Antique Japanese Sword Katana attributed to Sue-Hosho with Hozon Certificate
This blade was attributed to Sue-Hosho (末保昌) by NBTHK, one of Japan’s most reputable Japanese sword appraising organizations. Hosho is the school that flourished during the late Kamakura-early Muromachi period (early14th-early 15th century).
In Japanese sword terminology, when the appraisal is given as Hosho (保昌), they are attributed to the ones made during the late Kamakura-Nanbokucho era (early-Late 14th century). And those made during the early Muromachi period are called Sue-Hosho (末保昌). Sue (末) means
“end” in Japanese.
Hosho school was founded by Sadamune (定宗) in the early 14th century in Yamato province (Today’s Nara prefecture). The prominent swordsmiths who belonged to this school were Sadayoshi(貞吉), Sadakiyo(貞清), and Sadaoki(貞興). The Hosho school was famous for creating blades with *Masame Hada, one kind of steel surface pattern that appeared on the Japanese sword.
There were five prestigious schools, including Hosho 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, Hosho 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.
Masame (柾目) means straight grain in Japanese. Masame Hada is the Japanese sword terminology for the Hada (steel surface pattern of the Japanese sword) that looks like straight grain when one cuts a tree in half. This kind of Hada is often seen in the works of Yamato Den swordsmiths like the Hoshou school. And it usually is combined with Itame Hada, another grain pattern that looks like wood-grain seen in the Japanese sword. You can see the mixture of Masame/Itame Hada from this blade.
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 a couple of visible Kitae Kizu on this blade. If you like to see the detail, please feel free to contact us.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 70.6 cm ( 27.8 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.66 cm (0.65 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.
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.
This Fuchi Kashira depicts a dragon running through rough waves. On the Kashira part, the wave pattern on the surface of the sea is engraved in an abstract design. And the plants are also sculpted to express the scenery of the waterside. Golden paint is effectively applied to some parts. In Japan, there is a belief that worships the dragon as a water god. Therefore, it is understandable that a combination of dragons and water (waves in this case) was incorporated into a design of sword mountings.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
From the gaps in the Tsukamaki thread, we think this Menuki’s motif is the Karajishi (唐獅子), especially due to its curly hair. It seems the entire surface was initially colored with golden paint. The Shishi (獅子) means a lion in Japanese, and the Karajishi is a lion brought from the continent to Japan in the Toh period (唐, Tang dynasty, 618-907). The Karajishi typically has curly hair for its head, neck, body, and tail, as you see in this work. In Buddhism, the Karajishi is regarded as a symbol of wisdom, and Monju Bosatu (文殊菩薩, Manjushri Bodhisattva) rides lions. According to a theory, the Karajishi is the origin of Komainu (狛犬, stone guardian dogs that exorcize evil spirits). It shows that this beast motif has been familiar to Japanese people since ancient times.
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 oval-shaped Tsuba has a dazzling appearance due to its design and color. The thin metal plate is attached to its edge and adds decorativeness to this work. It also has practicality, such as preventing the wear of the edge part. Also, it prevents the wear and tear of the Kimono if the edge damages it by touching the cloth.
The theme of this Tsuba is the same as the Fuchi Kashira. Both the front and back sides are connected to form a single image, depicting a single dragon swimming in the sea (or this dragon seems to be flying over the sea).
Initially, the dragon was an imaginary creature found in ancient foreign traditions or myths. Furthermore, it is regarded as a symbolic beast of auspicious signs. Its body is likened to nine animals: antlers are deer, the head is a camel, eyes are demons, the neck is a snake, belly is Mizuchi (蛟, a mythical animal in Japan that looks like a snake and has a horn and four legs), scales are fish, claws are falcons, palms are tigers, and ears are cows. It was thought that the dragon would reign at the top of all animals because of its odd-looking appearance.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 3027535)
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 Dec 3rd in the 3th year of Reiwa (2021). 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 : Kanagawa 685
The Board of Education in Kanagawa 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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