Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Fujiwara Kunitsugu with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Yamashiro Daijo Fujiwara Kunitsugu(山城大掾藤原国次) in August, the 6th year of the Kan-Ei era (1629: Early Edo Period). It is said that Kunitsugu was the first son of Yamato Daijo Masanori. He belonged to Echizen Shimosaka school in Echizen province (Today’s Fukui prefecture). His birth name was Yamada Hichiroheibei, and he was born in the 8th year of the Eiroku era (1565). He was especially active during 1615-1628.
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.
Echizen Province was famous for forging razor-sharp, practically designed swords. The Edo government, run by the Tokugawa clan, ordered many blades from the swordsmiths in this province during the Edo period(1603-1868).
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 noticeable black rust on the Mune near the Nakago. We will have these black rust removed if you purchase this katana. We won’t charge an additional cost. We would like to know that there might be slight trace of black rust even after it is polished.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：62.7 cm ( 24.6 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.65 cm ( 0.65 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.
A landscape is the theme of this Fuchi Kashira’s design. You can see people crossing bridges and people walking down the road with their luggage on their backs. Golden coloring is applied to these people, mountains, and buildings; these colorings make an elegant color contrast with black and gold.
The surface of this Fuchi Kashira is decorated with the Nanako-Ji (魚子地) technique. This process makes a uniform minimal protrusions pattern by hitting the Nanako-Ji Tagane (魚子地鏨, a chisel for this technique) on a metal surface.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
By seeing from the gaps of the Tsukamaki thread, we estimate the motif of this Menuki is the Hana Guruma (花車). It is the Gosho Guruma (御所車) decorated with various flowers. The Gosho Guruma is a commonly used term for the Gissya (牛車, oxcart). The Hana Guruma has the role of inviting the gods, bringing them closer, and the wish to ask for much happiness.
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 circle-shaped Tsuba is made from iron, and the Kiri (桐, paulownia) flower is engraved on it. The Kiri pattern is generally composed of three standing straight inflorescences and three leaves. The number of blooming flowers at each inflorescence means the ranks of this design. Gosan-no-Kiri Monyou (五三の桐文様, three-five-three flowers are blooming at inflorescences) is a popular design that the paulownia motif is used. The imperial family and national leaders of the time once used this plant pattern. Today, it is permitted to use by ordinary households and is appreciated as their family crests.
It is also famous that one of the most popular Samurais in Japan: Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣 秀吉, 1537-1598) used the Kiri pattern for his family crest. According to a theory, Hideyoshi used the Omodaka (沢瀉, arrowhead) pattern as his family crest. However, Oda Nobunaga (織田 信長, 1534-1582), a well-known military commander in the Warring States period, permitted Hideyoshi to use the Kiri design. The imperial family and national leaders of the time once used this plant pattern.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
The Sayanuri (鞘塗, painting for scabbard) of this scabbard has the Ichimatsu (市松) pattern. It is a checkerboard-like lattice pattern in which squares of two colors are arranged alternately. It was called the Ishidatami (石畳, stone pavement) from the early modern period onwards due to its pattern imitating stone pavement.
This design represents prosperity because the same pattern continues without interruption. Because of its meaning, many Japanese people have cherished it as an auspicious pattern for the prosperity of descendants and business expansion.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1017523)
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 Mar. 2nd in the 4th year of Reiwa(2022). 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 : Gifu 9953
The Board of Education in Gifu 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.
“It was outstanding. Nothing short from what I would expect from Japanese people. Takaoki-san and Gin-san treated me to the best purchasing experience I’ve ever had. They were honorable, humble and dedicated to duty. I felt like a family member. I would highly recommend the Samurai Museam Shop to anyone looking to purchase an authentic antique Japanese sword with certification paper work.”
【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, 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 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.
*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 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.