Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Nobutaka with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Hoki no Kami Fujiwara Nobutaka (伯耆守藤原信高). Based on the characteristic of the signature, we believe the second-gen Nobutaka forged it. The second-gen was active in Owari province during 1624-1644( Kan-Ei era: Early Edo period). The swordsmith’s name “Nobutaka” lasted 6th generation during the Edo period. Hoki no Kami was an honorable title given to this swordsmith, and the 1st-5th generation received this title. It is said that Nobutaka was a descendant of Kanekuni who belonged to Mino koku San-Ami school.
Nobuta was one of the most famous swordsmiths in the Owari province. The generations of Nobutaka served Owari Tokugawa clan, a relative family of Tokugawa Shogunate who ruled Edo government during the Edo period.
The second-gen Nobutaka( real name Kawamura Hoki) was born as the son of the first-gen Nobutaka in the 8th year of the Keicho era(1603) in Owari province(today’s Aichi prefecture). The second-gen received Hoki no Kami title in the 10th year of the Kanei era(1633) when he was 31 years old. He was appointed as an Okakaekaji for Tokugawa Yoshinao, the first-gen head of Owari Tokugawa clan in his career. Okakaekaji is a swordsmith who exclusively served a particular clan or feudal lord.
He let his son(the third-gen Nobutaka) run his school in the second year of the Kanbun era(1662) when he was 60 years old. After that, he became a Buddist priest, and he changed his name to Sangetsu Heiyu(山月閉遊). There is a record of him signing Nobutaka Nyudo(信高入道). Nyudo indicates that he was a monk when he signed a blade. He died at the age of 87 in the second year of the Genroku era(1689).
The first-gen Nobutaka was originally from Mino province, which is famous for Japanese sword tradition, MINO-DEN. The first-gen moved to Owari castle at the beginning of the Keicho era(the late 1590s). And he relocated to Nagoya after Nagoya castle was built. There were many swordsmiths from Mino province who moved to Owari province. They are called Owari Seki. The most famous swordsmiths categorized as Owari Seki are the first-gen Hoki no Kami Nobutaka, Hida no Kami Ujifusa, and Sagami no Kami Masatsune. All the highly refined sword-forging techniques the first-gen Nobutaka had passed down to the second-gen. You can see outstanding craftsmanship from this blade.
As Owari province(today’s Aichi prefecture) was active in martial arts during the early Edo period, there was much demand among high-class Samurai to order swords forged by the second-gen Nobutaka. He often worked with his son(the third-gen Nobutaka), and there is some remaining work where you can see both signatures.
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.
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.
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.
Dragons swimming in the sea are designed for this Fuchi Kashira. The gold-colored metal is applied to these dragons. Initially, the dragon is an imaginary creature found in ancient traditions or myths. Furthermore, it is regarded as 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 the 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.
Also, in Japan, there is a belief that worships dragon as a water god. As mentioned above, this Fuchi Kashira’s motif is a combination of dragons and the sea (that is, water). This faith might have influenced this work’s design.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
This Menuki’s motif is probably the Choji (丁子, clove). It remains its glossy metal color, and some parts are colored with golden paint. The Choji was once treated as a miracle cure for eternal youth. According to a theory, Samurais used this plant as a medicine for analgesic effect and anti‐inflammatory action. It had other uses for Samurais. For example, they distilled Choji’s flowers and branches and made oil. Samurais used this oil as a sword rust preventive, insect repellent, and incense. It was also used as the Bintsuke (鬢付け, Japanese pomade) oil. In addition, as it has a strong smell, Samurais thought it would protect them from evil spirits. It is said that some Samurais perfumed their armor and helmet by burning incense, wishing self-defense before they went to battlefields. So, the Choji was a familiar plant for Samurais, and we can imagine that its motif was popular among them.
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.
Circle-shaped Tsuba made from iron. This Tsuba has Kozuka and Kougai holes and has a well-balanced symmetry design. The cobweb is the motif of this work. As spiders nest and catch prey with their web, people considered the spider pattern had the meaning of “grabbing happiness” or “attracting things.” The cobweb was treated in Nihonshoki (日本書紀, Nihongi, The Chronicles of Japan), Kokin Wakashu (古今和歌集, an early anthology of Japanese poetry) and also Heike Monogatari (平家物語, The Tale of the Heike). When the cobweb goes down in the morning, it was thought, “the person you are waiting for will come.” The cobweb pattern has been appreciated thanks to its beautiful nest shape and its meaning. People have enjoyed using this motif for Kimono (traditional Japanese costume) or ceramics.
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 March 15th in the 30st year of Heisei (2018). 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 : Mie 21342
The Board of Education in Mie 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.
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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 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.
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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. 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.
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