Antique Japanese Sword Katana signed by Mino Senjuin with Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Mino Senjuin (美濃千手院), which is one of the most famous schools during the late Nanbokucho-late Muromachi period (Mid 14th-Early 16th century) in Mino province (today’s Gifu prefecture). According to NBTHK that appraised this blade, it was approximately made during the mid-late Muromachi period (Late 15th-Early 16th century).
The school was located in Akasaka village near Sekigahara, an essential hub for transportation and military bases from ancient times. It is said that the Mino Senjuin school was founded by Sensui (泉水), the son of Yamato Koku Senjuin Shigehiro. Yamato region was one of the most famous sites for sword-forging during the late Heian-Kamakura period. Sensui moved from Yamato (today’s Nara prefecture) to Akasaka village in Mino province during the Nanbokucho period.
Senjuin School in Yamato region
There was a temple called Senjudo in Nara prefecture where Senju Kannon (Thousand arms) Budha statue was worshiped. And a group of swordsmiths who lived there was known as Senjuin (千手院). They belonged to Todaji temple. Senjuin School was founded by Yukinobu, who was the son of Yoshiyuki. Yukinonobu was originally a servant for Senjuin temple, a branch of Todaiji temple during the late Heian period (1086-1107), and eventually became an Okakae Kaji for the temple.
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.
*Please keep in mind that there are a couple of Kitae on this blade. If you like to see the detailed photos, please feel free to contact us.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：67.6 cm( 26.6 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.8 cm( 0.71 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.
About the theme of this Fuchi Kashira, we would categorize it as the Kassen Zu (合戦図). It depicts a scenery of a battlefield. Gold and silvery colorings add decorativeness to this work. Samurai warriors fighting at the water side are depicted. Especially on the Kashira part, the figure of the Samurai wielding his sword as he moves forward on horseback is impressive. The Samurai and the horse were sculpted with great detail; their facial expressions and gallant appearance on the battlefield inspire the viewer.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
The figure of an animal whose body surface is covered with scales is designed as each Menuki. The upper side Menuki’s motif seems to be a dragon’s body that has been shortened and transformed into a four-legged animal, such as a dog. We estimate this surreal-looking creature might be the Kirin (麒麟, qílín), which is a kind of Zuiju (瑞獣, legendary animal) that appears in Chinese mythology. The Kirin is said to appear in a peaceful world. This sacred creature is considered the chief of the beasts and is often paired with the Houou (鳳凰, Fenghuang), the chief of the birds. Its shape resembles that of a deer, and its face resembles that of a dragon. It has the tail of an ox and the hooves of a horse and has horns. Its back is colored in five colors, its fur is yellow, and its body has scales.
Another Menuki’s motif is, we think it is probably the Shachihoko (しゃちほこ). The Shachihoko is a decoration used for the roofs of castle towers and watchtowers. The Shachi (鯱) is an imaginary creature, and it is said it has a dragon or tiger’s head and its body is a fish. Its tail bends toward the sky, and people associate its figure with the Hoko (鉾, an ancient form of Japanese long weapon). That is why this animal was named the Shachihoko. According to a theory, the Shachihoko would spit water out of its mouth when a building catches fire. Therefore, it has been put on the roof of many castles and temples in Japan. Since fire was a big worry for wooden structures, this Menuki’s maker might have prayed for safety by applying such a design.
Although they do not exist in reality, they are very auspicious beings, and they might have been incorporated into the design of sword mountings to benefit from such promising existence.
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 oval-shaped Tsuba has Kozuka and Kougai holes. About the design, the Yukiwa (雪輪, snow ring) patterns are engraved on this Tsuba. The shape of snowflakes is the motif of this pattern. It is considered snow is the sign of a plentiful harvest. Especially if snow in the New Year, people thought that year would have a bumper crop. According to a theory, the snow crystal pattern itself was born in the Muromachi period (1336-1573), and people started incorporating it as a motif of family crests since the Edo period. The Yukiwa pattern is one of the traditional designs in Japan.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
You would find the same plant patterns are designed on this scabbard. On the place hidden by the Sageo string, there is only one circled crest. This design is called the Maru-ni Katabami (丸に片喰) pattern, which describes a circled Katabami (片喰). It is categorized as a type of Katabami pattern. The Katabami is a plant whose leaf has a heart mark shape. Also, it has strong vitality that does not wither even if it is stepped on. People thought this plant design represented the prosperity of descendants; therefore, many Samurai cherished this pattern. There are several possibilities for the difference in the presence or absence of circles in the same plant crest seen on this scabbard. According to one theory, some clans used different family crests to distinguish between the head and branch families.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No.3019122)
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 December 10th in the 31th year of Heisei (2019). 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 : Yamanashi 4034
The Board of Education in Yamanashi 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 500 Japanese swords for the past three years (～2023) 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 an export permit. If you live in Japan, please click here before you make a purchase.
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 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.
*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.
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.
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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.
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