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Updated: 13 Jun 2024

Antique Japanese Sword Katana attributed to Aoe


DELIVERY TIME: Approx. 1-1.5 months
*We ship from Tokyo, Japan. There might be delay in shipment depending on countries.

USA, Canada, Mexico, Germany , Belgium, France, Finland, Hong Kong, Australia
*Please contact us prior to purchase if your country isn’t listed.

INCLUDED: NBTHK JUYO TOKEN Certificate, Shirasaya Case, Koshirae Case, Traditional Sword Carrying Case, Sword Maintenance Kit, Full Exportation Support

Category Katana (KOTO)
Age Late Kamakura-early Nanbokucho period
Swordsmith attributed to Aoe (青江: Unsigned)
Certificate NBTHK JUYO TOKEN Certificate
Location Bitchu province (Today’s Bitchu prefecture)
Blade Size Cutting Edge Length: 65.6 cm (25.8 inches)
Curvature: 1.6 cm (0.63 inches)

More photos& videos available on request. Please feel free to contact us. 

In stock

Antique Japanese Sword Katana attributed to Aoe with NBTHK JUYO TOKEN Certificate



 This blade is attributed to Aoe (青江) during the late Kamakura-early Nanbokucho period. Aoe school was founded by Yasutsugu (安次) during the late Heian period (Early 12th century), and it was located in today’s Kurashiki town, Okayama prefecture. In Bitchu province, there were two prestigious schools during that time. One is Aoe school, and the other is Seno school, established by Noritaka (則高). Aoe school was prosperous from the late Heian to the late Nanbokucho period. Aoe school is divided into three categories in Japanese sword terminology depending on the period. When the blade is from the late Heian-mid Kamakura period, it is called *Ko-Aoe (Old Mihara). It is called Chu Aoe (Middle Aoe) for those forged in the mid Kamakura-early Nanbokucho period. Finally, Sue-Aoe (Late Aoe) is used for the late Nanbokucho period or later. 

 One of the most famous figures in Aoe school is Moritsugu, who trained Sadatsugu, Tsuguie, and Tsunetsugu. These three swordsmiths were famous for Gobankaji (御番鍛冶). Gobankaji is a unique system created by the retired emperor Go-Toba (後鳥羽上皇), who was enthusiastic about the Japanese sword-forging. He summoned twelve of the finest swordsmiths nationwide, and one swordsmith forged a blade for the emperor each month. 

 Bitchu is located near the Chugoku Mountains, where iron sands, one of the essential materials for making Japanese swords, were abundant. Furthermore, BIZEN swordsmiths had close access to the Takahashi River, where they could find water and charcoal. This geological location contributed to the swordsmiths forging high-quality refined blades.

 When Aoe school flourished in the Nanbokucho period, Japan was tumultuous because the imperial court was split into two sides(south and north). There were many conflicts, and many Samurai were deployed. The Aoe school must have dedicated itself to forging high-quality blades for those Samurai who fought in battles. It is said that they were land owners and Samurai as well. They served the southern imperial court, which ended up losing the battle against the northern imperial court. After the southern side was lost, the school’s property was ended. However, the descendants of a member of Aoe school established another school called Mizuta school in the Muromachi period, and lasted during the Edo period.


Tachi Koshirae

 Tachi was originally worn by high-class court novels that belonged to the imperial court. It mainly used by an armored Samurai with one hand on horseback from the Heian period (794-1185 A.D.) until the early Muromachi period later. TACHI was suspended loosely on the left waist with its edge facing the ground so that you could draw it faster to cut down soldiers on the ground. Because of its gorgeous looking, having a Tachi-style sword mounting became a social status among Samurai.


 This blade is appraised as a JUYO TOKEN (重要刀剣) issued by NBTHK (Nihon Bijutsu Touken Hozon Kyokai: 日本美術刀剣保存協会). This authentication paper was only given to authentic Japanese swords, exceptionally well preserved and of high quality with artistic value. JUYO is one rank higher than Tokubetsu Hozon. To be eligible for a Juyo Token, it needs to be appraised as a Tokubetsu Hozon Token first. It is extremely rare for an antique Japanese sword to be appraised as JUYO TOKEN, and it is highly desirable among Japanese sword collectors.


*Please keep in mind that there are a couple of noticeable Kitae Kizu on this blade. If you like to see the detailed condition, please feel free to contact us.


【 Blade】
Cutting Edge Length (Nagasa): 65.6 cm (25.8 inches)
Curvature (Sori): 1.6 cm (0.63 inches)

The crystalline structure which forms along the cutting edge of a blade as a result of the hardening process.
Jimon (Jihada):
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 (Scabbard), Tsuka (Handle), Tsuba (Handguard).

Fuchi-Kashira: A pair of matching sword fittings that cover the upper and bottom parts of its sword hilt.

Tsuka and Menuki: Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.

 Dragonfly is the theme of this Menki. Dragonflies have been inhabited in Japan for a long time. Since they prey quickly, their heroic figure was sometimes the object of belief. The dragonfly was called the Kachimushi (勝ち虫, winning insect) during the Warring States period because of its fearless character. Dragonflies fly around fast to catch pests, moving only forward, not backward. Therefore, people thought the behaviors of this insect showed the spirit of Futaiten (不退転); it is a state of mind or a state in which a person has some conviction and does not give in to difficulties. It is very persuasive that Samurai warriors cherished this design as an auspicious motif because of the spirit that Samurai should be prepared for the battlefields. Not only for sword mountings, dragonfly patterns were also incorporated into various items such as helmets, armor, battle coats, etcetera.
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.

 Various family crests are designed on this Tsuba. One of them is The Suishi Mon (水車紋). The Suisha (水車, waterwheel) has also been used as a design. The Suisha Mon (水車紋) is a wheel-shaped pattern in which several ladles are attached to the ring. The waterwheel was developed as a familiar tool for daily life and was often used as a design for the Kosodes (小袖, a kind of traditional Japanese costume) in the Edo period. The Tsuchi (槌, hammer), which is similar to the Hishaku (柄杓, ladle), began to be drawn in the early Edo period. The waterwheel on which the hammers are drawn is called the Tsuchi Guruma (槌車). Since the hammer is a tool for hitting stakes, and “hit” is said Utsu (打つ) in Japanese, it is likened to the figure of Samurai hitting an enemy. Hitting the enemy is expressed as Teki-Wo Utsu (敵を討つ) in Japanese.

KougaiKougai is the equipment for Samurai to arrange or fix his hair style.

 The Kiri (桐) pattern is generally composed of three standing straight inflorescences and three leaves. The number of flowers that are blooming at each inflorescence means the ranks of this design. It is also famous that one of the most popular Samurais in Japan: Toyotomi Hideyoshi used the Kiri pattern for his family crest. According to a theory, Hideyoshi used Omodaka (沢瀉, arrowhead) pattern as his family crest. However, Oda Nobunaga, a well-known military commander in the Warring States period, permitted Hideyoshi to use Kiri design. This plant pattern was once used by the imperial family and national leaders of the time. Today, this plant pattern is used as the crest of the Japanese Government.

 Gosan-no-Kiri Monyou (五三の桐文様) is a popular design that the paulownia motif is used. This pattern was once used by the imperial family and people in authority at that time. Today, it is permitted to use by ordinary households and is appreciated as their family crests. According to a tradition, Houou (鳳凰, Fenghuang, a kind of sacred beast) rests its wings at the paulownia tree; therefore, it has come to be regarded as a holy plant.


Saya: Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.  

Authentication Paper: NBTHK JUYO TOKEN Certificate for the blade (No. 11123)

  NBTHK, also known as Nihon Bijutsu Touken Hozon Kyokai (the Society for the Preservation of the Japan Art Sword), is one of the oldest Japanese sword appraising organizations in modern-day Japan. They authenticated the blade on Oct 11th in the 13th year of Heisei (2001). They appraised it as JUYO TOKEN, the blade exceptionally worth preserving for Japanese society. The purchaser will receive this original certificate as well. We can also translate what is written into English and make a PDF file for your record if you request.


Registration Number: Tochigi 48809
  The Board of Education in Tochigi prefecture issued a registration paper for this sword. 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.

【About us】
 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 700 Japanese swords for the past few years (~2024) 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.

【Payment Method】
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 CHF 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, Canada, Mexico, Germany , Belgium, France, Finland, Hong Kong, 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 EMS. 

 We normally ship by EMS(Express Mail Service) provided by Japan Post. We will send you a tracking number for your order as soon as we hand it to the post office. 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.

* If you live in the UK and like to purchase an authentic Japanese sword, please contact us first and click here to know the detail.

 Here is one of the reviews we received from a customer who purchased an authentic Japanese sword from us. For more reviews, please click here.
“My experience overall with the whole process was wonderful. I had many questions about the history and process to purchase these treasures. All my questions were answered very timely and complete. The staff is very knowledgeable and very well versed if any questions do arise.”

【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.


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