Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Bishu Osafune Sukesada with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Bishu Osafune Sukesada (備州長船祐定) in August, the 12th year of the Eisho era (1515: Late Muromachi period). Bishu（備州）is a larger area in today’s Okayama＆Hiroshima prefecture. Bishu consists of Bizen(備前), Bitchu（備中） and Bingo (備後). Osafune is the school’s name located in Bizen province. Sukesada is his maker’s name.
Those who forged swords in the Bizen province(Okayama prefecture) at the end of the Muromachi Period(1492-1569 A.D) are called Matsu Bizen(Matsu means the end). Sukesada school was one of the most famous schools, and it flourished for generations among Osafune schools(The head branch). There were various styles forged by the generations of Sukesada during this period. Approximately 60 swordsmiths used Sukesada as his maker’s name in the Samurai history. In that sense, the swordsmith’s name “Sukesada” worked as a kind of brand that attracted many Samurai.
The swordsmiths in Bizen produced many swords during the Muromachi period as it was in the middle of the Sengoku period(Warring state period). The demand for weapons increased among strong feudal lords. It would be nice to have a piece forged in the warring state period when there was so much rivalry between warlords. It was possible that this blade was ordered by a high-class Samurai and he might have carried it in a battlefield.
BIZEN is located near the Chugoku Mountains, where iron sands, one of the essential materials for making Japanese swords, were abundant. Furthermore, BIZEN swordsmiths had close access to Yoshi River, where they could find water and charcoal. This geological location contributed to the swordsmiths to forge high-quality refined blades. We presume BIZEN was quite active in sword-forging from ancient times. It is said that BIZEN DEN was created by groups of swordsmiths there after the late Heian era(Late 12th century ).
This blade is relatively short but has no trace of getting shortened (Suriage) in the past. Considering these facts, we believe this blade was primarily made for one-hand combat. The user could hold this sword with one hand, a popular way to fight during the late Muromachi period.
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)： 66.0 cm( 26.0 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 2.27 cm( 0.89 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.
Peonies are designed on this Fuchi Kashira, and golden paint is applied to these flowers. This coloring adds decorativeness to this work. Each flower is engraved carefully, and its elegant figure is depicted gorgeouslly. Peony represents happiness, wealth, nobleness, and gorgeousness. This flower pattern has been treated as a kind of good-omen motif; people regarded it as a rich harvest sign. Peony is called “Botan” in Japanese. When we write this flower’s name in Japanese, its second letter means mountain hermit medicine that would give us eternal youth. Based on the meaning of this letter, the peony pattern symbolizes eternal youth and longevity.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Each Menuki is an element of the Takaradukushi (宝尽くし) pattern. It is the combination of several treasures. Some people believed these treasures would bring good fortune. The upper Menuki, this motif is probably the Kinnou (金嚢); it is a bag to store treasures. A theory says it has been regarded as a money charm. The lower side Menuki, you would find an Uchide-no-Koduchi (打ち出の小槌, mallet of good luck) and coins. It is believed that this mallet would fulfill one’s wish, or defeat one’s enemy. The former owner of this Katana might have chosen such auspicious designs wishing to grasp luck with money.
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.
Aorigata (障泥形) Tsuba made from iron. This Tsuba’s theme is the Karakusa (唐草, arabesque) design, and Karakusas are inlaid with gold. It is a pattern in which stems and leaves of vines are twined and make curves. Since ivy has a strong vitality and grows up without interruption, people regarded this design as a symbol of prosperity and longevity. Vine is called Tsuru (蔓) in Japanese, and it has another pronunciation; “Man.” There is a word 万 (it is also read Man), which means thousand. In the Karakusa pattern, leaves and vines are connected like Obi (帯, belt). The word “帯” can also be read as “Tai.” Due to its pronunciation, the term “代 (Tai)” is associated. From this word-association game, an idiom 万代 is associated, and it means a thousand generations. In other words, we could imagine that people used this design wishing prosperity and longevity for their clans for a long time.
This Tsuba was appraised as a Hozon Tosogu on Dec 22nd in the 21st year of the Heisei era (2010). According to the certificate, this Tsuba has the Koudai Higo (後代肥後)-style.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
The Sagari-Fuji (下がり藤: Wisterias) pattern is designed on this Saya. As wisterias have strong fertility and grow being entwined with other trees, people regarded this flower as a symbol of longevity and prosperity for future generations. Also, its Japanese name Fuji (藤) is likened to another word Fushi, which is written as “不死,” which means immortality. According to a theory, that is why the Fujiwara (藤原) family, who reached the height of glory in the Heian period (794-1185), used this motif for their family name and family crest.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1014687)
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 25th in the 3rd year of Reiwa (2021). They appraised it as Tokubetsu Hozon Touken, the blade especially worth preserving for Japanese society. The purchaser will receive these original certificates as well. We can also translate what is written into English and make a PDF file for your record if you request.
Registration Number : Tokyo 4188
The Board of Education in Tokyo 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.
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, 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.
* If you live in Australia and like to purchase an authentic Japanese sword, please click here to know the detail.
* If you live in the UK 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.
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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.
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.