Antique Japanese Sword Katana Attributed to Mizuta with NBTHK Hozon Certificate
This blade is attributed to Mizuta (水田), which was one of the most prestigious schools during the early Edo period (Mid-Late 17th century) in Bitchu province (Today’s Okayama prefecture). There is also an inscription of 明治辛巳夏日有本久豊応需 龍眠斎松永兼行摺上之. This means that a sword smith named Ryuminsai Matsunaga Kaneyuki shortened this blade to meet a request from Arimoto Hisatoyo in the 14th year of the Meiji era (1881), summer. This type of the signature is called Kiritsuke Mei. It is quite rare to find such a signature.
About Mizuta School
Mizuta school was 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 the swordsmith Kunishige was one of the most famous names and used by only selected sword makers. During the Edo period, many Mizuta swordsmiths moved to other parts of Japan.
There are two major groups in Mizuta swordsmiths during the Edo period. One is called Oyogo Kunishige school(大与五国重派), lead by Master Otsuki（大月）and the other is called Kono school(河野派) lead by Tameie(為家).
Okayama prefecture is located near the Chugoku Mountains, where iron sands, one of the essential materials for making Japanese swords, were abundant. Furthermore, the swordsmiths in Okayama prefecture had close access to Yoshi River, where they could find water and charcoal. This geological location contributed to the swordsmiths to forge high-quality refined blades. We presume Bichu was quite active in sword-forging from ancient times.
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.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：64.8 cm ( 25.5 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.4 cm ( 0.55 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 on purpose to prevent red rust while the tang is in its handle. And the discoloration of the tang was created over time, which 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.
A plant pattern is engraved on the entire surface of this Fuchi Kashira. The curved vines and the leaves extending from them are elegantly arranged, giving a graceful impression. We would like to categorize this design as the Karakusa (唐草, arabesque) pattern. It 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.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
A dragon wraps its elongated body around a sword, and gold-colored paint is applied to several parts. This motif is called the Kurikara Ken (倶利伽羅剣). It is said the Fudo Myo-O (不動明王, acalanātha) brings this sword. The Fudo Myo-O is a protective Buddhist god, particularly in Japanese Shingon Buddhism. This god was also known as a god of wars. According to a theory, this sword has the power to punish evils, crush worldly desires, and achieve the effects of religious training. It might have been adopted here as a design that reflects the thoughts of the owner of this sword.
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.
Aoi (葵, hollyhock)-shaped Tsuba; it got its name because the shape of its four sides resembles a hollyhock leaf. The Mimi (耳, edge) part is colored with golden paint, and this coloring adds decorativeness to this Tsuba. About the design, you would notice that this Tsuba is decorated with a plant pattern which is the same design as the Fuchi Kashira.
You would find heart mark-shaped holes at four corners. This pattern is called the Inome (猪の目) design. The Inome pattern has been used since ancient times. As its name implies, the boar’s eyes are the origin of this pattern. Some people believed the Inome design would work as an amulet to protect them from evil spirits or fire. Also, it is said it would bring good luck.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
This scabbard is decorated with crushed seashells and covered with black lacquer. We think this ornamental scabbard painting is categorized as a type of the Aogai Mijin Nuri (青貝微塵塗). It uses the Aogai (青貝, a kind of seashell). Finely crushed shells are coated with lacquer. It emits a unique blue-green color with a rainbow-colored glow. This work’s delicate brilliance is scattered on the black lacquer ground, and it seems as if it depicts a starry sky. We hope you will appreciate its elegant and gorgeous look.
Due to its high waterproof effect, lacquer has been used since ancient times in Asia. The blade of a Japanese sword is made of iron, and moisture is the greatest enemy of iron. For the purpose of carrying the blade without degrading it, people devised a method of coating the scabbard with lacquer. To prevent not only moisture but also rain and snow from penetrating the inside of the scabbard, it was necessary to apply multiple layers of lacquer. The Nurushi (塗師, lacquerers) was born precisely because advanced techniques were required to handle the complicated processes.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 379181)
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 Jan. 28th in the 20th year of Heisei(2008). They appraised it as Hozon Touken, the blade 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 : Fukuoka 102319
The Board of Education in Fukuoka 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 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, 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 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】
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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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