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Kunimasa Matsuba - Mukansa

This is the statement of the NBTHK magazine about the Mukansa title and the first prize of sword competition:

This is a shinogi zukuri tachi with an iorimune, and the widths at the moto and saki are not very different. There is a thick kasane, a slightly large sori, and a large kissaki. The jihada is ko-itame and in some places is mixed with itame hada. There are thick dense ji-nie and frequent fine chikei. The hamon is mainly choji mixed  with ko-gunome, square shaped gunome, and togari. The hamon has high and low variations, there are frequent ashi and yo, a little shimaba, a nioiguchi, there are nie in places, and there are some small tobiyaki. The boshi is midarekomi; on the omote the tip is sharp; on the ura tip has a little hakikake; it is komaru, and both sides have a long return. The horimono on both the omote and ura are bo-hi carved through the nakago. The top of the hi is low and below the shinogi. The nakago is ubu, the tip is ha-agari kurijiri, and the yasurime are sujichigai. There is one mekugi-ana. On the omote under the mekugiana, on the shinogiji, there is a large size kanji signature made with a thick chisel (tagane), and the side ura has a date.

Matsuba Kunimasa was born on Showa 34 (1959). In Showa 58 (1983), he became a student of the smith Kobayashi Yasuhiro who passed away at an early age, and subsequently Matsuba become a student of Yasuhiro’s senior student Ando Yukio. In Heisei 1(1998), he received his sword smith’s license and from the following year, he entered the Shinsaku Meito Ten every year. Since then, he has received many prizes such as the NBTHK charman’s prize, the Kunzan prize, and the Kanzan prize.

He has been producing original work with feelings of spirit. He is active not only inside of Japan, but also in Europe and America. He is active in demonstrating his favorite hobbies Aikido and Kenjutsu, and giving lectures and seminars, which are activities beyond a sword smith’s work.

This tachi is in his ideal Bizen Osafune Chogi style of work. With his highly established tecnique, he has receiveing the First prize for four years now. This tachi is 2 shaku 7 sun long, wide, and has a large kissaki, and a strong dynamic shape. The strong jihada matches the style, and is koitame mixed with itame, and there are dense thick ji-nie and fine chikei. The vertical variations in the hamon’s shape are not monotonous, and show a wide range of variation. Also, there are soft gentle ashi and yo. The nie are worn down, and the nioiguchi has no weak places. From these details, the tachi does show and exaggerated features or details which are sometimes seen in this kind of work.

This shows Matsuba’s high level of skill as a smith very well, and is one of the excellent works he has produced. With this NBTHK chairman’s prize, this is a his 10th Special prize, so now Matsuba is certified as a Mukansa. We are looking forward to his work in the future.