Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Masakuni with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Kayo Kinjyo Jyu Fujiwara Masakuni (賀陽金城住藤原正国) in Feb, the third year of the Meiji era (1870). Kayo is another name for Kaga domain (Today’s Ishikawa prefecture). And, Kinjyo was another name for Kanazawa city. Kayo Kinjyo Jyu means that he resided in this area when he forged the blade. While his birth name was Oshimizu Jinzo, he signed as Masakuni during his career. It was common for many swordsmiths to use a completely different name when they signed their blades.
Masakuni served Maeda clan, a powerful feudal lord that prospered for generations during the Edo period in Kaga domain (Today’s Ishikawa prefecture). Maeda clan had been originally a retainer of Oda family, who ruled Owari province. (today’s Nagoya area in Aichi prefecture) during the late Muromachi period. The first head of the Maeda clan was Toshie Maeda. He climbed the social ladder of Samurai society and became the feudal lord of Kaga Province(today’s Ishikawa prefecture). He 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 families in Samurai history. Toshie Maeda had a close tie with Oda Nobunaga and Hideyoshi Toyotomi.
When Masakuni started his career, it was the end of the Edo period when the military government of Samurai (Tokugawa Shogunate) controlled Japan, and feudal society was the norm. There was plenty of demand for weapons from Samurais back then. However, in 1868, there was a civil war between Tokugawa’s shogunate government and the new Meiji imperial government. After this battle, the Tokugawa shogunate was ousted, and the imperial government gained control. The whole feudal system was dismantled, and the new government took the social status of Samurai. The demand for Japanese swords decreased dramatically from the beginning of the Meiji era. Many swordsmiths lost their jobs or changed their career. However, according to available records, he also kept creating blades during the early Meiji period (Post Samurai era). It is said that Masakuni was the last swordsmith in Kashu province who lived through the Samurai-post Samurai period (After 1868).
You can appreciate Masakuni’s craftmanship very well by looking at the beautiful Hamon (tempering line) and Jigane (steel surface pattern). If you are interested in an antique Japanese sword related to Ishikawa prefecture or Maeda clan, you would be pleased to see it.
This blade was registered under the board of education in Ishikawa 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)：70.0 cm(27.5 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 0.45 cm( 0.18 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 rough waves and the dragon floating above them are depicted. Initially, the dragon was an imaginary creature found in ancient foreign traditions or myths. Furthermore, it is a beast that is a symbol 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, 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. It was thought that the dragon would reign at the top of all animals because of its odd-looking appearance.
About the wave pattern, as waves’ movements continue endlessly, this design 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. In Japan, there is a belief that worships a dragon as a water god. As rice cultivation has flourished in this country, water has been an essential resource. So, it is understandable that the dragon motif is combined with water (wave in this case).
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Same as the Fuchi Kashira, this Menuki’s motif is also the dragon. Although we cannot see its entire surface, we can see its slender body covered with scales. Some colorings were already faded due to aging; however, it seems golden paint was initially applied to its surface and had a shiny look.
If you focus on the upper Menuki, you will find that this dragon brings a ball-shaped object in its hand. It is the Nyoi Houju (如意宝珠, Cintāmaṇi); a fantasy jewel that fulfills any desire and gives out treasure, clothes, food, and drinks. Moreover, 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 dragon king.
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 circle-shaped Tsuba has a symmetrical design. The same curved pattern is engraved in four directions. These lines make us feel as if a Yotsu-Mokkou-shaped Tsuba exists inside of this Tsuba. Although this Tsuba does not have any metal decorations such as gold or silver inlay, you could enjoy the texture of the material and its unique shape.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1016790)
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 Dec. 3rd in the 3rd year of Reiaw (2021). 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 : Ishikawa 2551
The Board of Education in Ishikawa 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 400 Japanese swords for the past three years (～2022) 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, Switzerland, 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 either EMS or FedEx(Canada).
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.
* 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.
【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.