Antique Japanese Sword Daisho attributed to Aizu Masanaga and Kunishige with NTHK Kanteisho Certificate
According to its NTHK’s appraisal, this blade was made by Aizu Masanaga (会津政長), who was especially active during the Kanbun-Enpo era (1661-1681). Based on the inscription on the tang, it was signed in the 5th year of the Enpo era (1677). The maker’s name, Masanaga, lasted a few generations from the early Edo period(1624-). And we believe the attribution was given to the second-gen Masanaga.
The first-gen Masanaga was born in Iyo province (Today’s Ehime prefecture) as the son of Miyoshi Nagakuni. Miyoshi Nagakuni initially forged swords in Akino province(Hiroshima prefecture). And. Nagakuni moved to Iyo province after being hired by Kato Yoshiakira, the head of the Matsuyama clan.
The first-gen Masanaga learned sword-forging techniques from Umetada Myojyu(埋忠明寿), one of the greatest swordsmiths in the early Edo period. His father and Masanaga eventually relocated to Aizu province as the government ordered Kato clan (their employer) to move to this province. They started to forge blades in Aizu province in 1627.
This blade was attributed to the son of this first-gen Masanaga. And the second-gen Masanga was also known as a younger brother of Miyoshi Nagamichi, one of the most prominent figures of Miyoshi school. Miyoshi school played an important role in Aizu province throughout the Edo period. Another famous school in this province is Aizu Kanesada School.
According to its NTHK’s appraisal, this blade was made by Kunishige (国重) while the remaining signature is Bitchu Koku (備中国) and Kunishige part was cut due to the size adjustment (Suriage) in the past. NTHK estimates it was created during the Kanbun era (1661-1673: Early Edo period).
Kunishige belonged to Bitchu Koku Mizuta school, which had been founded by the descendants of Ko AOE Tametsugu(古青江為次) in the late Muromachi period(1530-). Tametsugu is one of the most famous swordsmiths in the late Heian period-early Kamakura period(Late 12C-Early 13C). One of his works is designated as a national treasure of Japan.
AOE(青江) is the name of the school Tametsugu belonged to. It was located in Kurashiki city, Okayama prefecture today. AOE school was prosperous during the Kamakura-Nanbokucho era(-Late 12C-Late 14C), but it almost disappeared in the Muromachi period. However, because of the descendants of Tametsugu, the Ko AOE-style sword became popular again and revitalized the school by changing its name to Bitchu Koku Mizuta school.
The Bitchu Koku Mizuta school flourished from 1530-1700 (The end of the Sengoku period to the mid-Edo period) in today’s Okayama prefecture. There were about 60 swordsmiths who belonged to Mizuta school and Kunishige were the most prestigious smith name only selected sword makers were allowed to use in this school. During the Edo period, many Kunishige swordsmiths moved to other parts of Japan.
*Please keep in mind that there is a tiny chip on the tip of the Wakizashi blade. We will have this part polished by a professional Japanese sword polisher before shipping the Daisho to you. It might take an additional month for this polishing.
■What is Daisho?
Daisho is a pair of two Japanese swords Samurai carried. During the Edo period, having Daisho in public places was considered social status for Samurai. Furthermore, Samurai were required to wear them under the law back then. Daisho is written as 大=Big and 小=Small. Dai part means Katana, and Sho part means Wakizashi.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 69.2 cm (27.2 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 1.6 cm (0.63 inches)
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：47.8 cm (18.8 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：0.8 cm (0.31 inches)
The crystalline structure which forms along the cutting edge of a blade as a result of the hardening process
visible steel surface pattern created by folding and hammering during forging process
Nakago：Nakago is the tang of the Japanese sword.
Japanese swordsmiths left the black rust on the tang because it prevents red rust while the tang is in its handle. And the discoloration of the tang was created over time, and it is a great indicator for a Japanese sword specialist to estimate when the sword was forged.
Koshirae: Koshirae is the mounting of the Japanese sword. There are several parts that consist of Koshirae such as Saya(Sabbard), Tsuka( Handle), Tsuba(Handguard).
Fuchi-Kashira：A pair of matching sword fittings that cover the upper and bottom parts of its sword hilt.
You would find some people engraved on each Fuchi Kashira. Both Fuchi Kashiras have similar looks, while they have different Mei (銘, engraved inscription). Based on the Mei, Katana’s Fuchi Kashira was made by Kikuchi Yoshimitsu (菊池 慶光*estimated), and the Wakizashi’s Fuchi Kashira was made by Hurukawa Jōchin (古川 常珍). Hurukawa Jōchin was a son of Hurukawa Genchin. He did well as a metalworker in the middle of the Edo period.
About the design, we believe members of Shichifukujin (七福神, the Seven Gods of Good Fortune) are the motifs of these Fuchi Kashiras. Please focus on the Kashira parts. On the Katana’s Kashira, this man is Hoteison (布袋尊). Hotei is a legendary priest in ancient China. According to a theory, Hotei is the incarnation of Miroku Bosatsu (弥勒菩薩, the Bodhisattva Maitreya). He has an obese body and brings a big sack that is full of treasures. He was always in contact with people with a smile and gave his prizes to religious people. Due to his mild-mannered attitude, he was surrounded by children and became a topic of people’s conversations. And then, he was started to be treated as a theme in paintings or poetry. Still today, he is gathering people’s faith as the symbol of happiness, happy marriage, and prosperity for future generations.
On the other hand, we could find the figure of an older adult with a vertically elongated head on the Wakizashi’s Kashira part. This man is probably Fukurokuju (福禄寿). His name consists of three characters: Fuku (福) is happiness, Roku (禄), which indicates his status, and Ju (壽), which means one’s longevity. Fukurokuju has a long head, a long beard, and large earlobes and is said to be 1,000 years old. It has the virtue of longevity and happiness. He is characterized by his appearance with a staff with a jewel in his left hand and a scroll in his right hand. Cranes and turtles accompany him. In this way, we think these Fuchi Kashiras were designed with auspicious existences.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
The same as Fuchi Kashiras, these Menukis have pretty similar designs. In both of them, the motif is a combination of birds and Sasa (笹, bamboo grass) leaves. There is a popular pattern that combines these motifs: Sasa ni Suzume (笹に雀). Suzume (雀, sparrow) is a familiar bird in Japanese people’s lives since ancient times. Bamboo is a sacred tree where gods dwell, and cute sparrows are symbols of family safety that “peck out misfortune.” Among various types of sparrow patterns, the Fukura Suzume (ふくら雀) is especially favored. Fukura Suzume, which has plump feathers in the cold season, is also called “福良雀” or “福来雀” and is considered a lucky charm that brings good luck.
Tsuba and Habaki：Tsuba is the handguard for the Japanese Sword and Habaki is the equipment to make the blade not touch its scabbard inside. It prevents the blade from getting rusty and chipped.
These Tsubas have the same appearances. These are probably made of iron, and we could find traces of gold or brass coloring here and there.
The Kikuka-Gata Tsuba (菊花形鐔) is designed based on the shape of a Kiku (菊, chrysanthemum). A long time ago, this flower was used as a medicine for obtaining a long life in the continent, and it was brought to Japan with this thought in the Nara period (648-781). The chrysanthemum symbolizes autumn, and people have greatly appreciated it since ancient times. The chrysanthemum has been likened to the sun as its petals form radially. That is why this flower pattern is treated as the symbol of perpetual youth and longevity or good health.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
If you like to have a Kozuka for the Saya for the Wakizashi, please feel free to contact us.
Authentication Paper：NTHK-NPO Kanteisho Certificate for Katana, Wakizashi
NTHK, also known as NPO Nihon Touken Hozon Kai, is the oldest organization for sword authentication of Japanese swords in modern times. It was established in 1889 during the post-Samurai era. They authenticated the Katana and Wakizashi blades on July 26th in the 5th year of Reiwa (2023). The purchaser will receive these original certificates as well. We can also translate what is written into English and make a PDF file for your record if you request.
Registration Number : Tokyo 127632-127633
The Board of Education in Tokyo prefecture issued a registration paper for the Katana and Wakizashi blade. It is called Jyu Token Rui Torokusho(銃刀剣類登録証). Bunkacho(The Agency for Cultural Affairs) acknowledges a Japanese sword with this paper as a work of art.
The sword needs to be traditionally hand-forged and made of Tamahagane carbon steel to be registered in the system. With this paper, its owner in Japan can legally own an authentic Japanese sword. Based on this registration number, we will apply for its export permit.
This paper will need to be returned to the board of education when the sword is being shipped abroad, but you can receive a copy of it. An English translation of this registration paper is available on request.
Samurai Museum is located in Tokyo, Japan, exhibiting antique artifacts related to the Samurai history. Samurai Museum Shop is the place for those who are interested in Japanese culture and craftsmanship. We deal with antique Samurai swords/armor, traditional crafts made in Japan and so on.
【Japanese Sword& Export Process】
The Japanese swords we deal with are hand-forged edged swords made in Japan. It was made from the traditional carbon steel called TAMAHAGANE(玉鋼). Samurai Museum is familiar with the proper legal procedure for an antique/ authentic Japanese sword to be exported from Japan. We have sent more than 400 Japanese swords for the past three years (～2022) to amazing owners who appreciate its historical value.
Each Japanese sword is registered under the Agency for Cultural Affairs and the Board of Education in Japan. They issue a registration paper for each Japanese sword for its owner in Japan to legally possess it. The Japanese sword with its registration paper means it was traditionally hand-forged in Japan.
To legally export the sword from Japan to other countries, we will have to apply for its permit to the Agency for Cultural Affairs(Bunkacho) and return the original registration paper to the Board of Education. It normally takes around 2-4 weeks to receive this permit after submitting required documents. And we would like you to expect at least 1-1.5 months for your order to arrive at your given address after you ordered. For more detailed info, please click here.
It is allowed for residents in Japan to own authentic Japanese swords without a special license as long as they come with registration papers. Please feel free to contact us if you are a resident of Japan, whether temporarily or permanently. We will also assist you when you leave Japan and need to obtain the export permit.
We accept payment through Stripe (Credit card), PayPal, Apple Pay or ChromePay, all of which are secure payment methods. Also, you don’t need to make an account on Stripe for the checkout. If you prefer other payment method, please contact us. After confirming your payment, we will apply for an export permit. You may either pay in JPY, USD, AUD, CAD,EUR or GBP. The price is set in Japanese Yen. Prices in other currencies are automatically calculated based on the latest exchange rate.
* If the amount is above 1 million JPY, Stripe or wire transfer will be the only options for payment.
We have shipped authentic Japanese swords to the USA, UK, Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, Hong Kong and Australia. If you don’t live in these countries and like to order, please contact us first before making a purchase. We offer Free International Shipping as long as we can send antique Japanese swords by either EMS or FedEx(Canada).
We normally ship by EMS(Express Mail Service) provided by Japan Post. When we receive an order from the Canada we will use FedEx instead as EMS temporarily stops shipping from Japan to those countries due to COVID-19.
We will send you a tracking number for your order as soon as we hand it to the post office/FedEx. We will put 100 % insurance on the shipping document without any extra charge. Based on the total amount, there might be a duty tax or other fee for you to pay, depending on the countries. We use package cushioning to protect the item and put it in a PVC pipe, which is one of the most secure packages because of its durability.
It will normally takes 5-14 days for the item to arrive at your given address after we dispatch it. Time of delivery is estimated as accurately as possible by the carrier but does not take into account any delays beyond our control such as by inclement weather, post office holiday seasons.
* If you live in Australia and like to purchase an authentic Japanese sword, please click here to know the detail.
*Please keep in mind that due to the spread of COVID-19, there might be delays in shipping. If you like to know the detail about shipping, please feel free to ask us.
【How to make sure the condition】
Please keep in mind that what you are going to purchase is an antique item. We uploaded high resolution photos for you to check its condition thoroughly. If you like to see more photos with different angles, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to send them to you so that you can make informed decision. It is essential for us to know that you are happy with your choice of a sword. and we are prepared to use the best of our ability to serve you.
【How To Contact Us】
Please contact us through email, Facebook Messenger or Live Chat if you have any questions. You can find each icon on the right side of the website. Please click one of them to reach us. We will reply to you within 1-2 business days.
【The Art of Nihonto(Japanese Sword)】
Samurai’s history is a profound, eloquent legacy of ancient Japanese warriors in which millions of people worldwide are being fascinated. If you like to find out the art of Nihonto, please click here.
【A Guide to Japanese Sword Maintenance】
After acquiring an genuine Japanese sword, it is also important to know how to take good care of it. Here is the special video for you. Mr. Paul Martin, Japanese sword expert, shows you how to give proper maintenance to your sword. By mastering how to clean the Japanese sword, its aesthetic beauty will last forever.
When you purchase a Japanese sword from us, you can get a Free Japanese sword maintenance kit. It comes with four tools(Choji Oil, Uchiko Whetstone Powder, Peg remover, Oil Applicator). By watching the video instruction above , you can enjoy learning how to maintain your Japanese sword while appreciating it. If you have any difficulty assembling the sword or cleaning the blade, you can feel free to contact us.
Thank you for reading all the information on the page. If you have any difficulty choosing the right Japanese sword for you, we will be more than happy to help you find the one that speaks to you the most. Please feel free to contact us.