Photo/IllutrationThe 2.3-meter-long “naginata” spear, designated by the government as an important cultural property, is stored at the Okayama Prefectural Museum. (Provided by the Okayama prefectural branch of the Society for Preservation of Japanese Art Swords)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

SETOUCHI, Okayama Prefecture--The blade of an extremely long 2.3-meter “naginata” spear dating to the Muromachi Period (1338-1573) is to be polished to restore its former glory.

The public is being asked to contribute about 1.3 million yen ($11,500) for the refurbishment by the end of the year.

The naginata is designated by the government as an important cultural property partly because it bears the signature of Morimitsu, a famous swordsmith in the early 15th century belonging to the Bizen Osafune school.

Still, the point of the blade has become rusty, and the “hamon” pattern on the blade blurred. Hamon are said to be very different from one creator to another, showing the personality of the swordsmith.

“The naginata has not been maintained properly since it was polished in the Taisho Era (1912-1926),” said Satoru Koike, head of the Okayama prefectural branch of the Society for Preservation of Japanese Art Swords, which is organizing the project. “The mounting cannot be restored, so I want to at least polish the blade.”

A political leader commissioned a swordsmith belonging to the Bizen Osafune school to create the long naginata so it could be donated to the Senzusan Koboji Henmyoin temple here, according to the society's prefectural branch.

The naginata is currently stored at the Okayama Prefectural Museum.