Antique Japanese Sword Katana Kiritsuke Mei Hyoshinshi Soushu Jyu Sukehiro with NBTHK Hozon Certificate
This blade has an inscription on the tang, saying that Hyoshinshi (氷心子) on one side and Soshu Jyu Sukehiro (相州住助広）on the other side. According to NBTHK that appraised this blade, these signature are Kiritsuke Mei. This means that Hyoshinshi, also known as Hyoshinshi Hideyo (氷心子秀世) was ordered by someone to do Suriage (shortening the blade) . And, the original signature was cut due to this act. Therefore, Hideyo engraved the name of the swordsmith who originally signed this blade. Both sides of the singatures were made by Hideyo. We would like to explain Hyoshinshi Hideyo and Soushu Jyu Sukehiro below.
About Hyoshinshi Hideyo
Hideyo’s birthname was Tamura Gunpei. He originally learned sword-forging techniques from the Ishido Unju Korekazu, also known as the 7th-gen Ishido Korekazu. Later on, he became an apprentice of Suishinshi Masahide (水心子正秀). Hideyo was active during 1818-1848. Korekazu and Masahide are two of the most famous swordsmiths at the end of the Edo period. He resided in Azabu town, Edo city. And he eventually became the son-in-law of Masahide. And Hideyo received the Hyoshinshi title. It is said that Hideyo often did a Daisaku for his master at the end of Masahide’s career. Daisaku is a regular act where an apprentice or a child of the swordsmith signed his master’s name with his master’s permission or forged a blade on behalf of the master. That means that his master highly acknowledged Hideyo’s craftsmanship.
About Soushu Jyu Sukehiro
Soushu Jyu Sukehiro is a swordsmith, who was active during the late Muromachi period in Soshu reigion (Today’s Kanagawa prefecture). Sukehiro forged blades with Soshu tradition, one of the five Japanese sword-forging traditions.
Shoshu Den was born in the middle of the Kamakura period. Back then, the Yamato and Yamashiro traditions were highly developed, and there were a few renowned swordsmiths from those regions. However, the sword-forging practice was in its infancy in the Kanto area, where the Soshu region was located.
At the beginning of the Kamakura government, which was established in 1185, the first Shogun, Minamoto Yoritomo, prioritized making a lot of rules to have its political stability. And he couldn’t afford to hire swordsmiths within the same region or train them. Therefore, the Kamakura government originally ordered weapons to the swordsmiths in the other areas, such as Yamato and Yamashiro.
But, since the government was established, the demand for weapons increased exponentially in the government, and they had to figure out how to meet those demands from Samurai who served Kamakura shogunate. Then, the 5th head of the Shogun, Hojo Tokiyori, invited two renowned swordsmiths from other parts of Japan. They were Awataguchi Kunitsuna from Yamashiro province and Bizen Saburo Kunimune from Bizen province. And the 7th-gen Shogun Koreyasu Shino also invited Fukuoka Ichimonji Sukezane from Bizen province.
It is said that those three swordsmiths played an essential role in creating the Soshu Den and making the foundation of the Soshu Den. Also another famous figure in the Soshu den is Intou Kunimitsu, an adopted son of Awataguchi Knitsuna. And Kunimitsu passed his excellent craftsmanship to Yukimitsu, his apprentice. And Masamune, one of the most famous swordsmiths in Japanese history, was an apprentice of Yukimitsu. And Masamune was the one that brought Shoshuden to nationwide fame. The tradition Masamune completed became an example of other swordsmiths who learned Soshu Den. Also, Soshu Den influenced many renowned swordsmiths during the Koto- Shinto era. One of examples is Inoue Shinkai from Osaka and Suishinshi Masahide from Edo.
This blade is appraised as a Hozon Touken (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 and high quality with artistic value.
*Please keep in mind that there are a few noticeable Kitae kizu and black rust on on this blade. If you like to know more details, please feel free to contact us.
Cutting Edge Length (Nagasa): 64.1 cm ( 25.2 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 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 Fuchi and Kashira parts have different designs. On the Fuchi part, we could find some tools that seem to be feather brooms with short handles are designed. Considering that these motifs are engraved here as a part of a Japanese sword’s decoration, these might represent tools related to the Samurai. One of the possibility is the Saihai (采配), a tool made by attaching strips of cloth or paper to the end of a stick so that it could be seen from a distance. Saihais were generally made of paper or yak tail hair.
This item began to be used around the end of the Muromachi period (室町時代, 1336-1573) and is also written as 采幣, 再拝, or 采 in Japanese. This item initially comes from the Sai (旄), a tool used to call a tamed falcon, and its name influenced the name of Saihai. Those who could use a Saihai were limited to the commander of the Ashigaru (足軽, foot soldier) or above or Samurai warriors who had notable military exploits. Being allowed to possess this tool meant commanding a unit, and it was a convenient tool. At the same time, it also had a strong meaning of showing the rank and authority of a military commander. In an actual battle, the movement of the troops was controlled in detail by swinging the Saihai, such as using it as a signal to advance. The signal from this tool differs depending on each military commander, and there is no set pattern. Therefore, it was necessary for the soldiers who received the order to understand the content of the signal perfectly. A theory says that warlords chose their Saihais according to their preferences in the Warring States period. However, in the Edo period, when battles were abolished, this tool became more meaningful than ever as a symbol of authority. The Tokugawa (徳川) family, who ruled the Edo Shogunate, restricted the ownership of these tools based on social status.
Tsuka and Menuki: Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
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.
It seems golden paint (probably gold or brass inlay) was initially applied to this Tsuba, while most of them have faded due to aging. We could faintly spot the outlines of some geometric shapes. For example, you would find the outline of a pattern that seems rhombuses arranged vertically. We think it shows a part of the Hishi Gata (菱形, rhombus) pattern. And we estimate the design which is engraved here is the Sankai Bishi (三階菱). It is known that the Ogasawara (小笠原) family used this mark.
This family was a clan of the Takeda (武田) family. The Takeda family used the Takeda Bishi (武田菱) pattern; it shows the relationship between these families. Branch families of the Takeda family used the Hishi pattern for their family crests; however, they had considered the head of the Takeda family. So, they changed the Hishi pattern. This Sankai Bishi pattern might have been one of these examples. We are unsure whether one of the former owners of this sword was related to the Takeda family. Please note that it is just a possibility. In any case, we hope you enjoyed this description.
Saya: Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
The Saya is coated with stingray skin.
Authentication Paper: NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No.3026271)
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 May 24th in the third year of Reiwa (2021). 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: Tokyo 319425
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.
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.”
【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 take 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】
Please contact us through email, Facebook Messenger or Live Chat if you have any questions. You can find each icon on the right side of the website. Please click one of them to reach us. We will reply to you within 1-2 business days.
【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 a 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.