Hokke Saburo Nobufusa was born in 1909 as Takahashi Noboru and became the 8th generation of the Nobufusa line. He began his study at an early age under his father, the 7th generation, Takahashi Shohei. The roots of the Nobufusa line today derived from both the ninth generation Sendai Kunikane, and Ichiryusai Sadatoshi. From them, the Nobufusa smiths skillfully created swords in both the Yamato and Bizen traditions. Today, the 9th generation Nobufusa, Takahashi Daiki, and his son Takahashi Eiki, continue the line with focus on the Yamato tradition and particular emphasis on the Hosho school. However he also makes excellent swords in the Bizen and Soshu traditions as well.
The 8th Nobufusa forged swords with his father before, during, and after WWII and in 1939 he received a prize from the Minister of Education. He later went on to become an Intangible Important Cultural Property of Miyagi Prefecture, and was elevated to Mukansa in 1981. He passed away in 2000.
This blade is signed Hokke Saburo Nobufusa, and on the omote carries the patriotic slogan "Bu un chou kyu" which roughly translates to "may you have eternal good luck in battle". This slogan is commonly found on Yosegaki or the flags that well wishers gave many Japanese soldiers to carry to war with them. The fact that it is a Bizen style sword also is logical for a military sidearm as Nobufusa produced more Bizen works before and during the war, then focused on Yamato tradition after the war.
It is a vibrant and lovely piece in ko-mokume with itame hada. The nioi-deki choji midare is in the ichimonji style and billows wonderfully high into the ji. Ashi are stacked abundantly in the yakiba reaching deeply toward the edge. There are small streams of kinsuji and sungashi in places adding to the texture of the bright habuchi.
The boshi is a thick and wide midare komi with ashi inserted, and turns back across the koshinogi in a short extension.
The habaki is solid silver and was made by Brian Tschernega in about 2010(?), and the sword rests in a plain shirasaya.
This would be a fine addition to any gendaito collection. It is currently unpapered, but submission to shinsa could be arranged for the additional associated fees.