Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by The second-gen Fujiwara Masahiro with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
Hizenkoku Kawachi no kami Fujiwara Masahiro
This blade was signed by Hizenkoku Kawachi no kami Fujiwara Masahiro (肥前国河内守藤原正廣), also known as the second-gen Masahiro. He was especially active in sword-forging during the early Edo period (Approx. 1658-1673). He was born in the fourth year of Kan-Ei era (1626) as the child of the first-gen Masahiro.
The second-gen Masahiro received the honorable official title named Musashi Daijyo(武蔵大掾) in the third year of Manji era(1660) and promoted to Musashi no Kami(武蔵守) next year. He eventually received Kawachi no Kami(河内守) in the fifth year of Kan-Ei era (1665) after his father, first-gen Masahiro, was deceased. The second-gen died at the age of 73 in the 12th year of Genroku era(1699). We believe this blade was forged after 1665 as the signature includes Kawachi no Kami, his last title. Kami or Daijyo is an honorable official title given by the emperor for highly-skilled swordsmiths.
Hizenkoku, located in Saga prefecture, is the name of the place where the second-Masahiro forged swords. His linage dates back to the beginning of the Edo period, when the first-gen Tadayoshi, his great grandfather, founded the school. Tadayoshi is known as one of the greatest swordsmiths in the early Edo period in Japanese sword history.
His father, the first-gen Masahiro, is also a famous swordsmith in the province. The first-gen Masahiro started to serve Nabeshima Katsushige when he was 17 years old. Nabeshima Katsushige became the head of Saga Domain in Hizen in 1607.
The first-gen Masahiro was selected as Okakae Kaji for the Nabeshima clan, meaning he exclusively forged swords for the feudal family. The second-gen Masahiro, the swordsmith who forged this blade, was also an Okakaekaji for this clan. Nabeshima clan ruled Hizenkoku during the Edo period, which indicates that Masahiro served a powerful feudal lord.
The swordsmiths in the Hizen province worked under the auspices of the Nabeshima clan like the second-gen Masahiro. They were able to produce beautiful Jigane-patterned blades, also known as Hizen To, using and mixing carbon steel made in western countries. Hizenkoku had been flourishing by international trading. The geographic location of this domain made it possible to have easy access to western carbon steel.
The first-gen Tadayoshi (His grand grandfather)
The first-gen Tadayoshi was born and raised in the Saga domain. In 1596, under the domain’s order, he went to Kyoto to learn the sword-forging technique from Umetada Myojyu(埋忠明寿), one of the greatest swordsmiths in the early Edo period. He improved his craftsmanship and returned to the Saga domain two years later (1598). The first head of the Nabeshima clan, Nabeshima Katsushige, appreciated the work of the first-gen Tadayoshi very much. Then, Katsushige appointed him as his Okakaekaji, a swordsmith who exclusively forged swords for a specific domain or clan. And Tadayoshi started to stay near Saga castle, which is the headquarter of the Nabeshima clan. And, he founded Hizen Tadayoshi school, which trained more than 100 swordsmiths during the Edo period. Masahiro is one of them.
This blade 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.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：69.6 cm(27.4 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.6 cm(0.63 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 surface is decorated with the Nanako-Ji (魚子地) technique. It is made by hitting a specific chisel, and it makes minor protrusions. In this Fuchi Kashira, each protrusion is beautifully arranged and decorates this work. A dragon is engraved on Fuchi and Kashira. You would find the same motif in other sword mountings of this sword: Menuki and Tsuba. Please check the following explications.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
The dragon is the motif of this Menuki. Golden paint is applied to it and adds a decorativeness to the Koshirae. Initially, the dragon is an imaginary creature found in ancient traditions or myths. Furthermore, it is regarded as a symbol 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, 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. It was thought that the dragon would reign at the top of all animals because of its odd-looking appearance. There are many sword mountings that have the dragon design. It shows that lots of Samurais loved this dignified beast 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.
As mentioned above, this Tsuba is also decorated with a dragon design. You would find it on the front. If you focus on the Tsuba’s edge, you will see the cloud pattern is inlaid with golden metal (probably gold or brass). The combination of dragons and clouds is often seen, including sword mountings. We are unsure, but it might have been inspired by a religion that worships a dragon as a water god. As clouds would bring blessed rain, this relation is understandable. Or, a theory says dragons and gods dwell in clouds; some people have believed in clouds’ supernatural power. It is also a possibility that this combination is designed for various items.
Bashin：A Bashin (馬針) is a tool for keeping a horse in good condition by scratching the legs of a congested horse after a long run to promote bleeding.
A Bashin is also called the Kankyu-Tou (貫級刀). It looks similar to Kozuka. The difference between these weapons is that a Bashin has a double-edged blade, and the handle and sword are integrally molded.
You would find a small heart mark-shaped hole at the edge of the handle part. It is the Inome (猪の目, boar’s eye) pattern, which has been used since ancient times. Some people believed that the Inome design would work as an amulet to protect them from evil spirits or fire. Also, it is said it would bring good luck.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1016767)
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 Dec 3rd in the 3rd year of Reiwa (2021). 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 : Kanagawa 53032
The Board of Education in Kanagawa 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.
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.