Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Hizenkoku Yoshikane with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Hizenkoku Yoshikane (肥前国吉包) during the late Edo period (Bakumatsu era). Hizenkoku is the name of the domain in today’s Saga prefecture. Yoshikane belonged to Tadayoshi school and is known as an apprentice of the 8th-gen Tadayoshi (8th head of the school). Judging from the back of the signature, it was ordered by a man named Saneyori (実従). When you find the order’s name in the signature, it is called Chumon Uchi. We assume this man was a Samurai in Hizen Koku.
It is assumed that Yoshikane dedicated his career to helping the 8th-gen Tadayoshi (his master) with his highly skilled craftsmanship. There aren’t many remaining blades made by Yoshikane. However, Yoshikane was one of the most skilled sword makers in Hizen domain during the late Edo period, aside from the 9th-gen Tadayoshi and Yoshimune. Those three swordsmiths are known as Hizen Sanmeiko (Three prominent swordsmiths in Hizen domain ) during the Bakumatu era (the end of the Edo period).
According to available records, Yoshikane forged blades for Shima Yoshitake and Eto Shinpei, both of whom were Samurai participating in Sagano no Ran (佐賀の乱), a civil happened in the 7th year of the Meiji era in Saga domain to protest against the newly founded Meji government. Based on this fact, the blades forged by Yoshikane were demanding and popular among Samurai warriors in Hizen during the late Edo period.
The founder of Tadayoshi school
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. Yoshikane is one of them.
The swordsmiths in the Hizen province worked under the auspices of the Nabeshima clan such as Yoshikane. 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.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：68.2 cm (26.8 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 1.9 cm (0.75 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.
It seems Mt. Fuji, pine trees, and wild geese are depicted on this Fuchi Kashira. Some parts are colored with golden paint, and this coloring adds decorativeness to this work.
The wild goose is a migratory bird that represents fall. Its pattern is also called Karigane (雁金), and some families used this motif for their family crests. This bird is engraved with not only a realistic figure but also a very simplified shape: Hiragana (ひらがな, a kind of Japanese letter) he (へ) shape that sometimes makes also wild goose.
As pine trees keep their green color throughout the years by withstanding severe heat and cold, people thought this plant pattern represents eternal youth. Furthermore, its color is called Tokiwa-Iro (常盤色, evergreen trees’ dark green color with brown), and pine trees have another name “Tokiwa-Gi (常盤木).” Tokiwa means immutability, so Tokiwa-Iro is a color that praises green with a wish for longevity and prosperity. It is said this color was appreciated, especially in the Edo period, as a good-luck color. The pine tree design gives us an elegant and noble impression; it might be another reason that people love this motif.
Mt. Fuji’s Japanese name is written as 富士山 (Fuji-San). It could be said that Mt. Fuji is a symbolic existence that represents the landscape of Japan. Its motif has also been appreciated as an auspicious design since ancient times. A theory says that its Japanese name 富士 was associated with 不死 (pronounced as Fushi, and means immortality); therefore, some people thought Mt. Fuji design represents longevity. In another theory, it was also compared to another Japanese word, 無事 (pronounced as Buji, and means safe). In this idea, people used this motif to pray for good health and the family’s safety.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Seeing from the gaps of the Tsukamaki thread, this Menuki’s design is a combination of several plants. You would see that some flowers and leaves are colored with golden paint. The color contrast of black and gold makes an ornamental look of this Menuki. It is a beautiful work with fine sculptures in a small space.
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 Tsuba has a simple design. The Mimi (耳, edge of Tsuba) and two small holes are framed with a golden thin metal plate. This outline decoration makes this Tsuba looks more ornamentally. We think this framing also had the practicality of protecting the edges from being scratched or preventing the edges from friction against the Kimono and damaging the cloth.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1016122)
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 Aug 27th 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 : Tokyo 323271
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 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.
【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. 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.