Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Hizen Yoshinobu with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
Hizen Koku Jyunin Yoshinobu
This blade was signed by Hizen Koku Jyunin Yoshinobu (肥前国住人吉信) during the early Edo period (early 17th century). Hizen Koku is the name of the feudal domain located in today’s Saga prefecture. Jyunin means the resident in Japanese. This signature indicates that Yoshinobu lived in the domain when he forged the blade.
Yoshinobu was born as the third son of Nakajima Gonbei. Nakajima family was a prestigious family whose ancestor is said to have been Yamana Ujikiyo, a famous feudal lord during the early Muromachi period. (Mid-Late 14h century).
Yoshinobu learned sword-forging techniques from the first-gen Tadayoshi (初代忠吉), one of the most famous swordsmiths in Hizen domain.
In the 16th year of the Keicho era (1611), when he was 24 years old, he got married to the eldest daughter of his master. And, he became a son-in-law who was taken into Tadayoshi’s family. After Tadayoshi’s first son(Tadahiro) was born in 1614, Yoshinobu founded a branch school, still supporting his master’s school.
Yoshinobu trained the children of Tadahiro; Kwachi Daijyo Masahiro (河内大掾正廣), Dewa Daijyo Yukihiro (出羽大掾行廣). It is said that Yoshinobu dedicated his career to supporting his master’s work and school. Therefore, there aren’t many remaining works created by Yoshinobu today.
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 headquarters of the Nabeshima clan. And he founded Hizen Tadayoshi school, which trained more than 100 swordsmiths during the Edo period. Yoshinobu was one of them.
According to historical records, Tadayoshi and Yoshinobu visited Kyoto Umetada Myojyu(埋忠明寿) to get more training in the 10th year of the Genwa era (1624).
The fact that Tadayoshi brought Yoshinobu there proves that the first-gen Tadayoshi highly acknowledged Yoshinobu’s sword forging skills.
The swordsmiths in the Hizen province worked under the auspices of the Nabeshima clan such as Yoshinobu. They could produce beautiful Jigane-patterned blades, also known as Hizen To, using and mixing carbon steel made in western countries. Hizen Koku had been flourishing by international trading. The geographic location of this domain made it possible to have easy access to western carbon steel.
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.
Please keep in mind that there are a couple of visible Kiatae Kizu on this blade while its overall condition is excellent. If you like to see the detailed condition, please feel free to contact us.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 69.5 cm( 27.3 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.
The Sakura (桜, cherry blossom) and the Kiri (桐, paulownia) flowers are designed for this Fuchi Kashira. These plants are inlaid with golden metal (probably brass or gold) and are still in good condition. Cherry blossom is one of the seasonal things of spring, and it has been loved for a long time in Japan. Its pattern is designed not only for sword mountings but also for Kimonos (着物, traditional Japanese costume) or furnishings. A theory says that the god of grain exists in cherry blossoms. As mentioned above, this flower’s Japanese name is Sakura. “Sa” means the god of the rice field, and “Kura” means the place where god exists. Therefore, this flower pattern has been treated as the symbol of a plentiful harvest. This Fuchi Kashira’s design.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
It is challenging to judge the motif of this Menuki. We guess it might be an animal such as a dragon. Initially, the dragon was an imaginary creature found in ancient foreign 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.
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.
Same as the Fuchi Kashira, this Tsuba is also decorated with the Sakura and Kiri patterns. Here we would introduce the Kiri motif. It is generally composed of three standing straight inflorescences and three leaves. The number of flowers blooming at each inflorescence means the ranks of this design. It is also famous that one of the most popular Samurais in Japan: Toyotomi Hideyoshi 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, a well-known military commander in the Warring States period, permitted Hideyoshi to use the Kiri design. This plant pattern was once used by the imperial family and national leaders of the time. Today, this plant pattern is used as the crest of the Japanese Government.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate (No. 1016543) and Tokubetsu Kicho 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 Dec 3rd in the 3rd year of Reiwa (2021). They appraised it as Tokubetsu Hozon Touken, the blade especially worth preserving for Japanese society. It had been appraised as a Tokubetsu Kicho Touken, an old form of the certificate as well. 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 : Gifu 81902
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.
【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 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.
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