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Home » 4. Jinja (Shrines) » Objects of Worship and Shrine Treasures
Shichishitō
A sword passed down as a divine treasure (shinpō) in the treasury of Isonokami Jingū. Originally housed in the shrine and treated as an object of worship, the sword was displayed in the shrine's Divine Procession (shinkōsai) called the "Divine Procession of Swords" held annually on the thirtieth day of the sixth month. The sword functioned as a temporary dwelling or "spirit vessel" (mitamashiro) for the kami during the ritual.

With a length of 74.9 cm, the shichishitō is a special kind of sword in which each side of the body bears three branching blades. Because of rust, it is difficult to discern any longer the raised ridge running along the middle of the main blade, but it is apparent that the blade has a gold inlay of thirty-four characters on the front and twenty-seven on the back. A paraphrase of the inscription states that "on the sixteenth day of the fourth (or fifth) month of the fourth year of the Taiwa era (1204-5), one hundred shichishitō were made, and military defeat was avoided as a result." The inscription continues, stating that "such swords are suitable for gifts to one's lord. There is no evidence of these swords before this time. The King of Paekche and the Prince are bound by mutual favor and thus the shichishitō have been made at the request of the King of Yamato. May they be handed down to future generations eternally." It is believed that the entry in the Nihongi for the ninth month of the fifty-second year of the reign of Empress Jingū; refers to this sword, as it records a messenger from the King of Paekche presenting the court with a shichishitō and a nanatsuko mirror. The shichishitō has thus been designated a National Treasure due to its importance for our knowledge of foreign relations in ancient times.

-Okada Yoshiyuki
"Establishment of a National Learning Institute for the Dissemination of Research on Shinto and Japanese Culture"
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