Antique Japanese Sword Katana Fujiwara Ietsugu with Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Banshu Jyu Fujiwara Ietsugu (播州住藤原家次). Banshu, also known as Harima domain, was located in today’s Hyogo prefecture. Banshu Jyu means that Ietsugu lived in the area when he forged this blade. It was common for many swordsmiths to sign where they lived before writing their signature. The swordsmith name Ietsugu lasted two generations. The first generation was active during the Meireki (1655-1658), and the second generation was during the Enpo era (1673-1681). The authentication paper issued by NBTHK doesn’t mention which generation forged this blade. Nevertheless, you can see beautiful craftsmanship created by Ietsugu.
What is the material of the Japanese sword and what makes Shinto sword special?
Japanese blacksmithing has over a millennium of history. It dates back to the 1st century A.D. when ancient blacksmiths studied template method from the continent. Copper pottery and rice farming techniques were also introduced to Japan at the same time.
Since then, Japanese blacksmiths had spent centuries to invent the traditional metal forging technique called TATARA(鑪). TATARA is a clay melting pot where you put iron sand and charcoal together to bond these chemicals with intensive heat. By using this technique, they started to make Japanese swords out of Tatara carbon-steel.
This type of carbon-steel was later called TAMA-HAGANE (玉鋼; Ball-Steel). However, Tama-Hagane, in the early days, still had room for improvement. The schools of Katana (Japanese swords) continued carrying out various ways to make the best steel.
In the Edo period (1603-1868 A.D.), they finally achieved the most steady mass-producing supply of Tama-Hagane. As transport links in the Edo period were far more advanced than those of any previous eras, Tama-Hagane has rapidly spread throughout the country. It was widely used for Shin-TO Japanese swords, since it was deemed the purest form of carbon-steel with the most stable chemical bond. It was also a defining moment in Japanese history when most swordsmiths in Japan used virtually the same ingredient in their blacksmithing.
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.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：76.0 cm (29.9 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.5 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.
If you focus on the Kashira part, you will find heart mark-shaped leaves are designed. This plant is the Aoi (葵), and it is the origin of a famous family crest. For example, the Tokugawa Shogunate family used this leaf motif for their family crest. This design is also used for the crest of the Kamo shrine in Kyoto prefecture. Tokugawa family had their family crest with three leaves of Aoi due to the Kamo shrine’s relation. Its leaves have a habit of always facing the sun, and the word “Aoi” is taken as “Aogu (仰ぐ, looking up)” for the sun. Therefore, people have thought the Aoi pattern would bring good fortune.
At the Fuchi part, you would find two men. The one who brings a fan in his right hand is dancing, and another man is playing a small drum. You could see Japanese letters at the backside of the Fuchi part. This engraved inscription is written as 常直 (Tsunenao). It is the signature of this Fuchi Kashira’s maker. And the last mark is probably his stylized signature.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
The sailboat is the motif of this Menuki. Its sail part is colored with golden paint. As Japan is an island nation, the ship design has been familiar to Japanese people since ancient times. Sailboats, Nanban Sen (南蛮船, ships used for Japan’s trade with European countries between the Muromachi and Edo period), and Takara Bune (宝船, the treasure-loaded ship) are the motifs of ship pattern. Sailing ships were one of the tools rooted in the lives of ordinary people, so it is understandable that it was incorporated into sword mountings’ design.
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.
Circle-shaped Tsuba that has Kozuka and Kougai holes. On the backside, you would find letters are engraved next to the Nakago hole (center hole). We think it is written as 家次作 (Ietsugu Saku, made by Ietsugu). It is usually judged as to its maker’s name; however, we cannot justify that this Ietsugu is the same person as Ietsugu who forged this blade.
About the design, a man and an Oni (鬼) are engraved. Oni is a monster with a human body, horns, and fangs. They are usually harmful to people; however sometimes helpful existence. This man has a long beard and wears a Samurai-like costume. It seems he is trying to get rid of the Oni with his sword. We are not sure who these characters are exactly. This scene might have been quoted from any story or legend.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 326434)
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 January 17th in the 3rd year of Heisei (1991). 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 : Kyoto 47952
The Board of Education in Kyoto 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 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, Canada, Mexico, UK, 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.
【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 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.