Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Echigo Koku Kanenori<br> NTHK Kanteisho Certificate
This blade was signed by Echigo Koku Kanenori (越後国兼則), who was active during the early Edo period (Early-Mid 17th century). Echigo Koku is the name of the province located in today’s Niigata prefecture.
Kanenori originally belonged to Echizen Shimosaka school located in Echizen province (today’s Fukui prefecture). The maker’s name Kanenori (兼則) lasted many generations from the early Muromachi period to the Edo period.
The first-gen Kanenori is known as the founder of San-Ami school, one of the seven most famous schools in the Mino province (Gifu prefecture). The first-gen Kanenori forged swords during the Oei era (1394-1428). There are records where swordsmiths who signed as Kanenori moved to Echigo, Echizen, and Owari to meet the demand of strong Samurai after the Edo period. This Kanenori was one of them.
Echizen Shimosaka School
It is said that the first-gen Yasutsugu was the founder of the Echizen Shimoasaka school. He was born in Shimosaka town in Shiga prefecture at the end of the Muromachi period (Late 16 century ). He built his career there until the beginning of the Keicho era(1596). However, he moved to Echizen province due to the relocation of the lord he served. He eventually was noticed and supported by Matsudaira Hideyasu, the third son of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was the founder of the Edo government.
Hideysu was the feudal lord of Echizen province during the early Edo period. With the support of Hideyasu, the first-gen Yasutsugu was able to establish the Echizen Shimosaka school. And his school’s fame became nationwide. By Hideyasu’s recommendation, the first-gen Yasutsugu became Okakaekaji for the Tokugawa shogun family, meaning that he exclusively forged swords for the Shogun family. Yasutsu was acknowledged by the first and second Tokugawa Shoguns, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and Tokugawa Hidetada.
The first-gen Yasutsugu received 康(YASU) from Tokugawa Ieyasu and changed his maker’s name. He was also allowed to inscribe the holly oak symbol(family crest of Tokugawa) on the tang. The school flourished during the Edo period and trained many skilled apprentices. We believe Kanenori mastered superb level of the craftsmanship by belonged to this school.
Echizen province was prosperous during the Edo period, being ruled by the Echizen Matsudaira clan, a direct retainer of Tokugawa clan who ruled the Edo government. Many skilled swordsmiths moved to Echizen from different regions because of high demand among Samurai who lived there. Among them, there were many renowned swordsmiths who were originally from the Mino province (Gifu prefecture). They are called Echizen Seki swordsmiths.
*Please keep in mind that there are visible Kitae Kizu and black rust on the blade. Also, there is a couple of small chips near the Kissaki (tip). If you like to see the detailed condition, please feel free to contact us.
Cutting Edge Length (Nagasa): 66.9 cm (26.3 inches)
Curvature (Sori): 1.51 cm (0.59 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.
This Fuchi Kashira and the Tsuba we will mention later, both sword mountings are decorated with the same beast motif: dragons. While some colorings have already faded due to aging, golden paint is applied to these dragons. Initially, dragons were imaginary creatures found in ancient foreign traditions and 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, the belly is the 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. The dragon was thought to reign at the top of all animals because of its odd appearance.
Tsuka and Menuki: Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
The upper side Menuki, it is challenging to judge the motif of this Menuki by seeing from the gaps of the Tsukamaki thread. On the other hand, the lower side Menuki’s model is a man who brings a bow. He seems to hold a bow in his left hand and a stick-shaped weapon in his right hand, and his expression and posture suggest that he is probably running. The upper side Menuki is only partially visible, and we now estimate its model is an Oni (鬼) being chased by a man. Oni is a monster with a human body, horns, and fangs. They are usually harmful to people. However, they are sometimes helpful existence. This Menuki might have inspired some stories or folk tales.
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.
The same as the Fuchi Kashira, this Tsuba’s design is related to the dragon motif. On this Tsuba, you would find the figures of two dragons on each side. They are arranged in a circle on the screen, as if chasing each other’s tails. Among dragon designs, there is the Ameryu/Amaryu (雨竜) motif. It is a kind of dragon who controls the rain. It is believed that an Ameryu would make rain in the proof when God is blessed. A theory says an Ameryu is the young figure of a dragon. This creature has been thought to be a small spirit who lives in forests. As mentioned above, their appearance has a similarity to a dragon. That is why they are sometimes depicted with a charming look compared to other kinds of dragons. Moreover, snake worship was common in Japan because the serpent deeply relates to the water god’s faith. It might be the reason why Japanese people love the Ameryu pattern.
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 1889 during the post-Samurai era. They authenticated the blade on January 21th in the 6th year of Reiwa (2024). 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 31594
The Board of Education in Tokyo prefecture issued a registration paper for this sword . It is called Jyu Hou Touken Rui Torokusho (銃砲刀剣類登録証). 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 700 Japanese swords for the past few years (～2024) 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 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.
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.
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.