Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Enju Kadokuni with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Kikuchi Jyu Kadokuni (菊池住門國). NBTHK certificate mentions it is categorized as Sue-Enju, meaning the blade was made during the early-mid Muromachi period. (Mid-15th century). Kikuchi Jyu signifies that Kadokuni resided in Kikuchi city in Higo province (today’s Kumamoto prefecture) when he forged this blade. The back of the tang says it was made in August, an auspicious day.
He belonged to the school named Enjyu (延寿) school. Its founder was Enjyu Kunimura (延寿国村).
Enju School and Its Founder (Enju Kunimura)
Enju(延寿) is the prestigious school name that especially flourished during the late Kamakura period-Nanbokucho period(Early-Late 14th century). Enju school was founded by Kunimura(国村), who is said to have been the grandson of Rai Kuniyuki, one of the most famous swordsmiths from Yamashiro province(Today’s Kyoto prefecture).
Kunimura and his apprentices moved from Kyoto to Higo province(Today’s Kumamoto prefecture on Kyushu island) after being invited by the Kikuchi clan, who had an influential power in that region. It is said that the 10th head of the Kikuchi clan, Kikuchi Takefusa(菊池武房), had to find skilled swordsmiths who could forge strong swords to combat the Mongolian army. Back then, Japan was targeted by the Mongolian emperor, and Kyushu island was where the battle occurred twice(1274 and 1281). Kikuchi Takefusa brought Kunimura and his apprentices from Kyoto to prepare for the second attack from the Mongols. Since then, Kunimura and his sons served as Okakaekaji for this clan, exclusively forging swords for the Kikuchi clan, which ruled the Higo province back then. All the swordsmiths from the Enju school used the letter “国” (Kuni) for their maker’s name, such as Kadokuni.
The descendant of this school founded the famous sword school named Dotanuki(同田貫). And there are descendants of the Enju school’s swordsmiths throughout the Edo period. That means Enjyu school has over 500 years of its history. Enju Kadokuni also kept the tradition of the sword-forging alive in Higo province during the Muromachi period.
The name “Enjyu” is written as 延寿 in Japanese. If you translate the word literally, it means extending life span, which was construed as good luck among feudal lords. Therefore, swords were presented among Samurai as good gifts back then.
Enju swordsmiths active during the Kamakura-Nanbokucho period are called simply Enju, while those who forged blades during the Muromachi period are called Sue-Enju. Kadokuni is categorized as a Sue-Enju swordsmith.
It is appraised as a Tokubetsu Hozon Token(特別保存刀剣) 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, especially well preserved and high quality with artistic value.
*Please keep in mind that there is a relatively noticeable Kitae Ware on the Shinogi part of the blade. If you like to make sure of its condition, please feel free to contact us.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：69.9 cm(27.5 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 1.8 cm( 0.7 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.
Waves and waterwheels are designed for this Fuchi Kashira. Gold is applied to these waterwheels and waterdrops. This Fuchi Kashira depicts the scenery of people’s lives. The waterwheel was developed as a familiar tool for daily life, and its design was often used for Kosode (小袖, a kind of traditional Japanese costume) in the Edo period. The Tsuchi (槌, hammer), which is similar to the Hishaku (柄杓, ladle), began to be drawn in the early Edo period. The waterwheel on which the hammers are drawn is called the Tsuchi Guruma (槌車). Since a hammer is a tool for hitting stakes, and “hit” is said Utsu (打つ) in Japanese, it is likened to the figure of a Samurai who hits the enemy. Hitting enemy is expressed Teki-Wo Utsu (敵を討つ) in Japanese.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
The figure of the Kani (蟹, crab) standing on a water plant is the motif of this Menuki. Crab’s body and waterdrops are painted with golden color. As crabs walk sideways, they were compared “Oukou Kunshi (横行君子),” which means to stick to one’s intention against authority. Samurais might have felt the strong will that they would not bow before power from this motif.
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 antique Tsuba has Kozuka and Kougai holes. It has a texture like a rock surface due to its uneven surface and slightly irregular shape. About the design, you would find a crab and a Tonbo (蜻蛉, dragonfly). We think the crab is aiming to cut the dragonfly’s body with its scissors. The dragonfly does not seem to be able to see the crab, and it appears that he has not yet noticed the crisis approaching himself. It is a scene with disturbing tension.
Dragonfly has been inhabiting since a long time ago in Japan. As they bag preys quickly, its heroic figure was the object of belief. During the Warring States period, the dragonfly was called the Kachimushi (勝ち虫, winning insect) because of its fearless character; it moves only forward, not backward. Above all, the dragonfly pattern combined with the iris flower or the arrow was pleased. Allow was one of the Samurai’s primary weapons. Iris flower is called the Shoubu (菖蒲) in Japanese, and there is the word “Shoubu (勝負),” which means battle. So, Shoubu (菖蒲, iris flower) and Shoubu (勝負, fight), those two words have the same pronunciation; therefore, the iris flower pattern reminds Samurais battlefields.
Kougai：Kougai is the equipment for Samurai to arrange or fix his hair style. It is stored in the Kougai Hitsu (groove of the sheath of the Japanese sword).
A kind of plant is designed for this Kougai. Its flower shape looks similar to poppies. Its petals are colored with silvery paint, and leaves and a bud are colored with golden paint. The fading of the colors tells us that this tool has a long history and was often used.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1010524)
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 Feb. 25th in the 31st year of Heisei (2019). They appraised it as Tokubetsu Hozon Touken, the blade especially 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 : Ibaraki 21556
The Board of Education in Ibaraki 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,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 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.
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