One of Japan‘s national treasures could have just potentially been located.
A Katana made by one of the greatest swordsmiths of the 14th century — Etchu Norishige — has wound up in Melbourne, Australia. The katana was originally crafted in Nei — modern-day Toyama Prefecture — and somehow ended up in the hands of the 27th samurai lord of the Shimazu clan. It was then gifted to the Kagoshima Shrine approximately 200 years ago.
Bought from an online auction by Ian Brooks in Australia, who noticed that the sword was of high quality, the katana was purchased for just a little under $4,000 USD. While the engraving of the swordsmith’s name was absent from the hilt, it did come with a faded paper wrapping that contained the last three characters of the Kagoshima Shrine — the same shrine that Lord Shimazu gifted the Katana to some two centuries ago.
After some communication with the representatives of the Kagoshima Shrine, there is reason to believe that this is in fact a missing national treasure of Japan. Thought to have been misplaced after its seizure by allied forces after World War II, the Etchu Norishige Katana eventually wound up in New York where it was shipped to Brooks after his winning bid.
Japan’s Agency for Cultural Affairs eventually wishes to do an official inspection of the blade, but at the moment, Brooks wants to be in possession of the artifact while he’s still alive. He did, however, say on record that the sword has been added to a provision in his will stating that the national treasure would go back to the Kagoshima Shrine after his death.
— NHK鹿児島放送局 (@nhk_kagoshima) February 24, 2022
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