Goto Ichijo when he worked in iron tended to use the name Hakuo (伯応).
Iron is not one of the traditional materials of the Goto family and it seems he tried to keep his work separated in this manner. This tsuba was made at the age of 75 (inscription is on the other side).
Markus Sesko says that that the literal meaning is acting as an older brother, or a leader, with the implication that it was breaking new territory for the Goto house.
He used another inscription on these Hakuo pieces from time to time which is Totsu-sanjin (凸凹山人) and has the meaning “Hermit of Unevenness.” It leaves one with a feeling that in spite of his extraordinary skill, he maintained a feeling of humility and constantly explored new ground.
I really have no words for describing the beauty of this tsuba, it escapes me.