Ikkansai Kasama Shigetsugu was one of the outstanding swordsmiths of the Taisho and Showa Eras. He was born April 1, 1886 in Shizuoka. His real name was Kasama Yoshikazu. He began his career as a swordsmith in 1899, studying with his uncle Miyaguchi Shigetoshi. In 1903 he moved to Tokyo to study with Morioka Masayoshi entering the Tokiwa-Matsu Token Kenkyu-sho.

In 1932 Shigetsugu became the master swordsmith of the Nihonto Tanren Denshusho located in Akasaka, Hikawa-cho, on the estate of Kurihara Hikosaburo (aka Akihide). Kurihara Hikosaburo was a member of the National Diet, an amateur swordsmith and patron of Nihonto. Shigetsugu had numerous students some of whom were granted the use of "Ikkansai" or "tsugu" in their names. Among his outstanding students were Miyairi Akihira who later was designated "Important Intangible Cultural Asset" (more popularly known as "Living National Treasure") and Tsukamoto Okimasa who became his son-in-law. He later made swords at the forge on the estate of Toyama Mitsuru, a noted swordsman of his time and founder of the Black Dragon Society. In addition to being a master swordsmith, Shigetsugu was also a master at carving horimono. He worked primarily in the Bizen style of sword making. Shigetsugu died at age 80 in 1966. Numerous blades by Shigetsugu have received high ranking origami from both the NBTHK and NTHK.


Signatures found on swords of Ikkansai Kasama Shigetsugu include:

Ikkansai Masateru
Ikkansai Shigetsugu
Ikkansai Kasama Shigetsugu
Kasama Ikkansai Shigetsugu Hori Do Saku
(right oshigata in Soshu style dated Showa 12)
Kasama Shigetsugu Hori Do Saku (left oshigata)

NOTE: Many of his swords with horimono will contain the phrase "hori do saku"
During his early years, Shigetsugu signed using normal Kanji, but switched to Soshu style mei on his later works.


Gendai Toko Meikan by Ono Tadashi
Toko Taikan by Tokuno Kazuo
Nihon Toko Jiten by Fujishiro Yoshio
An Oshigata Book of Modern Japanese Swordsmiths by John Slough
Tokyo Kinai Tosho Index by Chris Bowen
Soshu style oshigata and horimono photo courtesy of Ron Polansky

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