Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Muneyoshi with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was forged by Etshu Tsuruga Ju Shimosa no kami Fujiwara Muneyoshi(越州敦賀住下総守藤原宗吉) during Keichō (1596-1615: Late Azuchi Momoyama-early Edo period), according to the NBTHK’s appraisal. Muneyoshi was active in sword-forging during 1596-1624.
Esshū(越州), also known as Echizen(越前) is located in Hokuriku region, northwestern part of Japan. Tsuruga(敦賀) is the name of the city he lived in when forging this blade. Shimosa no Kami is the name of the title given to this swordsmith. It was common for Japanese swordsmiths to sign his signature with where he forged and their received titles. In this case, he signed as follows; Province name, city name, a given title, and his maker’s name.
Echizen Province was famous for forging razor-sharp, practically designed swords. The Edo government, run by the Tokugawa clan, ordered many blades from the swordsmiths in this province during the Edo period(1603-1868). We assume Muneyoshi dedicated his career forging swords for Samurais, who served Echizen Matsudaira clan, a relative linage of Tokugawa family.
The swords forged during Keicho era(1596-1615) are generally called Keicho Shinto. Osakajyo, Himeji castle, or other gorgeous-looking castles were constructed during this time.
Many feudal lords preferred fancy-looking items instead of modest ones. This trend applied to Japanese sword making as well.
This blade is stored in Tachi(太刀) Koshirae. Tachi was mainly used by an armored Samurai with one hand on horseback from the Heian period (794-1185 A.D.) until the early Muromachi period. TACHI was suspended loosely on the left waist with its edge facing the ground so that you could draw it faster to cut down soldiers on the ground.
Because of its gorgeous looking, having a Tachi-style sword mounting became a social status among Samurai. We presume this blade was owned by a high-ranked Samurai who was wealthy enough to own a blade forged by a famous swordsmith with the Tachi-style sword mounting.
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).
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 66.2 cm(26.0 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.3 cm(0.51 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.
Some kinds of plants are designed on the entire surface of this Fuchi Kashira. It is challenging to judge what types of plants they are. However, you could see that each small leaf’s veins are carefully carved. There are a variety of motifs that have been designed for sword mountings such as flowers, leaves. In designs that are made up mostly of leaves like this work, the Karakusa (唐草, arabesque) or autumn plant patterns are often seen.
Many plants have been used as motifs. And in many cases, each of them has been regarded as a symbol of good luck, for example, longevity, the prosperity of descendants, vitality, good health, etcetera. In addition, the plant pattern looks elegant and gives a graceful impression for the appearance of the sword when applied to the sword’s outfit. It might be one of the reasons why these motifs have been preferred.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
This Menuki’s motif is a dragon. It seems these dragons have snake-liked elongated bodies covered with scales. Initially, the dragon is an imaginary creature found in ancient traditions or myths. Furthermore, it is a symbolic beast of auspicious signs. Its body is likened to nine animals: antlers are deer, the head is a camel, eyes are demons, the neck is a snake, belly is Mizuchi (蛟, mythical animal in Japan which looks like a snake and have a horn and four legs), scales are fish, claws are falcons, palms are tigers, and ears are cows. It was thought that the dragon would reign at the top of all animals because of its odd-looking appearance. Still today, this creature design maintains its meaning as the all-purpose auspicious pattern, and lots of people appreciate it.
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.
Aoi-Gata Tsuba. Aoi is a name of Japanese plant. One of the most famous Samurais, Tokugawa Ieyasu, who opened the government in Edo city (Today’s Tokyo) in 1603 A.D. after winning the battle of Sekigahara in 1600, used this plant motif for his family crest. If you focus on the corners of this Tsuba, you will find four heart marks. It is called the Inome (猪の目, boar’s eyes) pattern. This design has been being used since ancient times. Some people believed that the Inome design works as an amulet to protect them from evil spirits or fire. Also, it is said it would bring good luck. Today, this pattern is often found in traditional Japanese architectures such as shrines or temples and used Gegyo (懸魚, decoration under the roof, where the roof is jointed) or metal fittings for hiding timber joints.
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 25th in the first year of Reiwa (2019). 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 : Kagoshima 22989
The Board of Education in Kagoshima 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.
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.
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We have shipped authentic Japanese swords to the USA, Canada, Mexico, UK, Germany , France and Hong Kong. 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.
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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】
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. When you purchase a Japanese sword from us, you can get a Free sword maintenance kit, which appears in this video.