I posted this sword a couple weeks ago... I got lots of mixed opinions and complaints that my pictures were too large so I took the pictures off to take new better ones but the thread was deleted before I could get new pics up.
Anyway, I thought I'd try again as I've been studying this blade and could really use some guidance and grading on what I think I've learned. A few weeks of repeated oiling and wiping have helped clean up the blade a bit and make it's features a bit more visible as well.
Rather than starting with the mei, I have tried to wipe away my starry eye syndrome and study the blade from the right way, beginning with shape. As near as I can tell, it looks like a Mino School late Muromachi (early 1500's) sword as it is a wide but relatively thin blade with saki-sori, not much taper, wide shinogi-ji, short nagasa (56cm) short nakago for 1-handed tsuka and a somewhat elongated kissaki. Unfortunately I can't make out the grain due to the condition but the steel seems bright and similar in color (albeit not quite as bright) as my other early shinto (Tadayuki I) sword.
The hamon is (obviously) sanbon sugi with a fairly regular (but not perfect... the "three cedar" pattern holds but the gunome have small variations in height and the sanbonsugi seems to get less organized as it approaches the nakago) repeating pattern with rounded small gunome and sharper tall gunome and is very bright and even in color along with a "jizo" boshi on the tip of the blade:
There is a lot of kirikomi on the blade; a couple straight cuts across the mune and several spots on the edge of of the mune where it looks like another blade skipped across it, taking little chunks of steel off. The edge has also been chipped a lot (but with only small chips) on the kissaki and the "sweet spot" (not sure what to call it!) where the blade would make contact with a target with the most force. There are also straight scratches towards the point that look like they came from thrusting the blade into stuff.
Granted, none of this means the damage definitely came from a samurai battlefield but it's interesting to me anyway and even more interesting that the sword took a lot of abuse at one time but did not fail as there are no signs of "fatal flaws" (and I've spent hours looking closely for cracks, delamination, bends, ect).
Here's the mei vs some Magoroku Kanemoto oshigata in the Mino Toko Meikan:
It may just be me but I've looked at a lot of Kanemoto signatures over the past few weeks and I think it matches Magoroku the best; though it's hard to say because there are so many Kanemotos and Magoroku has so many variations in his signatures (not to mention all the gimei swords!)
I think the Koshirae was once very fine and is a perfect fit but is unfortunately in very poor condition; the saya is wrapped in rare and expensive kairage-zame with a kozuka slot and even has horizontal lines carved on the inside of the saya "mouth" to grip the habaki (gold leaf and copper 2 piece habaki). The fuchi/kashira are missing but there are remnants of what must have been the original leather wrapping on the tsuka.
The Tsuba looks like a Soten school work and is mumei; it may not be an original part of the sword's koshirae as it has not been fitted to the blade.
So am I looking at this all correctly (mino late Muromachi Kanemoto, maybe Magoroku)?
Everything seems to fit except for the hamon pattern, as the literature says Magoroku did irregular sanbon sugi and later generations did regular... but the size/proportions and mei seem to point to earlier in the 1500s and the formerly high-end koshirae seems to make an argument for a special blade as well, if that counts for anything.
Do you think it would be worth the risk to get the blade polished and sent to shinsa or is there something I'm missing and/or misinterpreting?
I am ready to be taught! Please spare me the "new guy treatment"; yeah I'm fairly new to this but I'm staying in Nihonto and can only get so far with books.