Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Mishina Hiromichi with NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Kuwana Jyu Gisensai Mishina Hiromichi (桑名住義専斎三品広道) in April, the third year of the Keio era (1867:The end of the Edo period). The back of the signature also says the steel was made by using holy fire called Imibi (齋火), purified by Tado Shinto Shrine (多度大社).
Kuwana Jyu means that Hiromasa lived in Kuwana in Mie prefecture when he signed this blade. Gisensai is the title named by himself, and Mishina is the name of the school Hiromichi belonged to. Hiromichi was active in sword-forging during 1848-1868 (The end of the Edo period). He is known as a younger brother of the 9th Mutsu no Kami Omichi (陸奥守大道). While he mainly resided in Kuwana city, there is also a record of him forging swords in Iga city. His first son Mishina Hirofusa(三品広房) is also a well-known swordsmith.
Mishina school was founded by the first-gen Mutsu no Kami Omichi (陸奥守大道). It is said that initially, he was from Mino province, exclusively forging blades for Shingen Takeda, a famous feudal lord. Later on, he moved to Kyoto by bringing his four sons and founded his school in Kyoto. They were Iga no Kami Kinmichi(伊賀守金道)、Izumi no Kami Rai Kinmichi(和泉守来金道), Tanba no Kami Yoshimichi(丹波守吉道) and Echu no kami Masatoshi(越中守正俊). His sons were known as Kyoto Gokaji(京都五鍛冶), prestigious swordsmiths forging in Kyoto in the early Edo period.
Mishina school was prosperous throughout the Edo period and spread to other parts of Japan, such as Kuwana. And the superb craftsmanship of Mishina school was passed down for generations. Hiromichi is a good example, and you can see excellent artistry from this blade.
Openwork (Ranma Sukashibori)
The blade has Ranma Sukashibori, a traditional openwork technique. We assume whoever owned this blade in Samurai times must have been wealthy enough to order such intricate design on the blade.
You can find the design of a Tsurugi (Double-edged blade) and dragon this blade. This blade is Kurikaraken, which is the sword that Fudo Myo-O (不動明王, acalanātha) holds with his right hand. Fudo Myo-O is one of the objects of worship in Buddhism. According to a theory, it is the incarnation of Dainichi Nyorai (大日如来, Mahāvairocana, the principal image of esoteric Buddhism). Kurikara-ken was named after its appearance that Kurikara Ryu-O (倶利伽羅龍王, dragon) is winding around the sword. It is believed Kurikara-Ken could cut off worldly desires: Sandoku (三毒). Sandoku is the three fundamental earthly desires; Ton (貪, greed), Jin (瞋, anger, grudge), Chi (癡, delusion, complaint). The dragon itself is also a popular theme for decorating the Japanese sword. In Japan, people appreciate the dragon design as an all-purpose auspicious pattern.
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.
*There is partial black rust on the Mune (backbone of the blade), we can have this part polished by a professional polisher without any additional charge if you purchase this Katana.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：71.2 cm ( 28.0 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 1.2 cm( 0.47 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.
Horimono：Kurikara Ken and Dragon (Technique : Sukashibori)
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 Tonbo (蜻蛉, dragonfly) is designed for this Fuchi Kashira. The golden metal is applied to its body, and silvery metal is applied to its wings. This coloring makes an ornamental look for this work. Although there are minor damages due to aging, it remains relatively in good condition.
Dragonfly has been inhabiting since a long time ago in Japan. As they bag preys quickly, its heroic figure was sometimes the object of belief. During the Warring States period, the dragonfly was called Kachimushi (勝ち虫) because of its fearless character; it moves only forward, not backward. Above all, Japanese people have favored the combination of the dragonfly with the iris flower or the arrow. Allow was one of the Samurai’s primary weapons. Understandably, it was associated with battlefields for Samurais. Also, the iris flower is called Shoubu (菖蒲) in Japanese, and there is the word Shoubu (勝負) which means battle. So, Shoubu (菖蒲, iris flower) and Shoubu (勝負, fight) those two wards have the same pronunciation; therefore, the iris flower pattern reminds Samurais battle.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
You would find something like a monster from the gaps of the Tsukamaki thread. You might feel as if it is staring at you, resting its chin on its hands. In Japan, there are several famous spider monsters such as The Jorou Gumo (女郎蜘蛛/絡新婦), or the Tsuchi Gumo (土蜘蛛). We would categorize this Menuki’s motif might be the latter one.
The Tsuchi Gumo is also called the Yama Gumo (山蜘蛛). The name Tsuchi Gumo initially referred to powerful families who did not obey the government and emperor in the old days in Japan. With time, the Tsuchi Gumo was recognized as a kind of monster. And it has been treated in stories or theaters. For example, a popular Noh (能, classical Japanese dance-drama) title treats the Tsuchi Gumo. Its outline is as follows. When Minamoto-no Yorimitsu (源頼光, Samurai in the middle of Heian period) was sick in bed, a priest visited his house and threw a thousand spider’s threads. So, this priest was a spider monster. Yorimitsu slashed at this monster with his sword Hizamaru (膝丸, this sword name), and the monster ran away from there. Since then, this sword was changed its name as Kumokiri (蜘蛛切, 切 means cut in Japanese). This Menuki’s design might have been inspired this virtuous sword’s legend.
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.
We think this Tsuba’s design might be grain or wave patterns. The irregular curved pattern creates an elegant atmosphere for this work. Due to aging, there are tiny damages, such as minor dents and scratches. We hope you will enjoy them as antique textures. This Tsuba matches well with other sword mountings’ designs when it is put into the handle. Please enjoy the entire look of the Koshirae, of course, with the sword’s appearance itself.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1014015)
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 Feb 28th in the 2nd year of Reiwa (2020). 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 : Gifu 36906
The Board of Education in Gifu 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.
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.