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Juzumaru Tsunetsugu/Trivia

< Juzumaru Tsunetsugu

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About the Blade
Swordsmith
Aoe Tsunetsugu (青江恒次)
Forge Date
Kamakura period (12th-13th century)
Inscription
恒次
Tsunetsugu
Current Sword Length
83.63 cm
Current Blade Hamon (Historical)
Suguha with koashi
Sheath
Current Location
Honkouji Temple (Amagasaki, Hyougo Prefecture)
Public Viewing
Displayed once a year in November (November 3, 2016)
Blade Appearance
History
  • The sword was owned by the Buddhist priest Nichiren (日蓮, 1222-1282), the founder of Nichiren Buddhism. When he returned from a Shogunate-imposed exile to the island of Sado (佐渡) to Kamakura in Bun´ei six (文永, 1274), he was invited by Nanbu Sanenaga (南部実長, 1222-1297) to the district of Hakii (波木井) in Kai province which was under his control. Sanenaga allowed him to build his hermitage on Mount Minobu (身延山), located in present-day Yamanashi Prefecture. Later, this hermitage was upgraded to the Kuon-ji (久遠寺). Nichiren´s grave is located on the temple grounds.
  • Sanenaga was one of the most important patrons of Nichiren and later, Kuon-ji. He presented Nichiren with a sword forged by Tsunetsugu for his protection. For Nichiren, this sword was merely a symbol for "destroying of inquinity and establishing righteousness" (hajakenshō no tsurugi, 破邪顕正の剣), and so he hung a Buddhist rosary (juzu, 数珠) over its hilt which gave the sword its name.
  • The history of the sword is already found in the "Kyōhō-meibutsu-chō" but the sword was no longer preserved in the Kuon-ji at the time the meibutsu-chō was compiled in the Kyōhō era (享保, 1716-1736).
  • In October 1920, the sword was rediscovered by Sugihara Shōzō (杉原祥造) who was responsible for the blades of the Imperial Household Agency (kunai-shō, 宮内省). He found Juzumaru among the items put up for auction by a certain aristocrat. Sugihara acquired Juzumaru at the auction because he feared that the sword could leave Japan forever should the highest bid come from abroad. He then invited all newspapers to write about his rediscovery of the sword. One year later, it was designated as national treasure.
  • Sugihara tried to return the sword to Kuon-ji, but the negotiations failed because the temple was not able to raise the funds to buy it from him. After tough negotiation, the sword was given to the Honkō-ji (本興寺), a temple near Sugihara´s hometown Amagasaki (尼崎) in Hyōgo Prefecture. A patron of the temple, Ōsaka paper wholesaler Kitakaze Kumashichi (北風熊七), was instrumental in sealing the deal. The sword is still preserved in Honkō-ji and is designated as an Important Cultural Property.
Miscellaneous
  • He has his eyes shut, just like he's praying, and it's hard to read his thoughts.
  • One of the Tenka Goken (Five Greatest Swords) along with Mikazuki Munechika & Oodenta Mitsuyo.

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