Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Kunishige with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Yamashiro Daijyo Minamoto Kunishige(山城大掾源国重). He was most active in sword-forging during the early Edo period(1645-1648). Yamashiro Daijyo is the honorable title given to this swordsmith in the second year of the Shoho era(1646).
He was the younger brother of Otsuki Yogoro Kunishige(third-gen Kunishige), the most highly-regarded swordsmith in Mizuta school, located in Bitchu province(today’s Okayama prefecture). The real name of Yamato Daijyo Kunishige is Ichizo(市蔵). He also forged swords in Edo city with his son, the second-gen Yamashiro Daijyo Kunishige.
Mizuta school was founded by the descendants of Ko AOE Tametsugu(古青江為次) in the late Muromachi period(1530-). Tametsugu is one of the most famous swordsmiths in the late Heian period-early Kamakura period(Late 12C-Early 13C). One of his works is designated as a national treasure of Japan today.
AOE(青江) is the name of the school Tametsugu belonged to. It was located in Kurashiki city, Okayama prefecture today. AOE school was prosperous during the Kamakura-Nanbokucho era(-Late 12C-Late 14C), but it almost disappeared in the Muromachi period. However, because of the descendants of Tametsugu, the Ko AOE-style sword became popular again. And they revitalized the school by changing its name to Bitchu Koku Mizuta school.
The Bitchu Koku Mizuta school flourished from 1530-1700(The end of the Sengoku period to the mid-Edo period) in today’s Okayama prefecture. It lasted until the end of the Edo period. There were about 60 swordsmiths who belonged to Mizuta school, and Kunishige was the most prestigious smith name only selected swords maker were allowed to use in this school. During the Edo period, many Kunishige swordsmiths moved to other parts of Japan.
There were two major groups in Kunishige swordsmiths during the Edo period. One is called Oyogo Kunishige school(大与五国重派), lead by Master Otsuki（大月）and the other is called Kono school(河野派) led by Tameie(為家). Since he was the younger brother of Otsuki Yogoro Kunishige, this Kunishige belonged to Oyogo Kunishige school. Yamato Daijyo Kunishige was a prestigious swordsmith. He used Kunishige as his maker’s name and received the honorable title(Yamato Daijyo).
Okayama prefecture is located near the Chugoku Mountains, where iron sands, one of the essential materials for making Japanese swords, were abundant. Furthermore, the swordsmiths in Okayama prefecture had close access to the Yoshi River to find pure water and high-quality charcoal, which are essential to make great swords. This geological location contributed to the swordsmiths to forge high-quality refined blades. We presume Bichu was quite active in sword-forging from ancient times.
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)： 63.5 cm( 25.0 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 0.7 cm( 0.27 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.
This Fuchi Kashira has a basic design. This work’s simple appearance matches well with other parts of the Koshirae when it is put into the handle. As the Menuki is made of a decorative motif (please check the explanation about the Menuki below), this Fuchi Kashira brings out the gorgeousness of the Menuki’s design. We hope you will enjoy the texture of its material itself instead of ornamental decorations such as gold or silver inlay.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Chrysanthemums are designed for this Menuki. Although most of the gildings have already come off due to aging, it seems golden metal was initially applied to it. A long time ago, the chrysanthemum was used as a medicine for obtaining a long life, and it was brought to Japan from the Continent with this thought in the Nara period (648-781). Chrysanthemum symbolizes fall, and people have appreciated it very much 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 plant motif is often seen in sword mountings; it shows how the chrysanthemum design has been popular among Japanese people.
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.
The Mutsu-Mokkou-shaped Tsuba is made from iron. The Mokkou (木瓜) shape, its origin is a shape of eggs. When a quince (it is written 木瓜 in Japanese) is cut into round slices, its cross-section looks similar to this shape; therefore, it was named the Mokkougata Tsuba. The Yotsu-Mokkougata (四ツ木瓜, a combination of four Mokkou shapes) Tsuba is often seen.
This Tsuba looks like a flower. Its design was probably decided in relation to the Menuki’s motif (chrysanthemum). This work has a neat design, and its symmetrical shape is harmonious and beautiful from any direction when it is fitted into the handle.
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 Aug 12th in the 22th year of Hisei (2010). 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 : Osaka 96563
The Board of Education in Osaka 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.
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 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, Canada, Mexico, UK, 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 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 Powder, Peg remover, Oil Applicator). By watching the video instruction above , you can enjoy learning how to maintain your Japanese sword while appreciating it.