Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Hosokawa Masamori with Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Saku Yo Bakkashi Hosokawa Masamori (作陽幕下士細川正守) in August, the first year of the Bunkyu era (1861: The end of the Edo period). Saku Yo Bakkashi signifies that he was also a Samurai, and we assume he engraved these letters to show his dignity for being a Samurai. Hosokawa Masamori was active during the Koka-early Meiji era (1844-early 1870s). He was the son of Hosokawa Masayoshi, one of the most renowned swordsmiths during the late Edo period.
His father, Hosokawa Masayoshi, had learned sword-forging techniques under the master, Suishinshi Masahide(水心子正秀), one of the most famous swordsmiths in Samurai history. Masamori learned sword-forging techniques in Edo city under master Taikei Naotane, an apprentice of Suishinshi Masahide.
Masayoshi was an extremely skilled swordsmith, and he was excellent at forging blades with Choji Midare Hamon, which is the characteristic of the Bizen sword-forging style (BIZEN DEN). Masamori also mastered this excellent sword-forging technique from his father. Choji Midare Hamon is an Irregular wavy tempering line. Most of Masamori’s work reflects on Bizen Den (One of the Five Japanese sword-forging traditions). Hosokawa Masamori was famous for having a gorgeous groove (Hi: 樋) on his creations.
Mamori and his father served the Matsudaira clan in the Sakushu Tsuyama domain(today’s Okayama prefecture). They served the clan as a Hanko(藩工), who exclusively forged swords for a specific clan.
It is appraised as a Hozon Touken (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, well preserved and high quality with artistic value.
*Please keep in mind that there are a few minor Kitae Kizu on this blade. If you like to see the detailed condition, please feel free to contact us.
Cutting Edge Length (Nagasa): 69.1 cm (27.2 inches)
Curvature (Sori): 1.7 cm (0.67 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 Kashira part has a simple black color plain look. On the other hand, the Fuchi part is ornamentally decorated with plant patterns. It seems this design is composed of a kind of flower and the Karakusa (唐草, arabesque) pattern called the Hana Karakusa (花唐草) design. There are many patterns that combine flowers and Karakusas, among which Botan Karakusa (牡丹唐草, peony and Karakusa), Kiku Karakusa (菊唐草, chrysanthemum and Karakusa), and Hasu Karakusa (蓮唐草, lotus and Karakusa) are famous. Some patterns are closely related to religion and frequently appear in Buddhism.
The Karakusa pattern is a design in which stems and leaves of vines are twined and make curves. Since ivy has a strong vitality and grows up without interruption, people regarded this design as a symbol of prosperity and longevity. Such auspicious meanings might have inspired this Fuchi Kashira’s design.
Tsuka and Menuki: Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Each Menuki depicts a small boat and the people on it. You would find the figures of people: a person holding a paddle to propel the ship and a man who is probably the master. The appearance of men, who would be the masters, seems to be aristocrats. Since Japan is an island, the ship was one of the essential transportation, especially before airplanes and cars were invented. It has been a familiar motif for Japanese people since ancient times. A variety of ship patterns were designed for various items, including sword mountings. The theme of this Menuki is everyday scenery, and its style has elegant atmosphere.
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.
A giant dragon is engraved on this Tsuba. Golden coloring (probably brass inlay) is applied to several parts of this dragon, adding decorativeness to this work. The dragon looks down with its mouth open and has a majestic expression as if it were threatening.
Initially, the dragon was an imaginary creature found in ancient foreign traditions or myths. Furthermore, it is regarded as 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, the 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. The dragon was thought to reign at the top of all animals because of its odd appearance.
You would find an engraved signature around the center hole of this Tsuba, and it is written as follows: 越前住 記内作 (Echizen-Ju, Kinai Saku). It shows that Kinai made this Tsuba, and he lived in Echizen (today’s Fukui prefecture). Kinai Tsuba was established in Echizen, and Kinai school flourished very much. Their creations were called Kinai Bori (記内彫) or Echizen Bori (越前彫) and were highly valued. The first Kinai was especially good at dragon motif depiction. The Myochin (明珍) school and the Akao (赤尾) school were also well-known in Echizen. Kinai family was connected to these families by marriage, and three of them prospered together until the last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate. We are not sure which Kinai made this Tsuba. However, a metalworker at this school likely produced it.
Saya: Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Please keep in mind that there is a crack on this Saya. We will have it repaired without additional cost if you purchase this Katana.
Authentication Paper: NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 3029193)
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. 25th in the 4th year of Reiwa (2022). 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: Kanagawa 81331
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 500 Japanese swords for the past three years (～2023) 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 an export permit. If you live in Japan, please click here before you make a purchase.
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, 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 EMS.
We normally ship by EMS (Express Mail Service) provided by Japan Post. We will send you a tracking number for your order as soon as we hand it to the post office. 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 take 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.
Here is one of the reviews we received from a customer who purchased an authentic Japanese sword from us. For more reviews, please click here.
“My experience overall with the whole process was wonderful. I had many questions about the history and process to purchase these treasures. All my questions were answered very timely and complete. The staff is very knowledgeable and very well versed if any questions do arise.”
【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】
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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 a 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.