Tanba (no) Kami Yoshimichi


According to Hawley's Japanese Swordsmiths (revised), there were 11 generations of swordsmiths in Yamashiro Province who signed with the mei "Tanba (no) Kami Yoshimichi" (sometimes written as "Tamba no Kami Yoshimichi"). They worked from 1634 to 1853. There were two main branches of this school, one in Kyoto and the other in Osaka.(1) The blades of the two branches can be distinguished by the way in which they wrote the "kami" kanji in their mei. The Kyoto branch (Kyo-Tanba) wrote the dot stroke in "kami" pointing to the nine to eleven o'clock position, while the Osaka branch (Osaka-Tanba) wrote the same stroke pointing to the six o'clock position. (2)

Swordsmiths of this group normally carved the "tanba" character in the shape of a boat's sail. Smiths of the Kyoto branch from the second generation onward were allowed to use the Kiku mon with 16 petals as part of their mei. Yoshimichi blades are rated Ryo-Wazamono (very good sharpness). The Tanba (no) Kami Yoshimichi lineage is part of the Mishina school of sword smiths descended from Kanemichi who moved to Yamashiro province from Mino early in the Shinto period.

The Tanba (no) Kami Yoshimichi's are noted for their use of the sudare-ba hamon (pattern like venetian blinds or like bamboo screens). In addition to the sudare-ba hamon, some blades also have a pattern of Mt Fuji in clouds in the monouchi region. The Yoshimichi group used itame hada with masame in the shinogi.

sudare hamon


  1. "Nihonto Newsletter", Yamanaka, vol 4, #4, p 20-22
  2. "Token Bijutsu", NBTHK, August 1981, page 27
  3. "Nihonto Token Jiten, Shinto Hen", Fujishiro, pages 90-96

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