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About the Blade
Swordsmith
Gojou Yoshisuke (五条義助)
Forge Date
1570 CE
Inscription
義助作
Made by Yoshisuke
Current Sword Length
138cm
Current Blade Hamon (Historical)
?
Sheath
It measures 151.2cm in length and 45.5cm in diameter. It was originally covered with black bear's fur.
Current Location
Yuki Kura Museum,Yuki city, Ibaraki prefecture
(Replica. Original one was lost during the Pacific War)
Public Viewing
Yes (permanent exhibition)
Blade Appearance
History
  • Otegine is one of the Three Great Spears of Japan (天下三名槍 tenka san-mei sou), along with Nihongou and Tonbokiri. His blade was forged by Gojou Yoshisuke (五条義助), also known as Shimada (島田) Yoshisuke, under direct orders of the daimyou Yuuki Harutomo (結城晴朝).
  • It is said that Otegine's name came from the shape of its sheath, which resembles an ancient Japanese pestle (杵 kine ). But another theory says that Harutomo used Otegine in battle once, and he reached to pierce the head of 10 soldiers onto it. While heading back to the castle, (with all the heads still skewered), one of them which was placed at the center, fell down, making the set look like a pestle.
  • Out of the Great Spears of Japan, Otegine is the longest. With his blade mounted on a pole, it reaches 380 cm in length. Its 22.5 kg of weight can easily raise to the 37 kg range if it remains under the rain. This far exceeds the characteristics of a normal spear. As for the blade, it's said that it's not meant for cutting but for stabbing, because its cross-section shows a triangular shape which makes it more suitable for that task. All of this makes Otegine pretty unpractical in battle, so historians believe that the spear could have been used as umajirushi (馬印, horse insignia), both in battle and Sankin-Koutai (参勤交代) ceremonies.
  • Otegine was passed from Yuuki Harutomo's hands to his adopted son, Yuuki Hideyasu ((結城秀康), the second biological child of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Later, after Hideyasu's death, the spear became part of the Matsudaira family, and remained there until the bombing of Tokyo in 1945. When this attacked happen, the fire consumed Matsudaira's mansion with Otegine inside. Although they managed to retrieve the spear, there was only a irreparable piece of molten metal. However, a replica of Otegine was completed in 2003 and now it is exhibited in Yuuki's City Museum.
Miscellaneous
  • Along with his fellow Three Great Spears member Nihongou, he formed a saying: "there is the Kuroda with Nihongou at the west, and there is the Matsudaira with Otegine at the east".

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