Kasen Kanesada, the Sword That Actually Cut 36 Men, Now Exhibited in Tokyo
History Behind the Blade
The aesthetic appeal of Japanese swords is so much that you almost forget that it’sactual use is as a deadly weapon. Each sword has its own delicate curve and the texture of blade. Their mysterious attraction grabs the hearts of so many people.
Seen in the photo is the sword named “Kasen Kanesada.”
Looking at the delicate elegance and beauty of the sword, it is just hard to believe that it is the weapon that actually slayed and took the lives of 36 men.
Tadaoki Hosokawa – The Shortest Tempered Man in the World
Tadaoki Hosokawa (1563 – 1646) was a warlord who lived through the turbulent times of the Sengoku civil war period and served Nobunaga Oda, Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Ieyasu Tokugawa, who in turn grabbed the supreme power and led the warring states to unification. Tadaoki not only showed his genius in battles and politics but also proved himself as a man of culture especially in such fields as tea ceremony, poetry, noh play and painting.
Based on existing historical materials, he was reputed as a “man with the shortest temper in the world” and his cruelty is depicted in quite a few stories. One of them is a story about the sword, “Kasen Kanesada.”
Out of his short-temper and cruelty, Tadaoki executed many of his vassals he disliked. At one time, he counted how many men he had executed and it was 36. The number 36 reminded him of the renowned “36 poets (kasen),” so he decided to name his sword “Kasen Kanesada” partly after those poets referred to as 36 “kasen.”
The Sword Handed Down to Date in the Hosokawa Family
The sword is going to be exhibited at Eisei Bunko, the museum in Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, from July 9th until October 2nd, 2016. Eisei Bunko was originally founded as a facility dedicated to collecting, exhibiting and studying the cultural articles and historical materials handed down in the once was a famous Hosokawa samurai clan, and opened to the public as a museum in 1972. The building itself has a rich cultural atmosphere.
Besides the sword “Kasen Kanesada,” which is the main feature of the current exhibition, the museum also boasts many other great collections mainly comprising of battle gears such as “Bungonokuni Yukihira,” the Japanese sword designated as a national treasure, a sword handguard with intricate decoration and the armor used by Tadaoki himself.
Vast Area of Land Surrounding the Hosokawa’s Mansion
After fully enjoying the exhibition at the museum, makes sure to take yourself out on a little extra walking tour outside and visit Shin-Edogawa Park. The park used to be part of the site of the Hosokawa’s mansion and here you can enjoy the good old atmosphere of the typical Kaiyu style Japanese garden, which became prevalent in the Edo Period (1603-1867). Kaiyu style Japanese gardens allow you to enjoy natural sceneries recreated with stones, ponds and trees as you take a stroll around.
Collaboration with Token Ranbu – ONLINE –
There was a panel exhibition in collaboration with the game “Token Ranbu – ONLINE -.” The guy seen in the photo is one of the characters from the game, who is the personified figure of the sword, Kasen Kanesada.
Access to Eisei Bunko
– Take a bus bound for “Shinjuku Eki Nishiguchi (白61)” from the bus stop no.5 in front of JR Mejiro Station (or from “Kishimojin Mae” stop in front of Zoshigaya Station of Tokyo Metro Fukutoshin Line) and get off at “Hotel Tsubaki Sanso Tokyo Mae.” The museum is 5 minutes on foot from the bus stop.
– 10 Minute Walk from Waseda Station of Toden Arakawa Line
– 15 Minute Walk from Edogawabashi Station of Tokyo Metro Yurakucho Line
– 15 Minute Walk from Waseda Station of Tokyo Metro Tozai Line
The opening hour of the museum is from 10 AM to 4:30PM (last admission 4 PM).
4 Actually Existing Japanese Swords with Interesting Stories