Comparison:  In the two above photos I have placed the Dotanuki Katana along side an average Katana in order to show the immense size of the Dotanuki.

      Dotanuki Motohaba:  1.3125" (3.33cm)     Sakihaba:  1.1875" (3.02cm)               

    Comparison Katana Motohaba:  1.25" (3.175cm)     Sakihaba:  0.875" (2.22cm)                            

 

 

KATANA

DOTANUKI

KOTO c. 1560-1590

NBTHK TOKUBETSU HOZON 

 

SUGATA: SHINOGI ZUKURI

MEI:  KYSHU HIGO DOTANUKI KOZUKE NO SUKE

DATE: NONE

NAGASA: 71.76cm (28.25")

OVERALL: 89.38cm (35.1875")

MIHABA: 3.33cm (1.3125")

KASANE: 0.635cm (0.25")

SORI: 1.91cm (0.75")

NAKAGO: UBU 

MEKUGI ANA: ONE

YASURIME: KATTE KIRI

MUNE: IORI

HADA: ITAME / MOKUME

HAMON: NOTARE

BOSHI: KO-MARU

HORIMONO OMOTE: NONE

HORIMONO URA: NONE

HABAKI: TWO PIECE GOLD FOIL

SHIRASAYA

 

KATANA

KYSHU HIGO DOTANUKI KOZUKE NO SUKE

KOTO c. 1560-1590

NBTHK TOKUBETSU HOZON 

The Dotanuki school evolved in Higo Province with  it's ancestry going back to the famous "Enju Kunimura". Enju Kunimura founded the Higo Enju school in approximately 1305. Kunimura was born in Yamato province to the swordsmith Hiromura. He moved to Yamashiro province and became a student of Rai Kuniyuki, and later married Kuniyuki's daughter. Kunimura then moved to Higo and founded the Enju school.  There are only six blades by Kunimura known to exist.

 The Dotanuki School emerged in the small Higo village of Dotanuki in the mid 1500's, following the decline of the Higo Enju school in the latter part of the Koto period.  The Dotanuki school founder is said to be Dotanuki Masakuni, he was called Oyama Kozuke no Suke and his original signature was Nobuyoshi.  The famous general Kato Kiyomasa honored masakuni with one character of his name, and form that point onward  Nobuyoshi was known as Masakuni.  However, the majority of his works are only signed "Dotanuki Kozuke no Suke",  such as the sword presented here.

Dotanuki swords quickly gained great popularity among the warrior class due to their superior cutting ability. The Dotanuki smiths cared little for aesthetics, but instead focused on strength, sharpness, and durability in the field.  They were renowned for producing blades which would endure the harshest conditions, the most difficult battle field situations and survive to return to battle day after day, year after year. They are rated wazamono for their superior cutting ability.

One of the most feared, respected and ruthless of Hideyoshi's Generals was Kato Kiyomasa. General Kiyomasa was known as a ferocious and ruthless fighter, a true warrior.  So intense was General Kiyomasa that he was called "Kishokan" or "Devil General".  When Hideyoshi sent General Kiyomasa to lead the invasion of Korea  the General chose Dotanuki smiths to accompany him to ensure adequate swords could be produced in the field.

 

The sword is in overall great condition as evidenced by it's received the Tokubetsu Hozon rating by the NBTHK. The polish is excellent, with lots of activity to be seen.  There are a few insignificant kizu which most would not even mention. A little light scuffing, hike kizu or surface scratches, etc..

The sugata is typical for the school. They were known for producing wide, thick bodied swords with little or no discernable differences between motohaba and sakihaba as well as slightly elongated kissaki. The hada is a nice Itame with swirls of Mokume, chikei and inazuma. The hamon is notare with ko-nie and fine sunagashi as well.

This sword is a behemoth at over 28" in length, 0.25" thick and 1.875" wide at the kissaki.  It lacks only 1/16th or 0.0625" being a full 1.25" wide at the kissaki.  See photo above for a comparison to an average katana.

While this school did emphasize functionality over beauty, and older scholars seemed to disregard the aesthetics of this school, the hada and hamon of this blade shows a great deal of activity and beauty.

KATANA

KYSHU HIGO DOTANUKI KOZUKE NO SUKE

KOTO c. 1560-1590

NBTHK TOKUBETSU HOZON 

 

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