Antique Japanese Sword Katana attributed to Hokke Ichijyo with NBTHK Tokubetsu Kicho Certificate
This blade is attributed to Hokke Ichijo (法華一乗) by NBTHK. Hokke is a prestigious school name that flourished during the late Kamakura-Nanbokucho era (Late 13th-14th century). The school was located in Ashida area in Bingo province (today’s Hiroshima prefecture). Hokke Ichijo was one of the most prominent figures in Hokke school and was active during the late Nanbokucho-early Muromachi period (late 14th-early 15th century).
It is said that those who lived in Ashida area were followers of the Nichiren sect, and Hokke swordsmiths including Ichijo often forged blades for the politically powerful Buddhist priests. They needed many weapons as there were many political rivalries between influential temples. They required strong weapons like swords to protect themselves. Hokke swordsmiths met their requests and made excellent quality blades.
It is believed that the school was founded by Kokubunji Sukekuni (国分寺助国) in the late Kamakura period (Approx. 1329). Sukekuni was originally from Bizen province (today’s Okayama prefecture) and belonged to Bizen Ichimonji school, one of the most prestigious schools during the Kamakura period. Sukekuni was the father of Mihara Masaie (三原正家). Masaie was the founder of Mihara school, another prestigious school in the region.
*Please keep in mind that there is a a visible black rust on the Kissaki (the tip of the blade) and the Mune (backbone of the blade). If you like to know the detailed condition of this blade, please feel free to contact us.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：65.0 cm( 25.5 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：2.1 cm( 0.82 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.
It seems this Fuchi Kashira is decorated with two plant patterns. The one is the Karakusa (唐草, arabesque) design. You would find curved lines that represent vines are drawn as if it fills the space. The Karakusa design is a pattern in which stems and leaves of vines are twined and make curves. Since ivy has a strong vitality and grows up without interruption, people regarded this design as a symbol of prosperity and longevity.
Another design is the Kiri (桐, paulownia) pattern. In this work, the outline of this pattern is drawn in a simplified form. 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. 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 then. 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 sacred plant.
Both plant motifs are colored with golden and silvery paints. Although some colorings have already faded due to aging, these colors add decorativeness to this work.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
We believe you would find flower motifs from the gaps of the Tsukamaki thread. The largest flower is the Botan (牡丹, peony). This plant is characterized by its elegant and gorgeous appearance with many layers of large petals. Peony represents happiness, wealth, nobleness, and gorgeousness. This flower pattern has been treated as a kind of good-omen motif; people regarded it as a rich harvest sign. As mentioned above, the peony is called “Botan” in Japanese. When we write this flower’s name in Japanese, its second letter means mountain hermit medicine that would give us eternal youth. Based on the meaning of this letter, the peony pattern symbolizes eternal youth and longevity.
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.
Oval-shaped Tsuba that has Kozuka and Kougai holes. Its edge is framed with a thin metal plate, and we could see several dents on this frame. These dents indicate that this plate has played a role in enhancing the decorativeness of the work. And it has also protected this Tsuba. The outside, which is divided by the outline, is carved like a wood grain pattern, and the inside has a similar design to the Fuchi Kashira.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
The Kojiri (鐺) is the metal fitting that protects the tip of a scabbard. You would find Japanese apricot blossoms. It begins to bloom in winter that snow still covers its tree, so people thought this flower tells the arrival of spring. Same as cherry blossoms, it has been appreciated for a long time in Japan. People enjoy its adorable petal shape and scent and gracefully branched trees, and they compose many poems. As it comes out in the cold season, it symbolizes the power of perseverance and vitality.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Tokubetsu Kicho Certificate for the blade
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 Nov. 1st in the 39th year of Showa (1964). They appraised it as Tokubetsu Kicho Token, an old form of the certificate. 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 : Hyogo 39728
The Board of Education in Hyogo 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, Switzerland, 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.
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