Fleet and Ariga was made her commanding officer on November 25th, which was compounded with a promotion to rear admiral. He commanded the Yamato until his death when the Yamato was sunk. Adding to the already incredible history of this sword is that it was made at the Minatogawa Shrine by Masataka, who was considered the best of the swordsmiths at Minatogawa. Minatogawa was the sister shrine to Yasukuni, and produced swords for the Navy instead of the Army in traditional methods for important personnel; due to the fewer smiths and the later start, Minatogawa swords are markedly rarer than Yasakuni swords. Masataka's real name was Moriwaki Kaname, and his first sword name was Morimitsu. He trained under Kajiyama Yasunori, Ikeda Yasumitsu, and Kotani Yasunori at Yasukuni and was made a master swordsmith in 1940, when he was given the name Masataka. The blade is majestic and well representative of a top quality maker like Masataka with an active and complex gunome hamon with plenty of activity, a tight and well constructed itame hada, and a frosty nioiguchi with areas of visible nie. Hakabi with the kikusui mon. Housed in a shirasaya and accompanied by NTHK worksheet, sword bag with kikusui mon, and NTHK Kanteisho origami. CONDITION: Overall excellent, very healthy, in polish, with visible activity and features throughout. Nakago yasurime is masterfully executed and sharp. Mei is clear and confidently cut. Some very minor marks that do not detract from this sword. Minatogawa swords are particularly desirable as a limited number were made, and many ended up at the bottom of the ocean. Swords of this caliber are few and far between, and this sword would fit right in the finest collection or museum.

Blade Length
Approximately 28 - 11/16"
Overall Length
39 - 1/2"
NTHK Worksheet, Kanteisho Origami
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $5,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium: $48,000.00
Estimate: $10,000 - $20,000
Number Bids: 17
Auction closed on Thursday, September 7, 2023.
Email A Friend
Ask a Question
Have One To Sell

Auction Notepad


You may add/edit a note for this item or view the notepad:  

Submit    Delete     View all notepad items