Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Morihide with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
According to NBTHK’s appraisal, this blade was forged by Choshu Morihide(長州盛秀) during the Ka-Ei era(嘉永:1848-1855). Morihide was one of the most renowned swordsmith living in the Choshu domain, Yamaguchi prefecture, during the Tenpo-Keio era(1831-1868). He was initially an apprentice of Seiryuken Moritoshi(青龍軒盛俊), who was also a famous swordsmith during the late Edo period.
During Ka-Ei era, he finished his apprenticeship and became an independent swordsmith. And, he started to exclusively serve Mori clan, who ruled Choshu domain at the end of the Edo period. If a swordsmith works only for a specific clan, he is called Okakaekaji. Therefore, there were only selected skilled swordsmiths who became Okakaekaji. What is also interesting about Morihide is the fact that he was Samurai in that domain.
He called himself Senryushi(潜龍子: A hidden child of Dragon). His real name was Fujimoto Samon(藤本左門), and he also signed as Suo Yamaguchi Shi Morihide(Samurai of Suo city, Yamaguchi prefecture).
His master Moritoshi was fortunate enough to learn great sword-forging technique from Chounsai Tsunatoshi(長運斎綱俊) and Koyama Munetsugu(固山宗次). They are historically famous swordsmiths. And Moritoshi passed these excellent skills to his student, Morihide.
We assume Morhide forged many swords for members or vassals of Mori clans during the late Edo period.
This blade was registered by the board of education in Yamaguchi prefecture in the 28th of Showa era(1953). We assume this blade had been being preserved by descendants of Samurai family for generations, judging from where it was registered.
This blade is appraised as Tokubetsu Hozon certificate issued by NBTHK. This authentication paper was only given to Japanese swords, especially worth preserving by Nihon Bijutsu Touken Hozon Kyokai(the Society for the Preservation of the Japan Art Sword). We believe Tsuba, Fuchi Kashira and Menuki were made at around the same time the blade was forged.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 70.3 cm( 27.67 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.4 cm( 0.55 inches)
For more detailed measurement of the blade/sword mounting
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 wave pattern is decorated on this Fuchi Kashira. The same theme is applied to Menuki and Tsuba. A family crest is also designed and is colored with golden metal. This family crest is called Hachisuka-Manji (蜂須賀卍) or Maru-ni Manji Mon (丸に卍文). The Manji motif itself is one of the patterns brought to Japan with the introduction of Buddhism. A theory says it is initially related to Hinduism. This design represents luck and has been used as an emblem of temples.
Hachisuka Koroku (蜂須賀 小六, his real name is Masakatsu), who was one of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s oldest vassals, used this design as his family crest. The Hachisuka family was a feudal lord based in Hachisuka District in Owari Province (尾張, today’s western part of Aichi prefecture). Koroku also temporally served under famous Samurais such as Saito Dozan or Oda Nobutaka. In any case, Koroku decided on Hideyoshi as the lord of his life. And he remained loyal to Hideyoshi until his death. Many other Samurai families used the Manji pattern for their family crests; it shows how popular this design was among Samurais.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
A man who is holding a rod and a sea bream is hanging down from this rod. Seeing this appearance, we would guess this Menuki’s motif is Ebisu (恵比寿) God. Ebisu God is a member of Shichifukujin (七福神, the Seven Gods of good fortune). Usually, he brings a fishing rod and a sea bream: so that he was initially regarded as the God of fishing. In this work, he has a friendly appearance with a soft expression; it suggests that Ebisu God has been one of the familiar beliefs for Japanese people since ancient times. Ports will be done well by the comings and goings of ships. Safe voyages will bring profitable businesses; therefore, Ebisu became famous as the God of trade. Also, in several areas, Ebisu is believed to the God of good match or wealth.
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.
Oval-shaped Tsuba made from iron. Its Mimi (耳, edge of Tsuba) is covered with golden metal. This decorative technique makes a gorgeous beauty for the work. It also has practicality, such as preventing the wear of the edge part. Or, it prevents the wear and tear of the Kimono if the edge damages it by touching the cloth.
It seems this Tsuba depicts a scenery of a battle at the waterside. Samurais are facing each other across the river or sea. They look at enemies with stern expressions, holding their swords: their looks make us feel tense in mortal combat. Same as this Tsuba, many Tsuba works describe battlefields. Samurais might have wished to become brave soldiers like Samurais, who were depicted in those Tsubas.
This Tsuba was signed by Goshu no Jyu Unto (江州之住雲ト) in Shiga prefecture during the late Edo period.
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 May 30th in the 29th year of Heisei (2017). 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 : Yamaguchi 3788
The Board of Education in Yamaguchi prefecture issued a registration paper for this sword . In order to obtain this paper, the sword needs to be traditionally hand forged. With this paper, its owner can legally own an authentic Japanese sword in Japan. This paper will need to be returned to the board of education when the sword being shipped abroad but you can receive a copy of it.
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【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 300 Japanese swords to amazing owners who appreciate its historical value.
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We normally ship by EMS(Express Mail Service) provided by Japan Post. When we receive an order from the USA or Canada we will use FedEx instead as EMS temporarily stops shipping from Japan to those countries due to COVID-19.
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【How to make sure the condition】
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【The Art of Nihonto(Japanese Sword)】
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【A Guide to Japanese Sword Maintenance】
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