honami japanese sword

What is Honami(本阿弥)?

  • Honami family is a family of sword appraisers and polishers, which have continued for generations.
  • The family originally served the Ashikaga clan and polished the clan’s swords. However, with huge amount of sword data they had accumulated over generations, they started sword appraising also from 9th generation.

Generations of the Honami family

  1. Myohon(妙本)
  2. Honmyo(本妙)
  3. Myodai(妙大)
  4. Myoshu(妙秀)
  5. Myoju(妙寿)
  6. Honko(本光)
  7. Koshin(光心)
  8. Kosatsu(光刹)
  9. Kotsoku(光徳)
  10. Koshitsu(光室)
  11. Kouon(光温)
  12. Kojo(光常)
  13. Kochu(光忠)
  14. Koyu(光勇)
  15. Kojun(光純)
  16. Kokyu(光久)
  17. Koitsu(光一)
  18. Kokan(光鑑)
  19. Chumei(忠明)


  • From the 10th generation, the family started issuing a sword appraisal paper called Origami(折り紙). The standards required to obtain such a paper was very strict. It required a consensus from all appraisers from their branch houses around Japan.
  • The Origami papers issued by Honami Koushitu(10th), Kouon(11th), Koujo(12th) and Kochu(13th) are often considered more reliable. Other than these generations, the 9th generation appraiser Kotoku’s appraisals are valued the most. He was hired by the federal lord, Toyotomi Hideyoshi to appraise his swords, so the swords appraised by Kotoku should be the possessions of some federal lords. Although he didn’t left any papers, the swords he appraised have Kinzogan-Mei.


shu-mei kinzogan-mei japanese sword

  • Aside from Origami, the family also wrote or inscribed their appraisals on the NAKAGO(茎) of unsigned swords.
  • Red lacquer attribution, Shu-Mei, is applied to a sword that has no signature from the beginning.
  • Gold inraly attribution, Kinzogan-Mei, is applied to a sword which lost signature after shortening.
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