Antique Japanese Sword Katana Attributed to Tomoshige with NTHK Kanteisho Certificate
This blade is attributed to Fujishima Tomoshige (藤島友重), whose maker’s name lasted several generations from the early Nanboku period to the end of the Edo period (Early 14th-Late 19th century).
According to NTHK, which appraised this blade, it was made during the Eisho era (1504-1521: Late Muromachi Period). Based on available records, the fifth-gen Tomoshige was active at this time. When this blade was forged, there were many rivalries and wars between regional feudal lords to expand their land or gain political control. This time is called Sengoku Jidai.
The generations of Tomoshige forged blades in Kaga domain (Today’s Ishikawa prefecture). It is said that the first-gen Tomoshige was an apprentice of Rai Kunitoshi, one of the most famous swordsmiths in Yamashiro province (Today’s Kyoto) during the late Kamakura-early Nanbokucho period (Late 13th-early 14th century). And the first-gen Tomoshige settled in Kaga domain and founded the school.
In the late Muromachi period, Maeda clan started to control Kaga domain. Maeda clan was originally a retainer of the Oda family, who ruled Owari province. (today’s Nagoya area in Aichi prefecture).
The Maeda clan was one of the most influential families in Samurai history. The first head of the Maeda clan was Toshie Maeda. He climbed the social ladder of Samurai society and became the feudal lord of Kaga Province(today’s Ishikawa prefecture). He had a vast rice fief that fed 100 million grown-up adults, which is called Hyakuman Goku. Toshie Maeda had a close tie with Oda Nobunaga and Hideyoshi Toyotomi. Since Tomoshige lived in this domain, he likely served the Maeda clan.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 60.6 cm( 23.8 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 1.3 cm (0.51 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 entire surface of this Fuchi Kashira is decorated with the Karakusa (唐草, arabesque) pattern. It is a design 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.
On the Fuchi part, you would find that the same shape marks are designed. This golden crest is probably a family crest, and is categorized in the Kiku Bishi (菊菱) pattern. It is shaped like a Kiku (菊, chrysanthemum) is placed in a Hishi (菱, rhombus) shape. 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). Chrysanthemum symbolizes fall, and people have greatly appreciated it since ancient times. As its petals form radially, the chrysanthemum has been likened to the sun. That is why this flower pattern is treated as the symbol of perpetual youth and longevity or good health.
There is a butterfly on the Kashira part. A larva becomes a chrysalis, and it grows up into a butterfly. As this insect changes its looks, it symbolizes reborn; therefore, Samurais loved the butterfly pattern. Also, as butterflies make a couple on good terms, this motif represents happy marriage.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Autumn flowers and insects are the motifs of this Menuki. The golden paint is applied to it, and its coloring remains in good condition. We guess this insect is cricket, and plants are chrysanthemums and, Japanese bellflowers, yellow patrinias. The Japanese bellflower is one of the seven flowers of autumn. From this work, you would feel the atmosphere of this season.
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 an oval shape with a bulging bottom like an egg. The openwork creates a pattern in which thin lines are intricately intertwined, creating a mesh-like pattern. Small flowers designed on this Tsuba are probably Japanese apricot blossoms. This flower begins to bloom in winter, in the season 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, gracefully branched tree, and compose many poems. Since it comes out in the cold season, it symbolizes the power of perseverance and vitality.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NTHK Kanteisho Certificate for the blade
NTHK, also known as NPO Nihon Touken Hozon Kai, is the oldest organization for sword authentication of Japanese swords in modern times. It was established in 1910 during the post-Samurai era. They authenticated the blade on Aug. 6th, the 7th year of Heisei (1995). 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 : Tokyo 260736
The Board of Education in Tokyo 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.
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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.