Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Ryokai Shigeyoshi with Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Ryokai Shigeyoshi (了戒重能). He was named Ryokai because he was a member of Tsukushi Ryokai school, which specialized in forging *Yamashiro DEN tradition. According to available records, he was especially active in sword-forging during the Chōroku era (1457-1460: Mid-Muromachi Period) in Bungo province (Today’s Oita prefecture).
Ryokai was a swordsmith from the late Kamakura period in Yamashiro Province(Today’s Kyoto). It is said that he was a son of Rai Kuniyuki (来国行) and a younger brother of Rai Kunitoshi (来国俊). Both of them are renowned swordsmiths throughout Samurai history.
Ryokai founded his own school, and the apprentices were allowed to use Ryokai in their maker’s names. Ryokai’s son was Ryokai Hisanobu, who took over the school. And his apprentice Ryokai Yoshisada also run the school after Hisanobu. However, Ryokai Yoshisda had to evacuate Yamashiro province during the late 14th century because the battle between the south emperor court and the north emperor court became severe. And as a result, Kyoto city was burnt(the late 1300’s). We called it the Nanbokucho war when the Japanese imperial court was separated into two.
Ryokai Yoshisda managed to escape and arrive in Kyushu island at Tsukushi Province (Today’s Fukuoka prefecture), looking for better opportunities. And, Yoshisada founded Tsukushi Ryokai school there. Among Japanese sword experts, Ryokai school in Tsukushi province is called Tsukushi Ryokai to distinguish it from the Ryokai school in Yamashiro province. Since the origin of this school came from Yamashiro province, the blades forged by the Tsukushi Ryokai school have characteristics of *Yamashiro Den tradition. Among Tsukushi Ryokai school, the swordsmiths were named with 能 (Yoshi) such as 重能 (Shigeyoshi).
Ryokai Shigeyoshi (了戒重能) is one of the most prominent figures in this school. And, you can see interesting Kissaki (tip of the blade) called Shobu Zukuri (菖蒲造り). There is no Yokote on this blade. Yokote is the borderline between the tip and cutting edge. We are confident you will appreciate the elegant look of this blade. Handachi style sword mounting also enhances its aesthetic beauty.
*Yamashiro Den tradition is one of the five most famous traditions in terms of Japanese sword forging techniques and styles. Others are YAMATO, BIZEN, MINO, SOSHU traditions.
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)： 73.2 cm(28.8 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：2.4 cm(0.94 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.
The dragon is the principal motif of this Fuchi Kashira. Clear carving lines remain well. Initially, the dragon is an imaginary creature found in ancient traditions or myths in the continent. 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, 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.
In this work, you would find that clouds surround the dragon. According to a theory, dragons and gods dwell in clouds. Also, clouds bring blessed rain; that is, water. Since rice cultivation flourished in this country, water is always an essential resource. Therefore, the cloud was associated with faith due to its supernatural power. In Japan, there is a belief that worships the dragon as a water god. Now, it is understandable how the dragon motif was familiar to Japanese people, including Samurais.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
These tigers’ sharp eyes are characteristic. They have a powerful appearance that makes their opponents flinch. The tiger is a brave animal. A theory says that the tiger pattern would protect people from evil spirits. Therefore, its pattern has been treated as a talisman. The tiger design has also been regarded as the symbol of life activity when “tiger” is written by a Japanese Kanji character (漢字, a kind of Japanese letter) based on its meaning. Some people have wished boys’ healthy growth by using the tiger pattern.
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.
Same as the Fuchi Kashira, the dragon is engraved for this Tsuba. In Japan, there is a theme that depicts a combination of the dragon and the tiger. It is called the Ryuko Zu (龍虎図). As mentioned above, both beasts are designed for this sword’s sword mountings. When you see the entire of this sword’s Koshirae, you can enjoy these brave and dignified figures together. In Japanese, there is a proverb that treats these animals: Ryu-Ko Ai Utsu (龍虎相搏つ). It is a simile that excellent heroes compete for victory or defeat. Dragon and tiger are powerful beasts, so one is just as strong as the other. We imagine that Samurais admired their heroic figures.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No.3026375)
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 24th in the 3rd year of Reiwa (2021). 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 : Osaka 66867
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 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.
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.
*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 Powder, Peg remover, Oil Applicator). By watching the video instruction above , you can enjoy learning how to maintain your Japanese sword while appreciating it.
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.