|Mr. Ishiguro-san was born in 1926 in Yoita-machi,
Niigata-ken. Yoita was then the most active blacksmith
town in Niigata prefecture. Ishiguro-Keijiro retired as a
blacksmith in 1954 and began his second career as a
tool wholesaler, a business he proudly continues along
with his sons today.
|As a master blacksmith he conceived, forged and
named many fine blades and in particular these three
blades stand out brightly amongst the others.
|Ishiguro-Keijiro created in late 40s Yoshiyasu in
honor of the birth of his first son.
|This first blade is marked down the center
YOSHIYASU and on the left TAMAHAGANE and to
the upper right NYUDO (A historic monks name).
|A second blade Yoshihisa was created in later in
honor of of the birth of his second son.
|This blade reads down the center ISHIGURO
YOSHIHISA and to the left HIDEN (secret method)
JYUKUREN (high quality) and to the right TEION
TEUCHI (low temperature, hand hammered)
|Finally Ishiguro-san created a third blade. It reads
down the center ISHIGURO KEIJIRO and up to the
left and right SHOHYO (brand) TOROKU (registered)
relates the following.
|In the age of Tensei, the 16th century, the making of blades,
UCHI-HAMONO, began in village of Yoita in the land of Echiigo (now
known as Niigata Prefecture). At this time the local lord Naoe Yamato no
kami Sanetsuna brought into the area an experienced group of sword makers
from Kasugayama. This setting up shop was a strategic step that war lords
devised in order to develop areas that they wanted to secure as their territory.
These early swordsmiths were from the line known as the school of
Kanemitsu & Kanetatsu.
|Throughout the Sengoku period and the Edo period or for about the last 400
years ago, Yoita has been known and famous as a center for blacksmithing.
In the late Edo period Ryaminsai Kaneyuki and other smiths became famous
for making kanna along with swords.
|The Ishiguro brothers Kenji, Keijiro, Hiroshi and Akiji worked along with
many other blacksmiths making kanna in their father's large kanna studio
before the war. Ishiguro Keijiro-san said that Yoita was one of the busiest
blacksmithing towns in all of Japan and times were good. The sound of
hammering began very early every morning until late at night and there were
large orders for all the shops to fill. In the early 1950's they helped to start
the first nationwide kanna contest. One of the Ishiguro's kanna named
TAMASHII (soul) was well received and won the gold prize along with other
makers Chiyozuru, Ishido, Hatsuhiro and Dogyu. Ishiguro-san said that after
this contest Dogyu-san came to visit often. He was a very big man and a
|After this the four brothers got together and decided that they should expand
their business and not limit themselves to kanna making only. It became
apparent to them that to have all four of them producing the same product did
not make a lot of sense and that it might create some kind of unhealthy
competition among them.
|Keijiro and Hiroshi decided to become wholesales of Yoita tools shortly after,
each starting their own companies. Kenji and Akiji would keep on producing
tools as they had been. Keijiro and Hiroshi's sons still maintain their fathers
businesses in two separate independent locations.