Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Nagahide with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Bungo Koku Nagahide(豊後国長秀) in October in the second year of the Bunkyu era(1862 : The end of the Edo period).
Bungo Koku is the name of the domain Masahide lived when he forged this blade. According to historical records, the swordsmith’s name Nagahide lasted three generations(1789-1868), and based on the date on the tang, we believe the third-gen Nagahide signed it.
Generally speaking, Kyushu island was prosperous in sword-making because of the long trading history with Asian countries. To gain an advantage in trading, many feudal lords on this island fought against each other. The swordsmiths in the Bungo domain received many orders as the demand increased among those lords, especially during the warring state period(Sengoku Jidai).
We believe the swordsmiths in this region prospered because of their geographic location and natural resources. The material of Japanese swords(high-quality iron sand and charcoal) was abundant in the mount Sobo Katamuki, located in this domain.
After the warring state period, the fame of blades forged in the Bungo domain became nationwide during the Edo period. They were popular among Samurai for their practicality and sharpness. We assume this blade was made for a high-ranked Samurai. We can appreciate the skilled craftsmanship of Nagahide by simply looking at it.
On the upper part of blade, we see Homare Kizu (誉疵), which tells us that this blade was used in a battle. Homare Kizu is considered a good characteristic of the blade that tells us its history.
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.
*Please keep in mind that there are a couple of Kitae Kizu on this blade. If you like to know the detailed condition, please feel free to contact us.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 70.6 cm( 24.9 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.21 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.
Homare Kizu: Kizu made during fighting. It is considered a good characteristic of the blade.
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.
Crabs are designed on this Fuchi Kashira. As crabs walk sideways, they were compared to “Oukou Kunshi (横行君子),” which means going my way against authority. Samurais might have felt the strong mind that they would not submit to authority and stick to their own beliefs.
If you focus on the Kashira part, you will find an animal stretching his arm and grabbing the crab. It is challenging to judge what is due to the damage to this animal’s face; it is probably a monkey. In Japan, there is a famous folktale that treats a family of crabs and a mean monkey. The outline of this story is, the monkey tricked the crab seeking only his own interests. However, this monkey was revenge by the crab and his comrades. There are some differences depending on the region, but this is the general story. This Fuchi Kashira’s design might have been quoted from this tradition. Today, it is familiar as one of the old tales to be told to small children, but the former owner of this sword might have learned some lessons from this story and chose such a design to engrave in his heart.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
In common with the Fuchi Kashira, this Menuki’s motif is also crabs. Two crabs are arranged side by side. It remains its glossy black color. As Japan is an island country surrounded by seas, marine life motifs have been familiar with the Japanese since ancient times. People enjoy making unique designs for various items. So, it is understandable that the crab motif is incorporated into sword mountings.
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.
Yotsu-Mokkou-shaped Tsuba is made from iron. The Mokkou (木瓜) shape, its origin is a shape of eggs that are rest in a nest. When a quince (it is written 木瓜 in Japanese) is cut into round slices, its cross-section looks similar to this shape; therefore, it was named the Mokkougata Tsuba. Yotsu-Mokkougata (a combination of four Mokkou shapes) Tsuba is often seen as this Tsuba is categorized.
Same as the Fuchi Kashira and the Menuki, crabs are designed for this Tsuba. One of them is colored with silvery metal. By using the same animal motif, the entire appearance of this sword’s Koshirae has beautiful unity.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Plants are designed for this Saya. This motif might be the Inaho (稲穂, ears of rice). Since ancient times, rice has been worshiped as an essential food and considered a symbol of wealth. In addition, it has been treated like a treasure. Some people believe the god dwells in it. Therefore, the Inaho pattern has often been designed as a crest of the Inari (稲荷) shrine, which enshrines the Inari god, who is regarded as the god of grain and agriculture. Also, this plant motif is seen for family crests. It is one of the familiar designs for Japanese people. This design might have had chosen in the hope of a plentiful harvest and a prosperous life.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No.1016497)
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 August 27th in the third year of Reiwa (2021). 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 : Osaka 21026
The Board of Education in Osaka 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 400 Japanese swords for the past three years (～2022) 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.
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* 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 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】
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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