What she found was a sword which appears to be made by the same smith as mine.
A comparison between the inscriptions (mine on the right):
筑州住宗勉作 - Chikuzen Sumuneun studies. My sensei tells me the smith's name is Sou Tsutomu, and his father was Sou Kunimitsu.
Now, this is where I have a bit of trouble understanding. The website indicates the following as the inscription on the tang:
昭和四十八年八月吉日 which says Showa 48th, August.
The tang appears to read Showa 28th , August? Mine appears to read Showa 29th, August? I will have to get this checked out because though I understand the Chinese/Japanese numerical system, I am not at all familar with the Japanese calendar system. 48th year of Showa seems to be 1973, but if it's the 29th year of Showa, that would make it 1953. If that's the case, mine is 29th year of showa, making it 1954.
***EDIT 29Aug17*** I have since spoken to my sensei about the date and he advised that the character I thought was a "2" is actually two characters side by side, indicating a 4. Apparently that's how it was written back then. So what I thought was this character:
thus indicating 4 instead of 2. So in effect, the website is correct in stating it was the 48th of Showa. This carries over from the Touken Sato sword over to mine and they are both still one year apart. The Touken Sato sword is the 48th year of Showa (1973) as stated on their website and mine is still 49th year of Showa (1974). My friend Ron told me he's had the sword for about 30 years, making my sword only about 13 years old at the time he acquired it. The story he was told is plausible, date wise.
As the smith did not receive his award until 1990, I see little reason for someone to make a fake with his name on it 30+ years ago, but that's just my opinion.
Other information that appears on the website:
Shubetsu-gatana kuni Fukuoka ken jidai Shōwa ~ Heisei-hō-ryō 2-shaku 4-sun 5-bu
Which suggest it was forged in Fukuoka prefecture during Showa Heisei, sword length, 2.45 shaku
Shinsaku meitō-ten mu kansa tōshō kinkise nijū habaki shirazaya Fukuoka ken tōroku: Shōwa 48-nen 12 tsuki 20-nichi kōfu
Sō Tsutomu tōshō wa, Shōwa nijūichinen ni chichidearu Sō Seikō tōshō ni shiji shi, Shōwa san jū-nen ni bijutsu tōken-rui seisaku shōnin o uke, dōnen shinsaku meitō-ten ni hatsu shuppin, sonogo, Bunkachō chōkan-shō Kaoru-san-shō nado ikuta no tokushō o renzoku jushō shi, heiseininen ni wa tōshō-kai no saikō-idearu mu kansa ni nintei sa remashita. Sono sakufū wa, kinsuji sunagashi nado hachūnohataraki to henka ni tonda Aishū-den o mottomo tokui to shite imasu. Kono katana wa, koitamehada yoku tsunda seibina kitae ni,-chi nie mijin ni atsuku tsuku. Jinmon wa henka ni tonda Tagai no me midare, ashi futoku nagaku shikirini hairi, nioi fukaku ko nie yoku tsuki, nioikuchi akaruku saeru nado, Sō tōshō no kōdona giryō o zonbun ni shimeshita sakuhindesu.
Another sword with the same name found on Giheiya:
種別Category 刀 刃長Blade length 76.8cm
反りCurvature 2.4cm 目釘穴a rivet of a sword hilt 1個
元幅Width at the bottom part of blade 33.5mm 先幅Width at the top 21.0mm
元重Thickness at the bottom part of blade 7.0mm 先重Thickness at the top 5.0mm
重量Weight 刀身855g 時代Period 昭和
銘文Signature and Date （表）筑州住宗勉作
登録Registration Code 昭和60年7月18日 福岡県教育委員会
A signature comparison from left to right between the Touken sword, Giheya sword and mine:
A date comparison from left to right between the Touken sword, Giheiya sword and mine:
Anyway, this info was a nice find thanks to my wife. At least there's a bit more history about the sword than I can pass on to my son one day. My buddy Vincent also found this little nugget of information:
If you scroll down to 1990, that's when Sou Tsutomu received his Mukansa recognition. I'm not sure if I will get my sword certified by NBTHK, but that might be worth looking into.
Now I just have to find the history of my o-tanto
Date: 3rd year of Ansei (1856?), 2nd month