Kiyomaro: Master Swordsmith to the Last Samurai

Nezu Institute of Fine Arts

poster for Kiyomaro: Master Swordsmith to the Last Samurai

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The Nezu Museum presents the special exhibition “Kiyomaro: Master Swordsmith to the Last Samurai” to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Kiyomaro’s birth. Minamoto Kiyomaro (1813–1855) was a renowned swordsmith active at the end of the Edo period. His fame was such that he was dubbed the Masamune of Yotsuya, echoing the name of the genius Kamakura period-swordsmith Masamune and linking it to Kiyomaro’s home in the Yotsuya district of Edo. Kiyomaro (birth name Yamaura Tamaki) was born in 1813 (Bunka 10) in Komoro in the Shinshū region in Japan. He began making swords at a young age but gave up his career as a swordsmith once. However, he could not shed his fascination with swords, and moved to Edo around the age of 21, where he devoted himself to sword making. At the age of 29 he spent about three years making swords in Hagi in western Japan, but then returned to Edo, where he committed suicide in 1855 (Kaei 7) at the height of his popularity. The reason for his suicide remains a mystery. This exhibition commemorates the 200th anniversary of Kiyomaro’s birth, and presents a selection of approximately 50 of his finest swords. In their day these swords were highly praised for their dynamic form, the beauty of their high quality steel, and the sense of energy in their hamon (pattern on the blade). The museum hopes visitors to the exhibition will share the unforgettable appeal of Kiyomaro’s masterful swords.

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from February 26, 2014 to April 06, 2014

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