Hizen Tadahiro Katana

The second generation Tadahiro was born Hashimoto Heishiro in Saga, Hizen in 1614. At the time of his birth, his father the first generation Tadayoshi was 42 years old.

Tadahiro joined his father at the forge at the age of ten and he worked under the tutelage of not only his father but also such great smiths as the first generation Masahiro and Yoshinobu (Tadayoshi’s adopted son).

When his father died in 1632, Tadahiro assumed leadership of the school at the young age of nineteen. In all probability, because of his young age, the Shodai Masahiro, who was the senior smith, effectively ran the school for a short time. Also at this time, Tadahiro changed his family name from Hashimoto Heishiro to Hashimoto Shinsaemon. His new name appears on a family document that was a pledge that the Hashimoto family would follow the wishes of the Shogunate and not sell swords for export to foreign countries.

When studying the Tadayoshi School it is important to remember that the first generation Tadayoshi changed his name in 1624 from Tadayoshi to Tadahiro.
The second generation Tadahiro, who is the subject of this paper, always signed his name Tadahiro and never signed it Tadayoshi. I mention this because there was no recognized third generation Tadahiro . The name Tadahiro was used by sons (such as the third generation Tadayoshi while their fathers (the current Tadayoshi were still alive. When their father died, the current smith using the name Tadahiro changed his name to Tadayoshi when he took over the school. Only the second generation Tadahiro used the name Tadahiro throughout his sword-making career.

Nidai Tadahiro had two sons. The first was named Hashimoto Shinsaburo who was born in 1637 and went on to inherit the Tadayoshi name and become the third generation Tadayoshi. He was taught by his father, the Nidai, but died at a relatively young age of 50 before he was able to take over the school. He did, however, produce some of the finest blades ever made in the Tadayoshi Kaji.
His son went on to become the fourth generation Tadayoshi. The Nidai and the Sandai made gassaku blades together, and there are many documented dai-mei and dai-saku mei Tadahiro blades in existence.

In July of 1641 only nine years after taking over the Tadayoshi School, the Nidai Tadahiro was given the honorific title of “Omi Daijo”. This was a very unusual honor to receive at the young age of 28. The short time to receiving this title is probably an indication of how prolific the school was in producing fine swords, and the prestige it earned for the Nabeshima Daimyo.

Nidai Tadahiro passed away at the age of 81 in the sixth year of Genroku or 1693. His sword-making career spanned over sixty years and resulted in him being the most prolific artisan among the Hizen smiths.

This blade from Tadahiro is one of his best blades he ever made. It is a wide and thick blade with a narrow sori. The blade has a fine Ko-Itame Hada with fine Ji-nie. The Hamon is a Gunome Midare and Choji Midare mixed with Ashi and Jo. The Nioikuchi is deep and wide and in the Ha there are Kinsuji and Sunagashi.
This katana is accompanied by a very good Koshira as can be seen from the pictures.
A package that can no longer be found on the market today.