Kiku-ichimonji

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Emperor Go-Toba, who commissioned the 13 swordsmiths

Kiku-ichimonji (菊一文字?) ("Chrysanthemum-straight line"), also "Kiku-ichimoji," often and somewhat erroneously romanized as "Kikuichi-monji," is a collective name given to the Japanese swords made by the thirteen swordsmiths who were in attendance to the Emperor Go-Toba in 1208. Each swordsmith was in attendance to the emperor for a month of the Japanese calendar. The swordsmiths of the Fukuoka School traditionally inscribed only the character "Ichi" (一, one) on the tang as their signature. They further received permission to append the Imperial chrysanthemum crest (菊, kiku) on the tang, thus their swords are known collectively as "Kiku-ichimonji". Go-Toba was interested in the construction of Japanese swords, and so he summoned these swordsmiths, granting them court rank and title, and asked them to share the secrets of the production of higher-quality swords.

List of Swordsmiths[edit]

Kiku-ichimonji in fiction[edit]

Owing to the popularity of Shiba Ryōtarō's fiction, many modern fans of the Shinsengumi believe a Kiku-ichimonji made by Norimune to have been Okita Soji's sword. Historically, Okita used a sword made by Kiyomitsu of Kaga Province, among other blades.

In the anime and manga versions of Rurouni Kenshin, a Norimune-made Kiku-ichimonji is wielded by Seta Sōjirō (who is based on a darker Okita from the novel Shinsengumi Keppuroku.)

In the sci-fi alternate history jidaigeki action-comedy anime and manga Gintama, a member of the anime world's Shinsengumi, Okita Sougo, owns a katana dubbed "Kiku-ichimonji RX-78", which features, among basic things like sharp blade used to cut, a digital music player with a maximum 124 hours of playtime in its hilt. Okita Sougo's himself was loosely based on the historical figure Okita Soji, alluding to the popular beliefs and rumours that the sword Kiku-ichimonji was Okita Soji's sword.

Swords styled as "Kiku-ichimonji", or which share characteristics with Kikiu-ichimonji, appear in many video games.

In Inazuma Eleven GO, "Kiku-ichimonji" is a shoot hissatsu used by Tsurugi Kyosuke in his Mixi-Max form.

In Final Fantasy IV "Kiku-ichimonji" is a type of sword used by Edge, the ninja. It is also a type of sword wielded by ninjas and assassins in multiple games from that series.

In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray, the Gundam Astray Red Frame wields a katana named Gerbera Straight, which a literal translation of the name "Kiku-ichimonji".

References[edit]

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