Ryujin Swords

Jumonji Yari by Kunishige in antique koshirae NTHK

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Period: Meiwa (1764-1772).

Mei: Fujiwara Kunishige saku

Sugata: Chidori-jumonji yari.

Overall length: 18.58 inches (472.00 mm).

Nagasa (main blade): 5.87 inches (149 mm).

Length across side arms: 3.54 inches (90.00 mm)

Nakago: Ubu, 12.72 inches (323.00 mm), straight, katte-sagari yasurime, two mekugi-ana.

Thickness at junction: 0.39 inches (9.86 mm). Thickness at tip: 0.31 inches (7.86 mm).

Hamon: Suguha with notare.

Hada: Itame with masame

Blade condition: In excellent condition. One tiny, hairline, ware on one of the side blades.No fatal flaws, cracks or chips.


The black-lacquered shaft is 10 feet 1 inch long (3073.40 mm). It would make an extremely good cavalry lance, both on length and considering its beautiful balance; it will remain level, balanced on two fingers at the midpoint. The top of the shaft is extensively inlaid with mother-of-pearl, and there is no damage at all to the lacquering. Old intact poles like this are very,very rare. To find an old pole this size in almost perfect condition is extremely unusual.


This jumonji yari is the work of the 2nd generation Yamashiro no kami Fujiwara Kunishige (KUN 1120; 1764-1772) of Musashi province (Bushu). The nidai was the student of Musashi-taro.

Many swordsmiths included both yari and naginata in their repertoire; jumonji yari were particularly a challenge to make. However the production of jumonji-yari does not seem to have started before the late Muromachi or Momoyama period, when such schools as the Kanabo (a late Yamato province school) made something of a specialty of producing yari and naginata. The Hzin school of spear-fighting, for example, ordered many jumonji-yari from the Kanabo swordsmiths when they introduced jumonji yari to the syllabus in the 16th century. The weapon also appears to have been favoured by mounted warriors.

Although jumonji-yari were used on the battlefield, most of the existing examples were produced during the Edo period and were carried in formal parades, especially the processions of daimyo. It was considered a great honour to be selected as the yari-mochi (spear carrier) in such a procession. This is may be an example of such a spear. Although the pole is the length of a practical battlefield weapon, both on foot and mounted, the lacquer, with abalone inlays, are probably a bit too rich for such a use. Similarly the blade itself is a bit on the small side for a battlefield weapon, but about right for a processional yari. On the other hand, it is weighted perfectly for a cavalry lance.

Jumonji yari are seldom seen. Jumonji yari in full-length antique koshirae are extremely rare; most poles have been cut down or else the blade is in shirasaya.

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