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Updated: 23 May 2024

Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Minamoto Masao
NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate


DELIVERY TIME : Approx. 1-1.5 months
*We ship from Tokyo, Japan. There might be delay in shipment depending on countries.

USA, Canada, Mexico, Germany , Belgium, France, Finland, Hong Kong, Australia
*Please contact us prior to purchase if your country isn’t listed.

INCLUDED : NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate, Shirasaya Case, Koshirae Mounting, Traditional Sword Carrying Case, Sword Maintenance Kit, Full Exportation Support

Category Katana ( SHIN SHIN TO)
Age 6th year of the Ansei era (1859)
Swordsmith Minamoto Masao (源正雄)
Certificate NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
Location Ezo province (Today’s Hokkaido prefecture)
Blade Size Cutting Edge Length: 70.5 cm (27.7 inches)
Curvature: 2.0 cm (0.79 inches)

More photos& videos available on request. Please feel free to contact us. 

In stock

Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Minamoto Masao with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate 



 This blade was signed by Minamoto Masao (源正雄) in the 6th year of the Ansei era (1859: the end of the Edo period). The signature also says that this blade was made for Nishino Minamoto Suketoshi (西野源祐寿). He forged this blade in Ezochi, which is the old name of today’s Hokkaido. He used iron sand produced in the area. 

 Masao is ranked as a top-tier swordsmith at the end of the Edo period. Masao’s birth name was Suzuki Jiro (鈴木次郎). He was born in Mino province (Today’s Gifu prefecture). He was famous for being the best apprentice of Minamoto Kiyomaro (源清麿), one of the most renowned swordsmiths at the end of the Edo period. Masao was trusted by Kiyomaro so much that he sometimes did a Daisaku for Kiyomaro. Daisaku is a regular act where an apprentice or a child of the swordsmith signs his master’s name with his master’s permission or forges a blade on behalf of the master. That means that his master highly acknowledged Kunitomo’s craftsmanship. That is also why there aren’t many remaining blades signed by Masao, who dedicated his career to helping his master.

 It is said that Masao became an independent swordsmith in the 6th year of the Ka-Ei era (1853). He first resided in Okachimachi, Edo (today’s Tokyo).  It is worth noting the rarity of Masao’s work in Hokkaido, given his short stay there. In the 5th year of the Ansei era (1857), Masao was invited by Matsumae domain, a direct retainer of Tokugawa Shogunate located on today’s Hokkaido island. During that time, the Edo government was building Goryokaku (五稜郭), the star-shaped fortress in Hakodate city, and opening an iron factory that used iron sand from Hakodate.  We assume the government needed Masao’s skills to ensure the quality of the steel Hakodate produced. He served Matsumae domain exclusively, dedicating his skills to the domain. His stay in Hokkaido was just about three years. His return to Edo after finishing his task in Hokkaido marked the end of a unique chapter in his career. Overall, his active period was only 12 years (1853-1866).


The Background History

 Japan enjoyed a relatively peaceful time from the early Edo period to the mid-Edo period(the 1600s-1760s) because of the stable economy and the powerful government run by Tokugawa Shogun. Samurai didn’t have many opportunities to utilize his Katana sword in public or on battlefields during this time. Thus, they carried their swords more as a symbol of their social status. The demand for weapons decreased accordingly compared to the previous Warring state period called Sengoku Jidai (1467-1600).

 As the end of the Edo period(1764-1876) approached, the Japanese sword’s role underwent a dramatic transformation. With the spread of poverty in Japan and the ensuing civil unrest, the sword became a crucial tool in maintaining public safety, a stark contrast to its symbolic role in the earlier, more peaceful periods.

 The mounting pressure from foreign countries to open Japanese borders, coupled with internal strife, forced the Samurai to order swords that not only served as symbols of their status but also as practical tools for survival. Many swordsmiths, including Masao, dedicated their efforts to forging high-quality, practical blades for their masters, preparing for the battles that seemed inevitable in those tumultuous times.

There was a civil war between Tokugawa’s military government and the new Meiji government at the end of the Edo period. That means the original owner of this Katana might have seen the moment when Samurai’s life changed forever. This blade has a strong looking and must have been practical to use in that demanding time. 


 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.



【 Blade】
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa) 70.5 cm (27.7 inches)
Curvature(Sori)2.0 cm (0.79 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

Kissaki: Kissaki is the tip of the Japanese sword.

 This blade has a distinctive Hada on the Kissaki. It is called Masame Hada. Masame (柾目) means straight grain in Japanese, which is often seen in the work of Hosho school. Masame Hada is the Japanese sword terminology for the Hada (steel surface pattern of the Japanese sword) that looks like straight grain when one cuts a tree in half.And it usually is combined with Itame Hada, another grain pattern that looks like wood-grain seen in the Japanese sword. 


NakagoNakago 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 theme of the Tsuba, Fuchi Kashira, Menuki and Kojiri is Gosan-no-Kiri (五三の桐) .

 The Kiri pattern generally comprises three standing straight inflorescences and three leaves. The number of blooming flowers at each inflorescence means the ranks of this design. The Gosan-no-Kiri (五三の桐) pattern is a popular design that the paulownia motif is used. According to tradition, the Houou (鳳凰, Fenghuang) rests its wings at the paulownia tree; therefore, it has come to be regarded as a holy plant. Cherry blossom is one of the seasonal things of spring, and Japanese people have appreciated this plant for a long time. A theory says that the god of grain exists in cherry blossoms. Therefore, this flower pattern has been treated as the symbol of a plentiful harvest. The Karakusa pattern is a design in which vine stems and leaves are twined and make curves. Since ivy has a strong vitality and grows without interruption, people regarded this design as a symbol of prosperity and longevity.


Fuchi-KashiraA pair of matching sword fittings that cover the upper and bottom parts of its sword hilt.

Tsuka and MenukiTsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.

Tsuba and HabakiTsuba 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. 

Saya Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.  

Authentication PaperNBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1017259)

  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 March 2nd in the 4th year 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 : Aichi 26233

 The Board of Education in Fukuoka 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.



【About us】
 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.

【Payment Method】
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, Canada, Mexico, Germany , Belgium, France, Finland, Hong Kong, 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.

* If you live in the UK and like to purchase an authentic Japanese sword, please contact us first and 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】
 Please contact us through email, Facebook Messenger or Live Chat if you have any questions. You can find each icon on the right side of the website. Please click one of them to reach us. We will reply to you within 1-2 business days.

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.

In stock

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