Minamoto Yoshichika, real name Mori Hisasuke of Shibamishima, is considered the last descendant of Sanjo Munechika of Yamashiro (circa 987). Yoshichika worked mainly during the Taisho era (1912-1926), but also into the Showa era. He is supposed to have made swords of western rolled steel. He made swords for the Japanese Imperial Guard and some of the most famous martial artists and swordsmen of the 20th century. He worked primarily in the Bizen-den gonome choji style. Yoshichika blades are known for their sharpness and cutting ability. His swords were tested (tameshi-giri) by Nakayama Hakudo (sometimes read as Hiromichi) of Ishikawa Prefecture. The nakago are often stamped with "Hakudo Tameshi-giri Sho" (Tested by Hakudo) (right oshigata).
Yoshichika swords have received NTHK and NBTHK origami and origami from Fujishiro. They are considered true gendaito despite being made from western steel. The oshigata (left) is a Shodai (first generation) Yoshichika blade.
It has recently been established that there was a second generation ( nidai ) Minamoto Yoshichika. Examples of his work with the inscription at the top of the signature "Nidai" are rare. The oshigata at right reads Nidai (mekugi ana drilled through) Minamoto Yoshichika saku kore.
The work of the two generations of Minamoto Yoshichika should not be confused with the Showa era smith signing "Noshu Seki ju Yoshichika" (different Kanji are used for the mei). They are unrelated sword smiths.
An Oshigata Book of Modern Japanese Swordsmiths 1868-1945 by John Slough
"Tameshi-mei on Modern Swords" by John Plimpton and Rev. Kensho Furuya
Nanka Token Kai Newsletter February 1, 1990. Volume 9. Number 2
Nihon Toko Jiten (Shintohen) by Fujishiro. Translated by H.Watson
Nanka Token Kai Newsletter (January 1, 1990 Volume 9. Number 1)
Oshigata courtesy of Ron Polansky
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