Clive Sinclaire reports the following which he claims to have got direct from Amada Akitsugu:
"Akitsugu's father, Amada Sadayoshi, also made two blades for Japan's most respected admiral, Yamamoto Isoroku (1884-1943), the brilliant strategist and architect of the Pearl Harbour raid. The two swords were a Kaga-uichi and one with a Suguha Hamon. The Kaga-uichi's whereabouts is known but the whereabouts of the Suguha blade, which was made at exactly the same time and has the same inscription as that on the other one ECHIGO (NO) KUNI AMADA SADAYOSHI and dated SHOWA JUNEN SAN GATSU - March 1935) is unknown. This Chu-suguha sword was eventually returned to the Yamamoto family after the Admiral's death in 1943, when he was ambushed and his plane shot down over the Solomon Islands by American P-38 Lightning fighter planes. It is reported that when his body was recovered, the Admiral had died with this sword in his hands. The family reports that there were two bullet marks in the Saya and one in the Tsuka. During the occupation of Japan, the authorities confiscated the sword and we believe that later it was taken to the US, where it remains to this day.
The present generation, Amada Akitsugu, together with a museum in his own prefecture, would dearly like to bring these two swords made by his father, together, if only on a temporary basis. They also plan a special exhibition, a kind of "welcome home" party if this can possibly be accomplished. I would emphasise that these swords do not necessarily need to be returned to Japan on any kind of permanent basis, but it is very important to know that they are being well cared for and appreciated, wherever they may be. However, as they are of historic importance and by a talented local smith, such an exhibition would be a great event." Article: Gifts, Presentations and special swords http://www.to-ken.com
As regards age, I was trying to point out than when the original sword or swords was/were presented to Yamamoto (around 1935) Agitugu was still a young boy. This may
explain the discrepancy and purported mystery surrounding the shadow sword, which Clive reports as still missing above.
As regards reliability of reports surrounding the shooting down of an admiral at the hight of a war, I would believe nothing but the first hand account of a trusted source. I say this because one of the most critical weapons in war is propaganda. To lose a top admiral hurts in the propaganda war, but to know that he was holding his sword and that three of the enemy's bullets bounced of it's edge is as good as to say he went down fighting off the enemy's planes like a samurai with his sword. What better spin could you put on such a loss? We do know that the sword wasn't permanently returned to his family, nor was it on his coffin. Whether it was destroyed or sent to the US we may never know, but I would treat any story that came from the military of either side with much skepticism.
As an aside, but to illustrate my point, I researched my other grandfather's death on the night of 16th December 1943 in a downed Lancaster bomber. It is well documented in several books, most of which follow a similar, though flawed, tale. However my grandmother's version varies in some key details, and the documentary evidence (medical report, a letter from a survivor of the crash, the telegram etc.) tells another story. Each telling tries to fit a different narrative. One shows he died quickly and painlessly, without regaining consciousness, another that he was thinking of his crew to the last. One tells of the horror of having to tell his new bride, just recently married, who was waiting in a local inn - ignoring that she actually received the news by telegram, was 200 miles away, married for well over a year and they had a son. etc., etc. Any story, particularly of high profile warriors will always be embellished, and short of seeing both swords, we'll probably never know the truth. Even how I came by my Sadayoshi is, I'm told by Greg Irvine "very unlikely", though I have checked with the original source and he is adamant he got it how I describe it and in the condition it now sits (i.e. in a shirasaya, but with a tsuba fitted). His memoirs recount some descriptions of the Japanese occupation of Singapore which are at variance to the mainstream too. Was Ford right when he said "All history in bunk"? (mind you that's not what he actually said either ... but that's another story)