The Ishido School has roots back to Osaka in the early Shinto Period. They made excellent swords in the Bizen Tradition. Tatara Nagayuki, the Ishido School’s most well regarded swordsmith, made swords that emulated, and sometimes rivaled those of the famous Ichimonji School of the Koto Period.
Ishido Teruhide (b 1900; d 1982) was the 10th and last generation of the Ishido Korekazu line of swordsmiths in Tokyo (Toto). He was a descendant of very famous Musashi Daijo Fujiwara Korekazu. During WW II, he made many swords for high ranking military officers and also made blades for civilians. Ishido Teruhide was ranked betseki in the 1943 swordsmith rankings by the Nihon Token Tanrenjo and the Nihon Token Shinbunshi. Ishido Teruhide signed with both a long mei and a two character mei. Teruhide also signed simply Ishido saku.
On some of his swords, Teruhide used a kao (carved personal seal) in addition to his signature (mei). Ishido Teruhide also signed as Ishido Mitsunobu also using the same kao as with his Teruhide mei. It is possible that the Mitsunobu signature is a dai mei signature (a signature where one smith signs for another). It could also be the case that both swordsmiths employed the same professional mei carver and that these signatures are examples of nakirishi mei. While these are possibilities, I think it is unlikely and that Teruhide and Mitsunobu are most probably the same smith. I doubt that a swordsmith would carve his personal seal (kao) if signing for another smith. It has been suggested that he signed Teruhide when making blades by the traditional method but signed Mitsunobu on non-traditionally made (sunobe) blades. His signature (mei) is sometimes translated as Sekido Teruhide and Sekido Mitsunobu, although Ishido is the preferred reading.
Signature examples of Ishido Teruhide (Japanese Sword Index):
An Ishido Teruhide blade was awarded HOZON origami in 1997 by the NBTHK and are judged as true gendaito (kindaito). His blades are found in standard shin-gunto mounts, Showa Era civilian buke’ zukuri style mounts, kai-gunto mounts and shirasaya.
After the war Teruhide made wood cutting planes rather than swords in order to earn a living. The planes he produced cut well and sold for about 2,000,000 Japanese Yen. The company continues today making tools and wood planes. More on the current Ishido Lineage. (Courtesy of japaneseswordindex.com)
According to John Slough’s Book of Modern Japanese Swordsmiths, Ishido Terhuhide made medium to high grade Gendaito and is listed in Hawley’s Japanese Swordsmiths reference TER-56. Many works by Ishido Teruhide are very highly regarded among Gendaito collectors. Gendaito are gaining much appreciation among sword collectors in general. Gendaito represent the fastest growing genre in sword collecting. They are regarded as true Nihonto, made using traditional methods. A collector can own a finely made, healthy nihonto for a fraction of the price of quality swords from the Koto Period.
With it’s beautiful, active hamon and warrior inspiring form, this particular sword represents Ishido Teruhide’s better work. Excellent candidate for NBTHK Shinsa.
|SCHOOL||Ishido (Bizen Tradition)|
|RATINGS||Medium to High Grade Gendaito|
|SUGATA||Powerful Shinogi-zukuri with iore-mune.|
|HAMON||Gunome and Chogi.|
|HADA||Tight itame, Muji.|
|KOSHIRAE||Early Shin-Gunto, with leather combat cover.|
|FUCHI KASHIRA||Original Shin-Gunto|