Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Hiroshige with Hozon Certificate
This blade was forged by Bushu Shitahara Jyu Hiroshige(武州下原住広重). Bushu Shitahara is the name of the area in the Tokyo area today where he created this blade. According to NBTHK that authenticated this blade, it was forged approximately in the early Edo period. We made a phone call to them to confirm it.
Hiroshige belonged to the Bushu Shitahara school, located in today’s Tokyo(Hachioji city).It is said that Yamamoto Norishige founded the school, and it thrived from the end of the Muromachi period to the late Edo period.(Late 16th century to Late 19th cetnury)
Shitahara Kaji is the group of swordsmiths under the Hojo clan’s auspicious, powerful feudal line during the late Muromachi period. After the Toyotomi clan destroyed the Hojo clan in the Azuchi Momoyama period, Shitahara started to serve the Tokugawa clan as Okakae Kaji, swordsmiths exclusively working for a specific feudal family. Most of the Shitahara swordsmith’s real sir name was Yamamoto. They especially flourished during the late Muromachi period-early Edo period.
They kept forging for the Tokugawa clan until the end of the Edo period. Among the Bushu Shitahara group, Hiroshige was one of the most famous ones. The maker’s name, Hiroshige, lasted for several generations.
This blade is appraised as a Hozon certificate issued by NBTHK. This authentication paper was only given to Japanese swords, worth preserving by Nihon Bijutsu Touken Hozon Kyokai(the Society for the Preservation of the Japan Art Sword).
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 64.6 cm(25.43 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：0.9 cm( 0.35 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. Please keep in mind that the letter of the signature was half-cut due to the size adjustment in the past.
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.
Flowers are designed on this Fuchi Kashira, and golden metal is applied to them. Its surface is decorated with the Nanako-Ji technique. The ground was hit by the Nanako-Ji Tagane (魚子地鏨, chisel used for this technique). It makes delicate fish egg-shaped protrusions. It shows us the maker’s expert skill.
If you focus on the Fuchi part, you will find the Kikusui Mon (菊水紋). It depicts chrysanthemum flowers floating in running water. Since a long time ago, the Kikusui Mon has been known as a design that represents longevity based on a Chinese legend. It says we could extend our lifespan by drinking water flowing from the chrysanthemum colony. Therefore, people treated this design as a kind of good luck motif. It is said this pattern started to be used in the Kamakura period (1185-1333). Some families used it for their family crests. Kusunoki Masashige (楠木 正成, 1294?-1336) is one of them. He contributed to the defeat of the Kamakura Shogunate and was given the chrysanthemum flower crest by Emperor Go-Daigo in recognition of his remarkable achievements. However, Masashige chose to use the Kikusui Mon, the water flowing in the lower half of the chrysanthemum flower. According to a theory, it was because he thought it was too presumptuous to have the same crest as the emperor. We would say this story tells us the relationship between this design and Samurai culture.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
This Menuki’s motif is the Kurikara Ken (倶利伽羅剣), and it is colored with the silvery metal. The Kurikara Ken is the sword that Fudo Myo-O (不動明王, protective god in Buddhism, notably Japanese Shingon Buddhism, it is also known as a god of wars) brings his right hand. Usually, this motif is depicted as a sword coiled with a dragon. It is said the Kurikara Ryu (倶利伽羅龍) changed its figure to the fire.
The dragon itself is a prevalent motif for sword mountings. Initially, the dragon is an imaginary creature found in ancient traditions or myths. Furthermore, it is a symbolic beast 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 Mizuchi (蛟, mythical animal in Japan which looks like a snake and have 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.
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.
Yotsu-Mokkou-shaped Tsuba is made from iron. Mokkou Tsuba, its origin is a shape of eggs that are rest in a nest. When a quince (it is written 木瓜 in Japanese) is cut into round slices, its cross-section looks similar to this shape; therefore, it was named Mokkougata Tsuba. Yotsu-Mokkougata (a combination of four Mokkou shapes) Tsuba is often seen as this work is categorized.
Vines are designed and inlaid with brass. And the Higaki Mon (檜垣文) decorates the inside of this Tsuba. It is the classic pattern in which thin plates of Hinoki (檜, Japanese cypress) are woven diagonally and alternately like Ajiro (網代, wickerwork trap, fishing gear of bamboo instead of a net). Higaki means a fence made of Japanese cypress. As Ajiro is used at the waterside, this motif might have been designed inside the current-shaped lines. Japanese cypress is quite expensive, and the stage with cypress boards is called Hinoki-Butai (檜舞台). It is said this type of stage was found only in theaters officially recognized by the government. Therefore, being on these stages meant being recognized as a first-rate actor. Then people might consider that this plant pattern as a token of the first-class.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate
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 June 25th in the second year of Reiwa (2020). They appraised it as Hozon Touken, the blade 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 : Tokyo 105891
The Board of Education in Tokyo 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 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.
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, EUR or GBP. The price is set in Japanese Yen. Prices in other currencies are automatically calculated based on the latest exchange rate.
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(Canada).
We normally ship by EMS(Express Mail Service) provided by Japan Post. When we receive an order from 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.
【How To Contact Us】
Please contact us through email, Facebook Messenger or Live Chat if you have any questions. You can find each icon on the right side of the website. Please click one of them to reach us. We will reply to you within 1-2 business days.
【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.