Antique Japanese Sword Katana attributed to Asago Taima with Hozon Certificate
This blade is attributed to Asago Taima (浅古当麻), which was the name of the school active during the early Muromachi period (1394-1428). The school was originally located in Yamato province (Today’s Yamato province) but later moved to Echizen Province (Today’s Fukui prefecture). The most prominent figure in this school is Nobunaga. The first-gen Nobunaga was the founder of the school. The name Aasago Taima came from the fact that he belonged to the school called Taima and resided in the village called Asago.
There were five prestigious schools, including Taima school, during the Kamakura-early Muromachi period in Yamato province. They are called Yamato Goha(大和五派); Senjyuin(千手院), Shikkake (尻懸), Taima(当麻), Hosho(保昌) and Tegai(手掻) school. They served politically powerful monks and temples in Nara, such as Todaiji temples. They were initially forging swords for military monks who became powerful due to the government’s policy back then. Monks needed many weapons as there were many political rivalries between influential temples. They required strong weapons like swords to protect themselves. During this time, Taima school or other Yamato sword schools met the requests from monks. They also forged blades for Samurai during their heyday.
The swords forged in Yamato regions are famous for their beautiful Jigane, steel surface, and straight tempering line (Suguha). And, they invented the particular sword-forging tradition called YAMATO DEN. This blade has a beautiful Jigane with a Suguha tempering line, which shows an outstanding characteristic of the Yamato sword. The overall condition is excellent. Based on the shape of Nakago(Tang), it was shortened in the past. We assume its original length was much longer than it is now.
This blade is stored in Tachi(太刀) Koshirae. Tachi was mainly used by an armored Samurai with one hand on horseback from the Heian period (794-1185 A.D.) until the early Muromachi period. 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.
You can find the engraving of a Tsurugi (Double-edged blade) on one side right above the Nakago. This blade is Kurikaraken, which is the sword that Fudo Myo-O (不動明王, acalanātha) holds with his right hand. Fudo Myo-O is one of the objects of worship in Buddhism. According to a theory, it is the incarnation of Dainichi Nyorai (大日如来, Mahāvairocana, the principal image of esoteric Buddhism). Kurikara-ken was named after its appearance that Kurikara Ryu-O (倶利伽羅龍王, dragon) is winding around the sword. It is believed Kurikara-Ken could cut off worldly desires: Sandoku (三毒). Sandoku is the three fundamental human desires; Ton (貪, greed), Jin (瞋, anger, grudge), Chi (癡, delusion, complaint).
This blade is appraised as a Hozon Token(保存刀剣) 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, well preserved with artistic value.
*Please keep in mind that there are some visible Kizu on this blade. If you like to see more detailed images, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to take additional photos and videos.
*Please keep in mind that there is slight difference of the curvature between the blade and its Saya. Therefore, a little trick is needed for the blade to completely be inside the Saya (the decorative scabbard). We will be happy to explain what this means by taking a video.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 68.4 cm ( 26.9 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：2.8 cm (1.10 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(Scabbard), Tsuka(Handle), Tsuba(Handguard).
Fuchi-Kashira：A pair of matching sword fittings that cover the upper and bottom parts of its sword hilt.
The Kabutogane (冑金/兜金) is a metal fitting that is attached to the end of a handle. And a Sarute/Sarude (猿手) is attached to this Kabutogane. The user of a sword passed the Udenukio (腕貫緒, a cord wrapped around the wrist to prevent a sword from falling out of the hand, mainly used when riding a horse) through this ring. In addition, the Fuchi Kanamono (縁金物) is also a metal fitting attached to the handle, but on the opposite side of Kabutogane. The surface of these sword mountings are decorated with the Nanako-Ji (魚子地) technique. This process makes a uniform minimal protrusions pattern by hitting the Nanako-Ji Tagane (魚子地鏨, a chisel for this technique) on a metal surface. This decorative technique is often seen on sword mountings.
About the design, you would find two motifs are the common theme of this Katana’s Koshirae. These are the Gosan-no Kiri Mon (五三の桐紋) and Kiku Mon (菊紋). Firstly, we would focus on the Gosan-no Kiri pattern. The Kiri (桐, paulownia) pattern is generally composed of three standing straight inflorescences and three leaves. The number of flowers blooming at each inflorescence shows the ranks of this design. The Gosan-no Kiri pattern is a popular design in 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 be used by ordinary households and is widely appreciated as their family crests. According to a tradition, the 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.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
While the type of engravings is different, this Menuki’s motif is also related to chrysanthemums. Seeing from the gaps of the Tsukamaki thread, we could find small flowers and leaves. Some of them seem to be chrysanthemums. Golden and silvery paint were effectively used to make this Menuki’s ornamental look.
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.
This Tsuba has a Tachi Goshirae Tsuba (太刀拵鐔) style. The difference between Tachi Tsuba (太刀鐔) and Katana Tsuba (刀鐔) is that the top and bottom positions of the Nakago hole (茎櫃, center hole) are reversed. If you focus on the four corners, you will find a heart-mark hole is engraved at each corner. This design is the Inome (猪の目, boar’s eyes) pattern. It has been used since ancient times and is often seen in Tachi Tsubas. Some people believed the Inome pattern would bring good luck and protect people from evil spirits or fire.
The same as the Kabutogane and Fuchi Kanamono, this Tsuba is also decorated with the Gosa-no Kiri and chrysanthemum patterns. A long time ago, the chrysanthemum 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). Chrysanthemums symbolize 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.
From the Kamakura (1185-1333) period to the Warring States period (1467-1615), the chrysanthemum crest was given as a reward from the Emperor back then to the warlords who made significant contributions. For example, Ashikaga Takauji (1305-1358), who became the first Shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, cooperated with Emperor Go-Daigo (後醍醐天皇, 1288-1339) to dissolve the Kamakura Shogunate. And Takauji was given a chrysanthemum crest.
In addition, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣 秀吉, 1537-1598) was also given a chrysanthemum crest by Emperor Goyouzei. A theory says Hideyoshi was delighted and used this motif for furniture. At that time, the Emperor was regarded as God. Therefore, it was an irreplaceable honor for Samurais to receive the family crest from the Emperor. This is how the chrysanthemum pattern has a deep connection with Samurai culture.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
You could find the same Gosan-no-Kiri and chrysanthemum patterns on the metal fittings of this scabbard. The Asi Kanamono (足金物, metal fittings attached to the scabbard for hanging the Obitori), the Seme Kanamono (責金物, a metal fitting attached to the middle of the scabbard to protect the scabbard), and the Ishiduki Kanamono (石突金物, a metal fitting attached to the end of the scabbard), these metal parts are also decorated with the common motifs. Also, chrysanthemums are depicted with the Makie (蒔絵) technique. The Makie is a typical Japanese lacquer art technique developed uniquely in Japan for about 1,200 years. Firstly, it needs to draw a picture with lacquer on the surface with a thin brush. Next, sprinkle the gold powder from above to show the pattern before the lacquer hardens. This technique makes a gorgeous and elegant look to works, as seen in this scabbrad.
In addition to the beautiful value of the blade itself, we would like you also to enjoy viewing this Koshirae’s high decorativeness and good condition.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 385149)
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 March 19th in the 22th year of Heisei (2010). They appraised it as Hozon Touken, the blade worth preserving for Japanese society. 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 : Kagoshima 8563
The Board of Education in Kagoshima 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.
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 500 Japanese swords for the past three years (～2023) 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 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, 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 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.
*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.
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】
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【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.