I'm not an expert, but it looks cast to me -- especially the kanji. All I can make out is
Resident of [somewhere or other] Provence....
No artisan's name.
And I'm wondering if that first geographic kanji is "Shin" -- all I can see is the bottom 1/3 of the kanji.
Shinano Province [modern day Nagano-ken]
If so, and it were authentic, it would be saying
Shinshū jū .... but still missing the artisan's name. Normally the convention is similar to: "Location-resident-art name-made [this]."
someone has used sandpaper and removed all of the original finish. Did this come with your wakizashi? The guard is ruined as a collectable.
LIFE'S LOSERS NEVER LEARN FROM THE ERROR OF THEIR WAYS.
I agree with what was said about being cast and also it was not a good casting job at that.
I hope you didn't pay to much for it.
Certainly is cast. I can't see this ever being installed on a Japanese sword-not even a tourist piece. Maybe the Kanji, if turned upside down, read "Made in Mexico"...Sorry, but
"Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."
Thanks for all your help, i appreciate it! I found this at a resale shop (tsuba only), spent $7.00, and took a chance.
It will make a very nice fishing sinker!
Have a good one,