来国俊 永仁五年三月一日 Rai Kunitoshi 1st day of the third month of Einin five
Current Sword Length
Current Blade Hamon (Historical)
Hotarumaru was owned by Korezumi Aso, the head of the Aso family from the early Nanbokucho period (1334~1392). After a battle where the sword was badly damaged from Korezumi's mowing movements, Korezumi rested at the foot of Mt. Aso, falling asleep out of exhaustion. He had a strange dream where a swarm of fireflies (hotaru) gathered onto his sword, making it glow. The next morning, much to his confusion, the sword appeared to be fully repaired. The sword, later named “Hotarumaru”, was kept in the Aso shrine as a family treasure.
Although it was one of the nation's valuable treasures, Hotarumaru went missing after World War II during a sword hunt by the occupying forces. There’s a rumor that the sword is being kept privately in Japan, but it’s most likely destroyed.
In 2016, a crowdfunding campaign successfully funded the forging of Hotarumaru's replica using historical documentation of the original. The blade is expected to be unveiled at Aso shrine in April or May 2017. Photos of the forging process can be found on the project webpage.