Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Ippo with NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
Ippo(一峯) is a renowned swordsmith who belonged to Omi Ishido school during the early Edo period. There are two generations of the smith named Ippo. We believe the first-gen forged it based on the signature. The first-gen Ippo was born in Takagi village in Omi province(Today’s Shiga prefecture). While the first-gen Ippo forged swords in Omi province for the rest of his life, his son, second-gen Ippo, also forged in Edo city(Today’s Tokyo). The first-gen Ippo was active at sword-forging at the beginning of the Edo period(1648-1652).
Ishido school was initially founded by Sukenaga, an offspring of Ichimonji Sukemune, who made Fukuoka Ichimonji school in Bizen province(Today’s Okayama prefecture).
During 1492-1501(Mid Muromachi period), Sukenaga and his school moved to Omi province from Bizen province after being summoned by Gamou family, a powerful feudal line in that region. Sukenaga started to live in front of Ishido temple, and he changed his surname to Ishido.
As of the early Edo period, many Ishido swordsmiths moved to other parts of Japan. There are mainly four areas: Edo, Osaka, Kishu(Wakayama prefecture), and Chikuzen(Fukuoka prefecture). Omi Ishido school is the origin of whole other Ishido branches that flourished during the Edo period.
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)：69.5 cm ( 27.3 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 1.2 cm( 0.47 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 on purpose to prevent red rust while the tang is in its handle. And the discoloration of the tang was created over time, which 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(Sabbard), Tsuka( Handle), Tsuba(Handguard).
Fuchi-Kashira：A pair of matching sword fittings that cover the upper and bottom parts of its sword hilt.
Different types of birds are engraved for this Fuchi Kashira. Some birds are taking a rest, and the other is walking in the glasses. Although some parts have already been flaked off due to aging, it seems gold-colored metal was applied to this work. In contrast to other sword mountings of this sword (the fantasy beast: dragon motif in this case), this Fuchi Kashira’s design depicts a landscape that we could see in daily life. We hope you would also enjoy this contrasting expression. About the dragon motif, please check the following explications about the Menuki and the Tsuba.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Dragons are designed for this Menuki. Initially, the dragon is an imaginary creature found in ancient 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, 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.
Please look at the lower Menuki. If you focus on the dragon’s hand, you will notice that it brings the small ball. A theory says that this ball is the Nyoi Houju (如意宝珠, Cintāmaṇi). It is a fantasy jewel that fulfills any desire, gives out treasure, clothes, food, and drink. In addition, it heals illness and suffering, removes evils, purifies muddy water, and prevents disasters. It is said this magical item is taken from the brain of the king of the dragon. Such a detailed expression tells us how the dragon design was favored as an auspicious pattern.
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 antique Tsuba has a circle shape, and it remains its glossy black color. Same as the Menuki, this Tsuba’s motif is also the dragon. The dragon twists its elongated body, and clouds surround it. The combination of dragon and cloud patterns is often seen as a motif for sword mountings. It might be due to a traditional belief in Japan.
The Ryujin Shinkou (竜神信仰) is a faith that worships dragon as a water god. Since rice cultivation flourished in this country, water is always an essential resource. Therefore, the dragon motif has been familiar to Japanese people since a long time ago. Now, please remember that what clouds do; clouds bring blessed rain. People would have thought that the combination of this sacred animal and the clouds would give them God’s blessing.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon 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 April 2nd in the 11th year of Heisei(1999). 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 : Hokkaido 20255
The Board of Education in Hokkaido prefecture issued a registration paper for this sword . In order to obtain this paper, the sword needs to be traditionally hand forged. With this paper, its owner can legally own an authentic Japanese sword in Japan. This paper will need to be returned to the board of education when the sword being shipped abroad but you can receive a copy of it.
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 350 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.
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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 Powder, Peg remover, Oil Applicator). By watching the video instruction above , you can enjoy learning how to maintain your Japanese sword while appreciating it.