I’m um, Gokotai. I was a present for Lord Kenshin.
At that time, how should I say this, I managed to pick up a story, about how I fought off lots of tigers.
sniff* But I’m really just a tantouuu….*sniff*
Gokotai was forged by Awataguchi Yoshimitsu (粟田口吉光) during the Kamakura Period (1185–1333) and has a 24.8 cm long blade.
The production of tantō daggers increased considerably towards the late Kamakura period, thanks to the production of the Toushirou “brothers” from the Awataguchi School.
Yoshimitsu is known for forging tantous with suguha hamon(直刃), a straight style hamon. The hamon is the crystalline pattern of the hardened cutting edge of the blade, it is a key point for artistic appreciation of Japanese swords.
Gokotai’s name is symbolic to his ingame appearance, “go(五)” means five, “ko(虎)” means tiger, and “tai(退)” means repel in English. So, his name is literally translated as “a tantou that repelled five tigers”.
The Ashikaga envoy was sent on a mission to Ming (China) to build trade relations with the Ming in order to secure funds for the Ashikaga clan to build the Tenryuuji Temple**. On his way to Ming, he encountered 5 tigers. The envoy was frightened and he took out his tantou and waved frantically while having his eyes closed. After awhile he opened his eyes and realized the tigers were gone.
This may explains Gokotai’s timid personality in game. He may have driven away 5 tigers but he really is just a scared cinnamon roll who doesn’t like to fight but strive for the affection of his Saniwa, in fact when you make him duel other swords he says: “I think d-duels are barbaric…!” and when he returns from an expedition he’ll say: “I’ve returned…! Please pat me…!”
When he got back from his mission, he told this story to Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (足利義満3rd shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate, which was in power from 1368 to 1394 during the Muromachi period of Japan) and presented this tantou as Gokotai, also known as Gokotai Yoshimitsu.
Years later, Gokotai’s ownership shifted to Emperor Ougimachi (正親町天皇). In Year 1559, Emperor Ougimachi and Ashikaga Yoshimitsu requested to meet Uesugi Kenshin (上杉謙信, a Japanese samurai daimyo during the Sengoku period and Edo period). During this meeting, Emperor Ougimachi gave Uesugi Kenshin his tantou, Gokotai. From then on Gokotai became the Uesugi clan’s property, and became one of the ‘Uesugi Clan’s 35 Chosen Swords’ (上杉家御手選三十五腰), a collection of swords that stroke the fancy of Uesugi Kagekatsu.
Several hundred years later, Emperor Meiji (明治天皇) visited Uesugi clan at Yonezawa in 1881. Known as a sword enthusiast, Emperor Meiji was presented several blades from the Uesugi clan’s collection. He was so into looking at the blades he even extended his stay and cancelled his appointments. After some time Gokotai was presented to Emperor Meiji. As Emperor Meiji possessed an Awataguchi Yoshimitsu tantou* too, he proceeded to compare these 2 blades. These two blades are of the same length and the build is almost the same. So he asked a sword expert from Hon'ami school. The expert then said the tantou that Emperor Meiji holds is more superior compared to Gokotai. And so Emperor Meiji joked if Gokotai can ward off 5 tigers, maybe his tantou can ward off 10 tigers.
Gokotai is currently privately owned by the Uesugi Household descendants and is on display from September 1 to October 27, in the Tonezawa city at Uesugi Museum in the Yamagata prefecture.
There is a saying that after he “scared off” the tigers, those tigers were bound to him since in his acquisition he says: “I’m Gokotai. Um…I can’t drive them away. I’m sorry. Because I feel sorry for the tigers.” and when he breaks he’ll say:“ My tigers… Everyone… Please, escape……” like if he breaks the tigers will be set free.
*Emperor Meiji may have compared Gokotai to Hirano Toushirou, or maybe another Toushirou sword not yet implemented in-game which is Okayama Toushirou. Emperor Meiji was a sword fanatic, it was said that he owned about 3,000 swords.
**Tenryū-ji (天龍寺) more formally known as Tenryū Shiseizen-ji (天龍資聖禅寺) is the head temple of the Tenryū branch of Rinzai Zen Buddhism, located in Susukinobaba-chō, Ukyō Ward, Kyoto. The temple was founded by Ashikaga Takauji in 1339, primarily to venerate Gautama Buddha(an ascetic and sage on whose teachings Buddhism was founded), and its first chief priest was Musō Soseki. Construction was completed in 1345. As a temple related to both the Ashikaga family and Emperor Go-Daigo, the temple is held in high esteem, and is ranked number one among Kyoto’s so-called Five Mountains. In 1994, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as part of the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto”.
A Bugaku performance at the annual Hō-Taikō Hanami Gyōretsu (Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s cherry blossom viewing parade - 豊太閤花見行列) at Daigo-ji temple (醍醐寺) in Kyoto. The title of the dance is Ranryō-ō (The King of Lanling) and is performed to ward off evil accompanied by gagaku music.