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Wakizashi sword, named Raikirimaru

Unknown13th-16th century, Kamakura~Muromachi period

Tachibana Museum

Tachibana Museum
Fukuoka-ken, Japan

Raikirimaru is a legendary sword of Bekki Dousetsu, the first head of the Tachibana family. It was originally a long Tachi sword named ‘Chidori,’ but then was recut into a medium length wakizashi sword by shortening the tang and moving up the notch of its edge. We can see the original tachi shape with its deep curve. It has no signature but it was deemed ‘Soshu-mono’ that is made by the sword maker named Soshu in Sagami Province, by the sword expert Hon-ami in June of 1758.
The new name Raikirimaru was based on the following legend: one day, when Dousetsu was taking a nap in a cottage under a big tree, a thunderbolt suddenly struck him. He rapidly withdrew his sword Chidori and slashed at the lightning. Although his legs began to hurt after the lightning strike, he continued to go forth to battle, riding on a palanquin and fighting actively using the sword. By his valorous act, the sword was renowned and its name was changed from Chidori to Raikirimaru which means ‘the lightning cutter’. Later, Raikirimaru was passed down to Tachibana Muneshige, the first lord of the Yanagawa domain, who married Dousetsu’s only daughter Ginchiyo.

Details

  • Title: Wakizashi sword, named Raikirimaru
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 13th-16th century, Kamakura~Muromachi period
  • Physical Dimensions: Blade length: 58.5 cm; Curvature: 2.4 cm

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