Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Koyama Munetsugu with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Bizen no Suke Fujiwara Munetsugu(備前助藤原宗次) in the second year of the Kaei era(1849). He is also known as Koyama Munetsugu (固山宗次).
His given name was Koyama Sobei (固山宗兵衛). He was born as the third son of Koyama Munehira(固山宗平) in Shirakawa domain in Mutsu province (today’s Fukushima prefecture) in 1802. It is said that he learned the sword-forging technique from Kato Tsunahide(加藤綱英) first and was also an apprentice of Chounsai Tsunatoshi (長運斎綱俊), a younger brother of Tsunahide to improve his craftsmanship.
Munetsugu first served Shirakawa Matsudaira(白河松平家) clan as Hanko(藩工:retained swordsmith). After Matsudaira clan was ordered to relocate to Kuwana domain(Today’s Mie prefecture), Munetsugu became a swordsmith for that domain. However, he eventually settled in Edo city from the second year of the Koka era (1845) by working for Matsudaira clan of the Kuwana family. Because of these historical records, we believe this blade was made in Edo city.
Munetsugu received an honorable title of Bizen no Suke(備前助) in the same year when he moved to Edo city(1845). His work reflects Bizen Den, one of the five most traditional Japanese sword-forging techniques (五箇伝). He was excellent at forging blades with Choji Gunome Midare tempering line, one of the most noticeable characteristics of Bizen Tradition. He was active in sword-forging during 1830-1870. He is arguably the finest smith working in the Bizen tradition at the end of the Edo period.
Munetsugu was one of the most popular and famous swordsmiths in Edo city during the end Edo period. His swords have been known for their sharpness. There are many records of his swords passing the test cutting process(Tameshigiri). In his career, he pursued and researched sword-forging to make extremely sharp blades that were practically effective in battles to meet up the demands of the clan. There was a record of him studying to improve the sharpness of his swords from the seventh-gen Yamada Asaemon, who is a master of Tameshigiri and an author of Owazamono. He often received orders from feudal lords or famous figures during the end of the Edo period.
Munetsugu has been highly regarded among Japanese sword collectors and experts. It is said that his level of craftsmanship is close to or at least equivalent to Sushinshi Masahide, Naotane and other very selected swordsmiths from 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.
*Please keep in mind that there a tiny chip near the Kissaki and there are a couple of black rusts. If you don’t mind paying the additional fee and waiting, we will be happy to have these parts polished by the Togishi (Japanese sword polisher) we do business with. If you like to know the detail, please feel free to contact us.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 71.2 cm (28.0 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.66 cm (0.65 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).
The entire of this Koshirae is decorated with the common motif: Kiku (菊, chrysanthemum). The same flowers are engraved in various ways, adding decorativeness to this Koshirae. A long time ago, chrysanthemums were used as 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 fall, and people have greatly appreciated it since ancient times. Since 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. The Kiku-no Gomon (菊の御紋) is a kind of chrysanthemum pattern, and it has been used as the crest of the Emperor and the royal family in Japan, so it is well-known as a noble pattern.
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. For example, Ashikaga Takauji (1305-1358), who became the first Shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, cooperated with Emperor Go-Daigo (後醍醐天皇, 1288-1339) to dissolve the Kamakura Shogunate. And Takauji was given a chrysanthemum crest.
In addition, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉, 1537-1598) was also given a chrysanthemum crest by Emperor Goyouzei. A theory says Hideyoshi was delighted and used this motif for furniture. At that time, the Emperor was regarded as God. Therefore, it was an irreplaceable honor for Samurais to receive the family crest from the Emperor. In this way, chrysanthemum patterns have a deep connection with Samurai culture. We hope this description would help you when you enjoy this Katana’s Koshirae.
Fuchi-Kashira：A pair of matching sword fittings that cover the upper and bottom parts of its sword hilt.
The surface of this Fuchi Kashira is decorated with the Nanako-Ji (魚子地) technique. This process makes a uniform minimal protrusions pattern by hitting the Nanako-Ji Tagane (魚子地鏨, a chisel for this technique) on a metal surface. This decorative technique is often seen on sword mountings.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
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.
Although some colorings have already faded due to aging, it seems golden paint was initially applied to the here and there of this Tsuba. We imagine that this Tsuba had a more ornamental appearance at that time. However, the golden coloring remains well at the Mimi (耳, edge) part. We assume a thin golden plate covers this Tsuba’s Mimi. This kind of covering is called the Fukurin (覆輪). It makes a Tsuba look gorgeous and has practicality, such as preventing the wear of the edge part. Also, it prevents the wear and tear of the Kimono if the edge damages it by touching the cloth.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1017879)
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 June 3rd in the 4th 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 : Tokyo 2662
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 700 Japanese swords for the past few years (～2024) 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.
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 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.