Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Hirosada with NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Hizenkoku Jyu Hirosada(肥前国住人広貞), also known as Hizen Yoshi-Ie(肥前吉家) in the early Edo period( early 17th century). He was an apprentice of Tadayoshi, one of the greatest swordsmiths in the early Edo period.
Hirosada was also Tadayoshi’s son-in-law. His real name is Hashimoto Honsouemon(橋本本惣右衛門). Hizenkoku, located in Saga prefecture, is the name of the place where Hirosada forged this blade.
He first signed as Hirosada(広貞) but changed his maker’s name to Yoshiie in the second year of Genwa(1616). We believe this blade is one of the earliest works of Yoshiie before he changed his maker’s name.
He often forged swords on behalf of his master, Tadahiro, which means his artistry must have been excellent. He died at the age of 80 in 1656.
This swordsmith was serving for the Nabeshima clan, forging swords for the feudal family. Nabeshima clan ruled Hizenkoku during the Edo period, which indicates that Hirosada served a powerful feudal lord.
The swordsmiths in the Hizen province worked under the auspices of the Nabeshima clan like Hirosada(Yoshi-Ie). 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.
We are confident you will appreciate Hirosada’s craftsmanship by observing this blade. It also accompanies by gorgeous sword mounting.
This blade is appraised as Tokubetsu Hozon certificate issued by NBTHK. This authentication paper was only given to Japanese swords, especially worth preserving by Nihon Bijutsu Touken Hozon Kyokai(the Society for the Preservation of the Japan Art Sword).
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa) : 70.6 cm( 27.8 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.21 cm( 0.47 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：It was signed by Hizen Koku Kawachi Daijyo Fujiwara Masahiro.
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(Sabbard), Tsuka( Handle), Tsuba(Handguard).
Fuchi-Kashira：A pair of matching sword fittings that cover the upper and bottom parts of its sword hilt.
A mask that is used in No play (能楽, a classical Japanese dance-drama), and some musical instruments such as Tsuzumi (鼓, a small shoulder drum played with one’s fingertips) and harp are designed for this Fuchi Kashira. This mask might be classified as Oni’s mask. Oni (鬼) is a monster with a human body, usually harmful but sometimes helpful. There are Oni who will ask for trouble. On the other hand, there are also Oni who exorcize evil spirits. Today, in Japan, we continue a traditional custom called Setsubun (節分) on February 3. People scatter roasted soybeans to drive out devils or evil spirits (the manner is different depending on area). The Oni mask that is worn at this time represents Oni, who will drive away wicked spirits. We would like to speculate that Samurai might have wanted to gain supernatural power like Oni.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Saru (猿, monkey) is the motif of this Menuki. Generally speaking, as we know, monkeys belong to the same primates as us humans. So it is considered to be the closest animal to humans. Probably, it is why monkeys have often been personified in pictures and stories since ancient times. Please look again at monkeys of this Menuki. Each of them brings a stick-shaped object with a bundle of paper attached to it. Also, it seems they wear something like a hat. They look as if they were Shinto priests. This bundle of paper is called Gohei (御幣, also called Onbei or Onbe), a tool used in Shinto religious service. “御幣” means an offering to God. According to a theory, in China, the monkey has been regarded as a messenger of God. People believed that monkeys would protect horses so that they kept monkeys as guardians of a stable. People worshiped the monkey’s sacred power, and this animal was considered to be an auspicious existence. This idea was introduced from the continent to Japan. So we could imagine that Samurai also treated this animal motif as a kind of unique item. It is said there are not many sword mountings that the monkey is designed. We want to say that not only the quality of this Menuki is excellent, but its rarity enhances the value of this work.
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 is made from iron and has Kozuka and Kougai holes. Flowers are engraved with the Sukashi-Bori (透かし彫り, openwork) technique. These flowers might be Shoubu (菖蒲, iris). It was thought the scent of iris leaves would exorcize disasters; therefore, some people used it as a talisman to protect against evils. It is said lots of Samurais favored the iris pattern to design for their war costumes because the Japanese name of iris “菖蒲 (Shoubu)” has the same pronunciation as another word “勝負 (Shoubu)” that means battle. Samurais might have put a wish for victory in this plant motif.
Also, we hope you focus on the Habaki. On the silvery ground, Japanese pampas grasses that are swaying in the breeze are engraved. Moreover, the golden metal stand is piled on it. The moon is through the clouds. The combination of the full moon and Japanese pampas grass expresses a scene of an autumn night excellently. This Habaki is magnificent and makes us feel the taste of it. We hope you would enjoy this elegant work.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
This Saya has a luxurious decorative coating with black lacquer and glittering material (it seems crushed seashell fragment). A spiral pattern is expressed as if a leech was wrapped around the Saya. This coating method might be a type of Hirumaki-Nuri (蛭巻塗). In Japan, there is a traditional ornamental technique that uses seashell; called Raden (螺鈿). Raden is a kind of decorative technique that is often used for traditional craftworks. It uses the pearl part of seashells and puts it into the engraved surface of lacquer or wood. Thanks to its iridescent luster, it gives a luxurious look to works.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade
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 August 28th in the 9th year of Heisei (1997). 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 : Kyoto 9070
The Board of Education in Kyoto prefecture issued a registration paper for this sword . In order to obtain this paper, the sword needs to be traditionally hand forged. With this paper, its owner can legally own an authentic Japanese sword in Japan. This paper will need to be returned to the board of education when the sword being shipped abroad but you can receive a copy of it.
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【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 300 Japanese swords 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.
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We have shipped authentic Japanese swords to the USA, Canada, Mexico, UK, Germany , France and Hong Kong. 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(USA, Canada).
We normally ship by EMS(Express Mail Service) provided by Japan Post. When we receive an order from the USA or 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.
*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.
【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. When you purchase a Japanese sword from us, you can get a Free sword maintenance kit, which appears in this video.