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Nanbokucho Hasebe sword - selection of style for koshirae


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I'm thinking about koshirae for this Nanbokucho sword (Hasebe school).

Please share your opinion about what style, colour and type of saya, tsuba and other staff would fit it best. I'm currently thinking of a red lacquer saya and dark metal tosogu with katana style koshirae. But I lack an experience in making a tosogu set. So professional advice is very welcome!

Thank you!





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It's your sword, so, it is to your preference. Colour is a personal choice, the only thing I would suggest is nothing avant garde, since if you ever resell you'll want something that has universal appeal. As to tousogu, it is usually a matter of how much money you want to invest. Do you want simple refined iron fittings, horn, or flash soft metal? A sword that would look comfortable on a battlefield of those turbulent times or a sword from times of peace where presence is a statement of status? If this sword is to be a particular favourite, I would really look at some koshirae preserved in books etc. that you fancy and then try to replicate that. It may take some time, but, more pleasing in the long run. Meanwhile investigate sayashi that will do the job to your satisfaction (rather important). John

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Yury et al -

I am thinking all acrylic fittings so you can see that beautiful sword inside! That however may be too avant garde. I am sure some will say stick with shirasaya because of the care which is needed when drawing and returning a polished sword. (swords in koshirae get drawn more)So purists might have a koshirae to display ALONG with the sword, but if it did not come with a koshirae they might see no need to create one.


Now I am subject to both urges and if I had the time and money I might look for an early koshirae of the period to match my sword and (sacrilege) have it fit to my sword - this as has been pointed out will take considerable amount of time and even more amounts of money. If you absolutely must see it done in your lifetime go with John's suggestion; Find an example that you really and truly love and have a modern artist recreate it for you.


In this way you get to have exactly what you wish for in a shorter period of time and you do the world a favour by helping to keep the arts alive. If you ask me, kawamaki tachi koshirae with all iron fittings like a Sengoku General might wear...


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If its a 'true' set of koshirae you're after, strongly suggest buying an original set as already mentioned. As for the sword and koshirae, the fact that you're asking for advice kind of points out that you should seek out professional help (expensive), in trying to accomplish this task. Otherwise, you risk ending up with something mediocre at best and probably making regretable mistakes along the way.

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At the outset let me say that I envy you having such a beautiful blade to admire and study! Nambokucho blades are my personal favourite.

A system I sometimes follow with my own blades may be of help in your appreciation of your treasure. Firstly, I never remount a sword that is in shirasaya. I believe that one can never recreate the lost effect of the original mounts, because what you are really doing is second guessing the original owners tastes. However, for display purposes only and where the blade warrants it, I assemble an appropriate period koshirae to display along with the blade. This achieves two things. It provides a great display and it helps me learn about the tosogu of the period. In assembling an often very expensive koshirae (make no mistake, this is never a cheap excercise if done correctly), I learn an immense amount about the tosogu of the period and the region, school and smith from which the sword came originally. It also provides great pleasure in the project and at the end of a sometimes lengthy process, a koshirae that can be admired seperately as an appropriate example of period mounts.

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