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Mikazuki and Honebami's History

Sun Apr 26, 2015, 11:05 PM
So I decided to make a note (not a research, just a note that I copy and paste) about Mikazuki & Honebami's history that I gathered from:
5.… (lol)



1. Mikazuki was crafted by Sanjou Munechika in late Heian period (11th century).

2. Mikazuki not a sword that crafted for battle (for display purpose only; he was crafted for beauty, not for practical use in battle).

3. After his first crafting, Mikazuki was held by Ashikaga clan for a long time as their treasured family sword.

4. Honebami was crafted by Awataguchi Yoshimitsu in Kamakura period (13th century).

5. Originally Honebami was a naginata belonging to Ootomo clan. (PS: It is said that the first owner of Honebami is Minamoto no Yoritomo (1147-1199), the founder of the Kamakura shogunate, who then gave Honebami to the first leader of the Outomo clan. However, Awataguchi  Yoshimitsu was active during mid-Kamakura (13th century)).

6. Later then, the Ashikaga Shogunate started to gain significant influence in Japan. To show their loyalty towards the Ashikaga clan, the Ootomo clan then presented Honebami to the Ashikaga clan.

7. When Honebami was passed to the Ashikaga clan, it was apparently shortened (as tachi) and was no longer a naginata.

8. It is stated that Honebami was Ashikaga Takauji's beloved blade so it can be assume that Takauji would bring Honebami with him in every battle.

9. Ashikaga Takauji defeated the Houjou clan (which Tsurumaru belonged to during then) and pass Tsurumaru to Oda Nobunaga (so there's no record of Tsurumaru staying with the Ashikaga for a long period of time).

10. (So) Honebami and Mikazuki have a long stay with the Ashikaga family as their treasured sword for 200 (or more) years.

11. Mikazuki's most prominent owner is Ashikaga Yoshiteru (1536-1565)  who earned the title of "Great Swordsman Shogun" due to his mastery of sword skills and fine taste in swords.

12. Ashikaga Yoshiteru then gave Honebami to his retainer, Taga Bungo no Kami.

13. But after that Matsunaga Hisahide & Miyoshi Yoshitsugu conspired against Ashikaga Yoshiteru and attack him, which this incident is known as the Eiroku Incident (1565).

14. Taga Bungo no Kami used Honebami when he battled to protect Ashikaga Yoshiteru. Unfortunately the Ashikaga clan lost and so did Taga Bungo no Kami.

15. One tale goes that Yoshiteru was driven by the soldiers to the room where he stored his prized sword collection, and fought till the last, switching one precious sword after another as they broke during the heated battle. When Yoshiteru finally died from the exhaustion, the blade he held in his hand, which he had yet to wield, was Mikazuki (which would be the only time where Mikazuki was used in battle. Another saying goes that the shape of Mikazuki’s blade is unsuitable for battle, thus he has never seen practical usage. This is up to speculation.)

16. Miyoshi took Mikazuki as his trophy after the Eiroku Incident, and later offered the sword to Toyotomi Hideyoshi (who then passed Mikazuki to his samurai wife Nene).

17. In the other hand Matsunaga took Honebami Toushirou with him and he was very pleased with his spoils of war.

18. However, it wasn't long until the Ootomo clan heard about Honebami. Head of Ootomo clan asked Matsunaga Hisahide to return the blade to their clan. Matsunaga Hisahide finally agreed to make the trade (with 3000 ryo of gold and other gifts) and so Honebami made its return to the Ootomo clan after more than 200 years.

19. In 1589, the Ootomo clan had to give Honebami to Toyotomi Hideyoshi. This was how Honebami "met" Namazuo Toushirou and Ichigo Hitofuri Toushirou (and Aoe the rest of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's swords during that time).

20. Eventually Honebami was passed on to Toyotomi Hideyori, Toyotomi Hideyoshi's son.

21. (So Mikazuki was passed on to Toyotomi Hideyoshi's wife while Honebami was passed on to Toyotomi Hideyoshi's son.)

22. Summer Siege of Osaka (1615). Both Namazuo and Ichigo were badly burned when Tokugawa attacked Toyotomi clan and burning down the Osaka Castle where they resided during the battle.

23. Toyotomi Hideyori committed seppuku and the Osaka Castle was set on fire. Amazingly, Honebami escaped the fire and miraculously unscathed during the fire and was retrieved from the ruins of the castle (later to be supposedly found by a farmer from Awa province together with Yagen Toushirou[1] in the castle moat).

24. Namazuo and Ichigo were so damaged that they had to be reforged by Echizen Yasutsuku (by order of Ieyasu who was concerned with salvaging the treasures left behind by the Toyotomi Clan).

25. After Summer Siege of Osaka Honebami was then taken into possession by the Tokugawa clan. Initially Tokugawa Ieyasu was the wielder for Honebami. However he said "This blade is long and heavy, my old arms can't take the weight of this blade", and he gave Honebami to his son, Tokugawa Hidetada (probably Honebami still a tachi).

26. After Ieyasu’s death (1616) Honebami remained in the Tokugawa shogun family while Ichigo and Namazuo were passed to the Owari branch of Tokugawa stationed at Nagoya.

27. Mikazuki was finally given to the Tokugawa Hidetada after Nene’s death (1624), and stayed with the Tokugawa shogun family (probably he met again with Honebami in here?).

28. Unfortunately in 1657, Honebami was damaged during the Great Fire of Meireki (along with Souza Samonji during this huge fire). The fire consumed most part of the Edo capital and was said to have claimed more 100,000 lives.

29. Eventually Tokugawa Hidetada had Honebami reforged by Echizen Yasutsugu, and the blade continued to be kept by the Tokugawa clan until Meiji era (1887) when they gave it to Toyokuni shrine in Kyoto (also known as Hokoku shrine) where Toyotomi Hideyoshi is enshrined.

30. Currently Honebami is kept at the Kyoto National Museum and is labelled as Japan's Important Cultural Property, while Mikazuki now resides at the Tokyo National Museum.

Note: I tried my best to arrange these chronologically, so if I made mistake, please don't bite!! ;;;;


1. Tokugawa Jikki, Yamanaka, Albert , Nihonto Newsletter, Volume II-V, (1969)


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Laulaubi Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2014  Student Digital Artist
thank you so much for the watch hunniie !! 
kuyobot Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2014
welcome~ :iconyeahplz:
zzzsan Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2014  Student Artist
kiyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa thank youuuuuuu (^o^)/
kuyobot Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2014
don't mention it~ :iconyeahplz:
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