Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Kiyomitsu with Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Kiyomitsu (清光) in Kashu province (also known as Kaga domain), according to NBTHK’s appraisal. We called NBTHK, and they informed us that they appraised it as a work of Kiyomitsu during the late Muromachi period when Japan was in the warring state period (Sengoku Jidai).
It is said that the swordsmith’s name Kiyomitsu lasted 12 generations from the mid-Muromachi period to the end of the Edo period (1444-1868). Kiyomitsu is one of the most famous maker’s names in the Kaga domain (today’s Ishikawa prefecture) and belonged to Fujishima school.
The founder of Fujishima school was Fujishima Tomoshige (藤島友重), a student of Rai Kunitoshi, one of the most famous swordsmiths in Japanese history. It is believed that the first-gen Kiyomitsu was a descendant of Tomishige.
Kaga domain was ruled by Maeda clan when Kiyomitsu was alive. Maeda clan was originally a retainer of Oda family, who ruled Owari province. (today’s Nagoya area in Aichi prefecture) The first head of the Maeda clan was Toshie Maeda. He climbed the social ladder of Samurai society, and he became the feudal lord of Kaga Province(today’s Ishikawa prefecture). It is said that Toshie had a vast rice fief that fed 100 million grown-up adults, which is called Hyakuman Goku. The Maeda clan was one of the most influential clans in Samurai history. Toshie Maeda had a close tie with Oda Nobunaga and Hideyoshi Toyotomi.
The generations of Kiyomitsu served Maeda clan and must have forged many swords for this clan. We also assume the high level of craftsmanship Kiyomitsu mastered was appreciated in the Kaga domain. It would be nice to have a piece forged in the warring state period when there was so much rivalry between warlords.
This blade is categorized as a Wakizashi on the NBTHK certificate because its cutting edge is slightly shorter than the minimum length to call a Katana. When the Katana is less than 2 Shaku (1 Shaku=30.3 cm), it is categorized as a Wakizashi in Japanese sword terminology in modern times. However, we believe this was used as a Katana, and it was primarily made for one-hand combat. The user could hold this sword with one hand, a popular way to fight during the late Muromachi period.
This blade is appraised as a Hozon Token(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 with artistic value.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 60.0 cm( 23.6 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.25 cm(0.49 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 a variety of motifs are designed for this Fuchi Kashira. Probably various items are partly overlapped, and it is challenging to judge what each is. However, this Fuchi Kashira is a work with a gorgeous appearance as a whole. If you look at the picture that shows the entire handle part, you will find leaves with long vines. This plant looks similar to the plant that is designed in the Tsuba (Please check in the Tsuba’s description).
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
We assume this Menuki’s motif is a kind of Yajiri (鏃, arrowhead). The upper one is probably for the Soya (征矢, combat arrow with a sharp arrowhead), and the lower one is for the Karimataya (雁股矢, hunting arrow with crotch-shaped arrowhead). Both arrows are classified as the Giya (儀矢, ritual arrows) because they have been used in Shinto rituals apart from their original purpose. In these rituals, people pray for plentiful harvest or times of peace. This Menuki’s motif might have been chosen based on these wishes.
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.
Circle-shaped Tsuba that has Kozuka and Kougai holes. You would find the trace that kind of leaves are engraved. Although most of the coloring has already been faded due to aging, it seems golden paint was initially applied to these plant motifs. We think this Tsuba is made from iron. We hope you will enjoy its texture also.
About the design, this Tsuba’s shape expresses a waterwheel. It is a wheel-shaped pattern in which several ladles are attached to the ring. The waterwheel was developed as a familiar tool for daily life long ago. And it was incorporated into designs for various items such as cloths. The Tsuchi (槌, hammer), similar to the Hishaku (柄杓, ladle), began to be drawn in the early Edo period. The hammers are drawn on the waterwheel is called the Tsuchi Guruma (槌車). Since a hammer is a tool for hitting stakes, and “hit” is said Utsu (打つ) in Japanese, it is likened to the figure of Samurai hitting the enemy. Hitting enemy is expressed Teki-Wo Utsu (敵を討つ) in Japanese.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
This Saya has a decorative Kojiri (鐺). It is made of silvery metal, and the wave pattern is beautifully engraved semi-three-dimensionally. As waves’ movements continue endlessly, the wave pattern represents eternity, immortality, longevity, birth, etcetera. Also, since tides repeatedly change the shape and terrain of rocks, some people have hoped for a strong will by using this motif. People have used this pattern wishing for an indomitable spirit without giving up. We imagine many Samurai favored this dynamic design.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No.3026586)
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 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 : Tokyo 244947
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 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.
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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.
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【How to make sure the condition】
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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.
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