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Updated: 21 Jul 2024

Ep.9 Perfect Guide to Reading the NBTHK/NTHK Certificate

As you may know, our shop is handling authentic Japanese swords most of which come with the certificate.
NBTHK(Nihon Bijutsu Tohken Hozon Kyoukai) and NTHK(Nihon Tohken Hozon Kai) have appraised the traditional Japanese swords for many decades.

This time, we would like to show you how to read the NBTHK/NTHK certificate. Hopefully, this one helps you get more specific when choosing your Japanese sword.

I. NBTHK (Nihon Bijutsu Tohken Hozon Kyoukai) Certificate

As mentioned in the 4th episode(If you haven’t read the article: Ep.4 ), NBTHK is currently the leading organization for Japanese sword appraisal.

Here is the NBTHK certificate;

①:Title; Kanteisho
Title of the document, which means “Certificate” in Japanese.
NBTHK certificate should either be titled Kanteisho, Ninteisho, or Shiteisho, depending on the rank and when the document was issued.

②: Category/Signature/Length
It reads, ” 1. Katana, Mei(Signature) Hyo-Zaemon Fujiwara Yoshinobu From Shinano – Made in August, Genji 1st. Length: 73.6cm(29.0 inches)”.

③: Statement
Words of approval on the authenticity and rarity of the sword.

④: Issue date/Name of Organization
This means that the document was issued on February 19th, *Reiwa 2nd by NBTHK.
*Reiwa 2nd is 2020 in Julian’s calendar. Japan has another calendar based on the reign of the Japanese emperor.

⑤: Reference Number/Matching Stamp

The reference number is given randomly to prevent the certificate’s piracy.
The other half of the matching stamp is printed on the profile kept by NBTHK.

⑥: Ranking/Ranking Registration Number
特保(Tokuho) is short for Tokubetsu Hozon; It is the third-highest of four ranks given by NBTHK. The first and second ranks are rarely issued.

⑦: Registration Number by Board of Education
This sword has a record of registration in Saitama Pref. Board of Education on October 17th, Showa 26th (1951) as No.4773. It means that the sword had initially been registered to the organization on the given date.

NBTHK JUYO Token for sale

NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Token for sale

NBTHK Hozon Token for sale


II. NTHK(Nihon Tohken Hozon Kai) Certificate
As opposed to the NBTHK certificate, the NTHK Certificate offers a more elaborate explanation of the sword’s features. This is what it looks like.

①: Title;Kanteisho
Title of the document, which means “Certificate” in Japanese.
The NTHK certificate should either be titled Kanteisho, Shinteisho, or Yushuto, depending on the ratings and when the document was issued.

②: Category; Katana

③: Place of Origin/Artist
It reads as “Den Noshu Wakasanokami Ujifusa”.
It means that the sword is a work made in Noshu by the swordsmith called Wakasanokami Ujifusa.

④: Status/Length

The top two Kanji say, “Proved Authentic.”
Length: About 70cm(27.6inches)

⑤: Date of Issue
March 15th, Reiwa 2nd(2020)

⑥: Name of Organization/Representative

It says, “Non-Profitable Legal Corp, Nihon Tohken Hozon Kai. Principle Joji Miyano”

Cf) NTHK is registered as a Non-Profitable Organization(NPO) by the government.

Joji Miyano is the current principle of NTHK. It means that the document was issued by the principle himself.

1.Reference Number

2.Mei-Bun: Signature
It says, “Oh-Suriage Mumei,” which means that this sword was remade from Tachi into Katana, and there is no signature.

3.Tsukuri-Komi: Details
Oohira-Tsukuri – means that
Iori-Mune – means that the blade’s figure resembles a house with a triangle rooftop.


It says, “Asai Notare Midare,” which means the waves are thin and have round carves like mountains.

It says, “Masskugu ni komaru ni kaeru,” which means that the blade’s tip slightly veers horizontally.

7.Cho-Koku; Sculpture

It refers to Nakago(Blade’s bottom).

“Made around the Genki period(1570-1573).”

10.Stamps of Appraisers

These appraisers are official members of NTHK.


That is all about how to read the NBTHK/NTHK certificate.

We strive to present to you the purest joy and wholesomeness of owning the Japanese sword. It is our pleasure to introduce you to the culture, so please feel free to ask us if there is anything that does not make sense to you. Thank you for reading.


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