About the Blade
Mutsunokami Yoshiyuki (陸奥守吉行)
Forge Date
1688 CE
Current Sword Length
Current Blade Hamon (Historical)
Current Location
Kyoto National Museum
Public Viewing
– Kyoto National Museum (Kyoto), October 15 - November 27, 2016
– Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture (Nagasaki), December 17, 2016 - February 5, 2017
– Edo-Tokyo Museum (Tokyo), April 29 - June 18, 2017
– Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art (Shizuoka), July 1 - August 27, 2017
Blade Appearance
  • Mutsnokami Yoshiyuki, signed 吉行 ("Yoshiyuki"), is one of the two swords believed to be used by Sakamoto Ryōma and an heirloom of the Sakamoto family. Popular romanticization says that Yoshiyuki was given to Ryōma by his sister before he left Tosa, knowing she would have to commit suicide because of the penalty that Ryōma would inflict on his family for leaving. Exhibitions point towards it being a present from his older brother.
  • Sakamoto Ryōma was a prominent figure in the movement to overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate. However, he is more well-known as someone who was in favor of foreign technology: he was among the people who created a modern navy for Japan, he was known to favor guns over swords, and he started and led the Kaientei, a naval trading company. Due to his disfavor of the government, Ryōma was assassinated at the age of 31 with close friend Nakaoka Shintarō while they were staying at an inn. It is said he died regretting that he was caught off-guard. Ryōma used Yoshiyuki during the skirmish.
  • The assassination was blamed on the Shinsengumi, who were known to have clashed with Sakamoto several times. Because of this, their leader, Kondō Isami, was charged with the incident and executed for it. Three years later, former Kyoto Mimawarigumi member Imai Nobuo would confess that he and other members were responsible for the crime, but officially, the true assassins are a mystery...
  • A wakizashi belonging to Katsura Hayanosuke, another member of the Mimawarigumi, is speculated to have been used during Sakamoto's assasination and is on exhibition. The blade has a broken edge, which experts say could have been from a clash between it and Yoshiyuki.
  • The sword was later damaged by a fire that broke out in the home of a descendant of Ryoma in 1913, and lost much of its curve as well as the hamon (temper line) of its blade. It was later polished and repaired.
  • The sword was donated to the Kyoto National Museum by a relative of Sakamoto in 1931. At first, because of the alterations to the blade caused by the fire, officials weren't sure that it was Yoshiyuki, but after an investigation, traces of the original hamon were found and it was confirmed genuine.
  • Mutsunokami may be partially inspired by Sakamoto Tatsuma from Gintama due to his cheerful personality and manners as well as tendency to laugh and usage of a handgun. This might not be too far-fetched an idea as Tatsuma himself was an intentional spoof of Sakamoto Ryōma, Mutsunokami's owner.
  • The gun Mutsunokami carries is a Smith & Wesson revolver, which is the same kind once used by Ryōma while escaping from Bafuku police in Teradaya, some time after the Satsuma-Choshu alliance was formed.

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