The Ichimonji school comes from the trait by the early Fukuoka Ichimonji smiths of signing their blades with the single character (ICHI), indicating "ONE".
The Ichimonji school is composed of several branches, spanning different periods of time and residing in different areas of Bizen province.
Mr. Iwazaki Kosuke explains the its bold meaning of "Ichi" as Muteki, meaning "No enemy, or No Peer" and this is not the name of a swordsmith, but is said to be a presentation name for the swords made by smiths from the school.
It is not hard to imagine the feeling of strength when gazing down upon a battlefield with a Muteki sword in one's sash.
The intention of "ICHI" or (1) is that no blade, and no warrior, could ever hope to stand against the one who would wield an Ichimonji blade. Even though the theory is different, the meaning of being number one, or without peer, gives very much the same feeling.
Vast numbers of top-quality blades were sold off by impoverished feudal families arrived in the late 19th century from Japan and this is rare Ichimonji Tachi was one of them.
The blade and the mountings are in Near MINT condition. It is a massive tachi and has a blade length of 30.5 inches (77cm). It features a deep curvature, smaller kissaki, and shows fumbari, or tapering in width from the machi to the kissaki. It is well-constructed featuring a straight and running masame hada that blends with wood-grained itame hada. The hamon is a well-implemented and active midare hamon with ko-gunome. The hamon is present in the length of the blade through the kissaki where it ends in a maru boshi. There are lots of activities along the hamon.
The tang shows a single "ICHI" clearly chiselled on the tang . This sword was made by a smith from the early Ichimonji group.
There are four groups of ichimonji smiths and some later period smiths sign their blades with a simple "ICHI" and with their name beneath.
The Edo period exquisite Tachi koshirae was specially made to house this blade after it went through a polish and in excellent condition with some slight age wear. It's very massive with a length of 121cm. There is so called "hammered effect on the metal furniture on the koshirae. The tachi mounts come with a wooden tsunagi to hold them together. The blade is in near mint old polish that shows that it has been carefully preserved over the years.
No doubt this is a very old sword, but with passage of time, especially with shortened tang, a lot of things could have happened and a shinsa is always good to establish the authenticity and the correct maker of the sword.
The sword is currently in Japan for verification and if confirmed, this would become one of the core swords in my collection.
Detailed measurements for the sword:
Nagasa: 77 cm, Sori: 2.1 cm,motohaba: 2.9 cm,Sakihaba: 1.8 cm, Kissaki Nagasa: 3.1 cm, Nakago Nagasa: 20.5 cm
Kasane: 0.6 cm