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Period: Shinshinto, Tenmei (1783).
Mei: Suishinshi Masahide. On the reverse, “Tenmei sannen nigatsu hi. Oshu Kesennuma kentetsu o motte kore o tsukuru.” (Made on a day in the second month of Tenmei three (1783) by using sword steel from Kesennuma in Oshu province.)
Sugata: Shinogi-zukuri, tori-zori, iori-mune.
Overall length: 31.22 inches (637.00 mm)
Nagasa: 18.93 inches (481 .00 mm) long.
Nakago: Ubu, inches (156.00 mm), a very pointed slender ha-agari kuri-jiri, one mekugi-ana. The yasurime are nearly obliterated by patination and pitting, but are sujikai.
Kissaki: Chu-kissaki, 6.14 inches (34.00 mm). The boshi is not clear enough to determine.
Moto-haba: 1.10 inches (28.00 mm). Moto-gasane: 0.24 inches (6.00 mm). Saki-haba: 0.75 inches (19.00 mm). Saki-gasane: 0.18 inches (4.50 mm).
Sori: 0.35 inches (9.00 mm)
Hada: Nashiji with utsuri
Minot scraches, some pitting. In need of a polish.
In shirasaya. The tsuka has an integral wooden habaki.
Masahide (MAS 102) is considered one of three great swordsmiths of the Shinshintō period. In addition to his son Sadahide, his disciples include Taikei Naotane and Gassan Sadayoshi (the founder of the modern Gassan school). Masahide, unlike many other swordsmiths, also shared his knowledge in books and essays, making them accessible to a wide range of people. He died in 1825, aged 76.
However, one should always be wary of an unpapered sword with a big name mei. They do exist, but so do lots of gimei. Matters are further confused by Masahide’s son (MAS 103) copying his father’s swords.
On the other hand, it is unlikely that a gimei would put on the inscription on the reverse. The date is too early to be his son; it would put it in Masahide’s early period. Between 1780 and 1790 he began forging blades in the Yamashiro tradition (slim, elegantly shaped blades, with a quiet suguha hamon). From 1790 to 1800 he made copies of ancient masterpieces of Sōshū tradition.
My personal feelings are that this blade should be polished and sent for shinsa. If it passes shinsa, then someone gets a bargain. I've included a picture of genuine mei from Fujihiro to help people make their minds up.