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Thursday, February 24, 2022

Rare Japanese sword recently found in Australia

 A rare Japanese sword that had been classified as a national treasure was recently found in Australia. The sword was confiscated sometime after WWII from Japan by occupation allied soldiers. The sword was thought to have been crafted by the Etchū Norishige (1290-1366) (則重) Norishige was a Japanese swordsmith of the late Kamakura period. He was a contemporary and possibly a pupil of the famous Masamune. Norishige swords are noted for their distinct matsukawa hada 松皮肌 (pine bark grain). One of his works is classified as Kokuho (National Treasures) by the Ministry of Culture, the highest classification for a sword.

An Australian sword collector, Ian Brooks, became aware of the resemblance between a sword he had purchased in an online auction in 2018 and the rare sword.
Brooks discovered that his sword's blade is the same length and has the same inscription on its guard. He also found three Chinese characters for "Shima Jingu" following two unreadable ones on a label that was apparently used to wrap the sheath of the sword.
Japanese officials are reviewing Brooks's claim. Brooks said he wanted to make sure that the sword is returned to Japan after his death.
(pictured below an example of a Norishige sword.

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