“Kumokiri Katana 1060 Series”
In the Heike Monogatari, when Yorimitsu suffered from malaria, and lay on a bed, a strange monk who was 7 shaku (about 2.1 meters) tall appeared, released some rope, and tried to capture him. Yorimitsu, despite his sickness, cut him with his famous sword, the Hizamaru, causing the monk to flee. The next day, Yorimitsu led his Four Guardian Kings to chase after the blood trail of the monk, and arrived at a mound behind Kitano jinja where there was a large spider that was 4 shaku wide (about 1.2 meters). Yorimitsu and the others caught it, pierced it with an iron skewer, and exposed it to a riverbed. Yorimitsu’s illness left him immediately, and the sword that cut the spider was from then on called the Kumo-kiri (spider-cutter). The true identity of this tsuchigumo was said to be an onryō of the aforementioned local clan defeated by Emperor Jimmu. This tale is also known from the very fifth noh, “Tsuchigumo.”
The tsuba made of blackened iron was based on an Edo period tsuba which features a spider on its web. We chose this design to represent the Tsuchigumo, and the whole sword itself as Yorimitsu’s Kumo-kiri. The sword cutting the yokai may be a legend, but this sword with a blade made of through-hardened 1060 carbon steel can definitely cut bamboo, a traditional target in tameshigiri. This cutting target is represented by the brass menuki, having bamboo leaves design. The simple fuchi-kashira are also made of blackened iron to complement the tsuba. The habaki features a “neko-gaki” or cat scratch pattern (also called falling rain) which is usually seen on nihonto with high quality koshirae (sword fittings).
The Kumokiri Katana has a matching wakizashi making them a daisho.