With the Meiji period (1868-1912) arrived the modern times as well as modern warfare, such as guns. An imperial decree was passed that prohibited the wearing of swords. In 1906 the Imperial government appointed two contemporary master swordsmiths to the positions of Imperial arts and Imperial crafts artisans to insure the survival of the technology of Japanese sword making.
|Class:||Tokubetsu Kicho Token|
|Mei:||OTIE TOYAMA MITSURU TEINAI KASAMA IKKANSAI SHIGETSUGU SAKU|
|Ura:||SHOWA JUNI-NEN HACHI-GATSU HI (August Day, 1937)|
|Sugata:||Shinogi-zukuri, iori-mune, chu-kissaki|
|Nakago:||Ubu, kuri-jiri, kiri-yasuri, one mekugi-ana, long katana-mei; date, etc. on ura|
|Ji-hada:||Mokume mixed with ko-itame|
|Boshi:||Midare-komi, ko-maru, medium-long kaeri|
Kasama Ikkansai Shigetsugu (1885-1965) was a leading Gendai swordsmith and a master carver. Shigetsugu, who studied with Shigetoshi and Morioka Masayashi, is counted among those smiths who keep the craft alive until its revival in the Showa period.
The inscription on the nakago of this sword indicates it was made at the estate of Toyama Mitsuru (1844-1944), who is probably best known as the moving spirit behind the Koku Ryu Kai (Black Dragon Society). An ultra-nationalist, a man of unrestrained energy and a great organizer, he assumed an important role in the annexation of Korea and the invasion of China.
There were many swords forged at the Toyama estate, and many were evidently given to the cadre of dedicated young junior officers whom Toyama so effectively inspired.
Shigetsugu's common name was Kasama Giichi; he was said to specialize in tempering nie-based choji-midare hamon.