Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Hosokawa Yoshinori & Masanori with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Hosokawa Yoshinori and Masanori (細川義規、正規) in Feb, the first year of the Genji era (1864:The end of the Edo period). The signature also says they lived in Noshu (Today’s Tochigi prefecture) when they created this blade together. Noshu is also known as Shimo no koku (下野国).
When two swordsmiths collaborate to create one work, it is called Gassaku (合作). It was generally done by a master and his apprentice or his son. Masanori is Yoshinori’s son. They served Utsunomiya domain and belonged to Hosokawa school, initially founded by the first-gen Hosokawa Masayoshi. We believe Yoshinori and Masanori had a close relationship, and the father must have acknowledged the craftsmanship of his son.
The first and second-gen Hosokawa Masayoshi
The first-gen Hosokawa Masayoshi was originally from Shimo no Koku. And he learned sword-forging techniques in Edo city under the master, Suishinshi Masahide(水心子正秀), one of the most famous swordsmiths in Samurai history. The first-gen then moved back to his home province and served Utsunomiya domain. The second-gen Masayoshi was born as the first son of the first-gen Masayoshi. He also studied sword-forging techniques from Suishin Masahide and served the Matsudaira clan in the Sakushu Tsuyama domain(today’s Okayama prefecture).
Hosokawa Yoshinori ＆ Masanori
Hosokawa Yoshinori was a nephew of the second-gen Masayoshi. Yoshinori was born in the second year of the Bunka era (1815: late Edo period) in Shimo no Koku. Yoshinori served Toda clan, who ruled Utsunomiya domain in Shimo no Koku. He worked for the clan as an Okakaekaji, a swordsmith who exclusively forged swords for a specific domain or clan.
Yoshinori adopted Masamori, and they worked together in Utsunomiya domain. Masamori was born in 1839, and after being adopted by Yoshinori, he took over Yoshinori’s school. Considering when they were born, this blade was created when Yoshinori was 60 years old, and Masanori was 25 years old.
They rarely forged long Katana blades in their career, and most of their works have a similar cutting-edge length as this blade. We assume this is because they followed orders made by Samurai who were from Utsunomiya domain. Samurai who lived there might have preferred short-length Katana for their swordsmanship. The swordsmiths who belonged to Hosokawa school excelled at forging blades with Bizen DEN tradition, one of the five Japanese sword forging techniques. And Yoshinori and Masamori were the same, and they mastered superb craftsmanship.
This blade was registered under the board of education in Tochigi prefecture, where this blade had been forged. We presume the descendant of a Samurai had preserved it for generations since the end of the Edo period.
It 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)：61.0 cm ( 24.0 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.6 cm ( 0.63 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.
Peonies are designed on this Fuchi Kashira. The figures of fascinating flowers are beautifully engraved. Although some colorings have already faded due to aging, it seems golden paint was initially applied to petals and leaves. The color contrast of this gold and the metal’s black makes an elegant appearance. Peony represents happiness, wealth, nobleness, and gorgeousness. This flower pattern has been treated as a good-omen motif; people regarded it as a rich harvest sign. Peony is called the “Botan” in Japanese. When we write this flower’s name in Japanese, its second letter means mountain hermit medicine that would give us eternal youth. Based on the meaning of this letter, the peony pattern symbolizes eternal youth and longevity.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Same as the Fuchi Kashira, this Menuki’s design is also related to plant motif. Seeing from the gaps of the Tsukamaki thread, we believe chrysanthemums are designed. Petals are colored with gold, and this coloring remains relatively in good condition. Each petal and leaf is carefully carved. A long time ago, the chrysanthemum was used as a medicine for obtaining a long life in the continent, and it was brought to Japan with this thought in the Nara period (648-781). The chrysanthemum symbolizes autumn, and people have greatly appreciated it since ancient times. As its petals form radially, the chrysanthemum has been likened to the sun. That is why this flower pattern is treated as the symbol of perpetual youth and longevity or good health.
This flower was incorporated into a motif of family crests. From the Kamakura (1185-1333) period to the Warring States period (1467-1615), the chrysanthemum crest was given as a reward from the Emperor back then to the warlords who made significant contributions. We would like to say that the chrysanthemum has a deep relationship with the Samurai culture. Therefore, it is understandable that we find this flower motif in sword mountings.
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 Yatsu-Mokkou-shaped Tsuba seems to be made from brass. Its design is a combination of clouds and waves. The cloud pattern has been associated with magical power, and people thought it an omen of auspicious things. As clouds appear repeatedly, cloud designs represent reincarnation. Samurai warriors were always on the verge of life and death on the battlefields. They might have believed in the power of this pattern. And they had incorporated it into the design of their sword mountings, such as Tsuba.
The wave pattern represents eternity, immortality, longevity, birth, etcetera. Also, since tides repeatedly change the shape and terrain of rocks, some people hoped for a strong will by using this motif. People used this pattern wishing for an indomitable spirit to rechallenge time and time without giving up. These ideas might have inspired this Tsuba’s design.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
This kind of Saya is called Omeshizaya (御召鞘). It has a distinctive metal decoration at the bottom of the Saya.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1017362)
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 Mar. 2nd in the 4yh year of Reiwa (2022) . 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 : Tochigi 16236
The Board of Education in Tochigi 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 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 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 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.
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】
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.