Sōshū tradition

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Centers of Japanese swordsmithing traditions. The Gokaden (including the Sagami Province) are marked in red.

The Sōshū tradition ( Japanese 相 州 伝 , Sōshū-den ) is a collective name for swordsmithing schools in the Japanese province of Sagami (Sōshū), which had similar characteristics in different ways.

The Sōshū tradition belonged to the Yamashiro tradition , the Yamato tradition , the Bizen tradition and the Mino tradition to the five classic Japanese swordsmithing traditions ( Gokaden ).


The Sōshū tradition originated at the time of the Kamakura Shogunate , which had its seat in Sagami Province. The swordsmiths Awataguchi Kunitsuna, Ichimonji Sukezane and Saburō Kunimune from the provinces of Yamashiro and Bizen are considered to be the ancestors of all Kamakura swordsmiths and thus also of the Sōshū tradition. The first sword forged in the style of the Sōshū tradition is attributed to the swordsmith Shintogo Kunimitsu and is known as Midare Shintogo . With Masamune and Muramasa , two of the most famous swordsmiths in Japan also come from the Sōshū tradition.

Within the Soshū tradition, one differentiates between different secondary schools. These were the Hasebe School , the Nobukuni School , the Samonji School , the Sengo Muramasa School , the Shimada School, and the Shitahara School .


  • Sword blades of the Soshū tradition appear wide and heavy in shape with narrow Shinogi-ji, but with a high blade ridge (Shinogi) and a medium-sized point (Chu- Kissaki ).
  • The blades are flat curved and have the highest curvature in the middle, so that they resemble the archway of a Shinto temple (Torii Sori).
  • The blade surface ( hada ) usually has an Itame grain . Ji-nie can be found in earlier blades .
  • The hardness line ( hamon ) is usually undulating (Choji-midare and notaries / gunome) and shows Tobiyaki , especially on older blades .
  • The tang of the blade ( nakago ) typically resembles a fish belly (tanago bara) and has a symmetrical tip (kengyo-jiri).


  • Nagayama Kōkan: The connoisseur's book of Japanese swords. Kodansha International, Tokyo / New York 1997, ISBN 4-7700-2071-6 , pp. 198 ff.
  • Markus Sesko: Genealogies and Schools of Japanese Swordsmiths. BoD, Norderstedt 2010, ISBN 978-3-8391-8347-2 , p. 35.
  • John M. Yumoto: The Samurai Sword - A Manual. Ordonnanz-Verl. Strebel, Wiesbaden 2004, ISBN 3-931425-00-2 , p. 32.
  • Leon Kapp, Yoshindo Yoshihara: Modern Japanese swords and swordsmiths - from 1868 to the present. Kodansha International, Tokyo u. a. 2002, ISBN 4-7700-1962-9 , p. 17.

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