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Kotetsu


Kotetsu means "old iron" or "ancient steel" and refers to Japanese katana made by Nagasone Okisato, more commonly known as Nagasone Kotetsu. He was born sometime between 1597 and 1599 and worked in the family business as an armorer for most of his adult life, where he achieved some notoriety for his strong kabuto (helmets).

In his early 50s he changed professions from an armorer to a swordsmith, creating some of the sharpest katana in Japanese history. His swords are considered the finest of the Kanbun-Shinto period (1658-1683). The book Kaihokenshaku lists the relative quality of swords in the 17th-19th centuries and Kotetsu is ranked as one of twelve "Saijo O-wazamono" swords, indicating they had the best cutting ability of all swords tested. (Swords before the 17th century were considered too valuable to risk so it is uncertain how his blades compared to masters from earlier eras)

The Kaihokenshaku was also used by forgers to increase the value of a forgery, and Kotetsu's swords have a reputation for being copied so well that even Kotetsu himself may not have been able to tell the difference. In fact the most famous Kotetsu owned my Kondo Isami is widely regarded to have been a forgery made by Minamoto no Kiyomaro.

History, Japan, Sword, Weapon


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