Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Osaka Yoshimichi with NBTHK Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Tanba no Kami Yoshimichi(丹波守吉道), whose real name was Mishina Kinuemon (三品金右衛門). He was active in sword-forging during the early Edo period (Mid-Late 17th century ) in Osaka. He belonged to Osaka Mishina school, one of the most prestigious schools back then.
The swordsmith Yoshimichi prospered in Osaka and Kyoto for generations during the Edo period. And to distinguish the two Yoshimichi, The one in Osaka is called Osaka Yoshimichi, and the other one is called Kyo Yoshimichi. And, we believe this blade was created by the first-gen Osaka Yoshimichi.
The first-gen Osaka Yoshimichi was born in the third year of the Keicho era (1598) as the second son of the first-gen Kyo Tanba no Kami Yoshimichi in Kyoto. His father was one of the most skilled sword makers in Kyoto city, and Yoshimichi learned sword-forging skills from him first. Later, he received the honorable official title Tanba no Kami and moved to Osaka city during the Seiho era (1644-1648). He was especially active in sword-forging during the Jo-Ou era (1652-1655). He became an independent swordsmith in Osaka city and made the fame of Mishina school spread in Osaka.
The first-gen Kyo Tanba no Kami Yoshimichi belonged to Kyoto Mishina school and was one of the sons of the Mishina school’s founder. Mishina school was created by the first-gen Mutsu no Kami Omichi (陸奥守大道), also known as Kanemichi. It is said that initially, Kanemichi was from Mino province, exclusively forging blades for Shingen Takeda, a famous feudal lord. Later on, he moved to Kyoto by bringing his four sons and founded his school in Kyoto. Five sons were Iga no Kami Kinmichi(伊賀守金道)、Izumi no Kami Rai Kinmichi(和泉守来金道), Tanba no Kami Yoshimichi(丹波守吉道) and Echu no kami Masatoshi(越中守正俊). His sons were known as Kyoto Gokaji(京都五鍛冶), prestigious swordsmiths forging in Kyoto in the early Edo period.
The blades forged by Tanba no Kami Yoshimichi are categorized as Osaka Shinto. Shinto is Japanese Sword terminology that refers to the swords forged during 1596-1781. The blades made in the Osaka area during this period are called Osaka Shinto. There are many famous swordsmiths in this Osaka Shinto era. After Hideyoshi Toyotomi built Osaka castle, Osaka city flourished as a castle town and became the business center. Many swordsmiths moved to Osaka to look for better opportunities. They not only forged swords for those Samurai who lived in Osaka but also for feudal lords nationwide.
One of the most notable characteristics of Osaka Shinto is its beauty in Jigane. Jigane is a visible steel surface pattern created by folding and hammering during the forging process), which made it possible by the location of Osaka. Osaka had close access to the Tamahagane(special carbon steel to make Japanese swords) production sites. The swordsmiths residing in Osaka were able to get high-quality carbon steel from these sites.
This blade is appraised as a Hozon Token(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, well preserved with artistic value.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：66.1 cm ( 26.0 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：0.8 cm ( 0.31 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 on purpose to prevent red rust while the tang is in its handle. And the discoloration of the tang was created over time, which 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 and clouds are designed on this Fuchi Kashira. Although some golden paints have faded due to aging, this coloring retains its luster.
Initially, the dragon was an imaginary creature found in ancient foreign traditions or myths. Furthermore, it is regarded as a symbol 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, a mythical animal in Japan that looks like a snake and has 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.
Clouds bring rain and snow, and their movements significantly affect the weather of the day. Due to its supernatural power, a theory says that gods, spirits, and dragons dwell in the clouds. In Japan, a religion worships the dragon as a water god. It might be one of the reasons why the combination of dragon and clouds motifs is often seen even in sword mountings.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Since we cannot see the entire shape of Menuki, we need to judge its design by looking at the gaps of the Tsukamaki threads. We think this Menuki’s motif is probably a combination of leaves and a kind of animal. It seems this animal has a long tail covered with bushy fur. About the plant, we assume these are grapes.
Based on these views, we suppose the theme of this Menuki’s design is the Budou Risu (葡萄栗鼠, a combination of squirrel and grape) pattern that became famous and started to be applied to porcelains or sculptures. The squirrel has been a familiar animal to people since ancient times. According to a theory, this motif was brought to Japan in the Muromachi period (1336-1573). Since squirrels resemble mice, a fertile animal, people regarded squirrels as the symbol of the prosperity of descendants. Also, the grape motif was considered a symbol of fertility. Therefore, the Budou Risu pattern was popular as an export product to Western countries.
In Japanese, there is a word Budou (武道), which has the same pronunciation as Budou (葡萄), which means martial arts. Also, there is a verb that is pronounced Rissu (律す). It means to regulate something. As Budou and Risu have the same (or similar) pronunciation of these words, it is considered that grape and squirrel patterns share some underlying ideas with Bushido (武士道, Japanese chivalry). That is why many Samurai appreciated the combination of grape and squirrel patterns.
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 that has Kozuka and Kougai holes. It depicts an older man sitting in a bush with wildflowers. Gold-colored paint is applied to this man and plants. We cannot see the details of his expression, but he seems lost in thought as he gazes into the distance.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 362543)
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 Aug. 1st in the 14th year of Heisei(2002). They appraised it as Hozon Touken, the blade 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 : Tokyo 287844
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.
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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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