T 10tAntique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Sadahide with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Tetsushinsai Sadahide (鉄心斎貞英) in the 10th year of the Tenpo era (1839). According to the signature, this blade was ordered by Inoue Takunaga (井上度長).
Sadahide was originally an apprentice of Suishinshi Masahide, one of the most famous swordsmiths at the end of the Edo period (late 18th-mid 19th century). Sadahide’s birth name was Matsui Hidetaro.
After finishing his apprenticeship, he became an independent swordsmith and moved to Echigo province (Today’sToday’s Niigata prefecture). He became a Hanko for Takada clan in the region. Hanko is a swordsmith who exclusively forged blades for a specific clan or domain.
Who is Suishinshi Masahide (His master)
Suishinshi Masahide (水心子正秀) was one of the most famous and innovative swordsmiths at the end of the Edo period. He was born in Dewa Koku (Today’sToday’s Yamagata/Akita prefecture), and his birth name was Kawabe Gihachiro.
In 1771 when he was 22 years old, he moved to Musashi Koku (Today’s Tokyo) to become an apprentice of Miyagawa Yoshihide. He learned sword-forging techniques under this master, who belonged to Shitahara school, one of the most prestigious schools in this area.
After finishing his apprenticeship, he returned to Dewa Koku. His craftsmanship was widely recognized, and in 1774, Masahide started to serve Akimoto Tsunetomo, the head of the domain. It is said that he began to use Suishinshi as his title during this time. In 1781, he moved to Edo city, settling in a house owned by Akimoto clan. He was always curious to know various sword-forging techniques. He started to search how Japanese swords were made during the late Heian-Azuchi Momoyama period (late 12th-late 16th century: KOTO era), especially the ones made with SOSHU DEN and BIZEN DEN traditions.
Back in the day, the popular Japanese swords were less curved and muscular. However, he started to feel something was missing in those blades made in his days by exploring ancient Japanese swords. Therefore, he announced Token Fukko Ron (刀剣復古論), where swordsmiths need to go back to the old way the blades were forged. This theory resonated with many sword makers back then. Eventually, this theory became mainstream.
While he published books about Japanese swords, he was also passionate about training his apprentices. Many apprentices who learned sword techniques from him later became famous swordsmiths. Considering that, he played such an essential role in the late Edo period. We assume Sadahide studied a high level of craftsmanship from Suishinshi Masahide. He is listed as Edo Sansaku (The three most prestigious swordsmiths). The other two are Taikei Naotane（大慶直胤）and Minamoto Kiyomaro (源清麿).
It 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)：62.2 cm ( 24.5inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 0 cm ( 0 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.
This Fuchi Kashira is ornamentally decorated with a gold inlay technique. We would categorize this design as a type of the Karakusa (唐草, arabesque) pattern. 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.
Around vines, you would also find tiny flower-like patterns. We think these are possibly the Yukiwa (雪輪, snow ring) pattern. The shape of snowflakes is the motif of this pattern. It is considered that snow is the sign of a plentiful harvest.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Seeing the gaps in the Tsukamaki thread, we think this Menuki’s motif is a fan. This work is the figure of the folding fan with the fan face closed.
This motif has been favored as an auspicious pattern representing development and prosperity. During the Heian period (794-1185/1192), aristocrats enjoyed elegant plays with fans and appreciated the fan as a noble item. A fan has a characteristic shape, and it is called Suehirogari (末広がり) in Japanese. Based on the idea that this shape implies a perspective of the future, people appreciate this design. The fan pattern also represents wealth because it was once available only for high-ranked people. In addition, people enjoy drawing various motifs such as animals, plants, geometric patterns, and auspicious patterns on the fan surface. That might also be why the fan motif is popular. Together with the following Tsuba’s design, we would say it is a motif related to aristocratic tastes.
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.
This circle-shaped Tsuba seems to be made from iron. It has a Kozuka hole, and a flower pattern is engraved. This plant is a Japanese apricot blossom. Japanese apricot blossoms begin to bloom in winter that snow still covers its tree, so people thought this flower tells the arrival of spring. Same as cherry blossom, it has been appreciated for a long time in Japan. People enjoy its adorable petal shape and scent, gracefully branched tree, and compose many poems. As it comes out in the cold season, it symbolizes the power of perseverance and vitality.
The Ume pattern profoundly relates to the Tenjin (天神) faith. This belief honors the soul of Sugawara no Michizane (菅原道真, 845-903), and he cherished this flower. Michizane excelled in academics and was appointed and promoted by the emperor back then. However, other aristocrats envied his promotions, and Michizane was demoted Kyushu region, far from the capital. And he passed away two years later. After his death, the capital suffered great natural disasters. And people who opposed Michizane had unfortunate experiences. People thought that his spirit caused these things, and the capital was terrified at that time. One day when such a situation continued, a person was possessed by Michizane, and he demanded to enshrine himself. The imperial court accepted his request and built a shrine in Kyushu to appease his spirit. This was managed by the Sugawara family, a family of scholars. And Michizane, who excelled in studies during his lifetime, came to be worshiped as the god of learning. Because of this background, it is said that many family crests with the Ume designs were used in the Kinki and Kita-Kyushu regions.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1015498)
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 5th 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 : Nagano 10715
The Board of Education in Nagano 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 500 Japanese swords for the past three years (～2023) 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 CHF 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, 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 EMS.
We normally ship by EMS(Express Mail Service) provided by Japan Post. We will send you a tracking number for your order as soon as we hand it to the post office. 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.
Here is one of the reviews we received from a customer who purchased an authentic Japanese sword from us. For more reviews, please click here.
“My experience overall with the whole process was wonderful. I had many questions about the history and process to purchase these treasures. All my questions were answered very timely and complete. The staff is very knowledgeable and very well versed if any questions do arise.”
【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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