Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Omi Daijyo Tadahiro with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
Omi Daijyo Tadahiro
This blade was signed by Omi no Daijyo Fujiwara Tadahiro(近江大掾藤原忠広) , who is the first son of the first-gen Tadayoshi. It is said that Tadahiro was active in sword-forging during 1624-1688 (Early Edo Period).
Tadayoshi(Father) is one of the most famous swordsmiths in the early Edo period and made Hizen province(today’s Saga prefecture) a prominent sword-forging place back then. Tadahiro learned sword-forging techniques under his father’s supervision until Tadayoshi died in 1632 (9th year of the Kan-Ei era).
Tadahiro took over the school his father ran when he was only 19 years old, and he started to make a sword in the same year. This fact indicates that he was excellent at making swords, and the apprentices of his father(Tadayoshi) supported him to run the school. Tadahiro received the title of Omi Daijyo in 1641 (the sixth year of the Genroku era). He kept forging swords for almost 60 years for the Nabeshima clan, strong feudal lords.
Tadahiro died at the age of 81 in 1693 and left a large number of excellent swords before his decease. He had many famous apprentices, such as the third-gen Mutsu Daijyo Tadayoshi, Harima Daijyo Tadakuni, and Kawachi Daijyo Masahiro.
Fujiwara Tadahiro and other swordsmiths in the Hizen province worked under the auspices of Nabeshima clan. The swordsmiths in Hizen province were able to produce beautiful Jigane-patterned blades, also known as Hizen To, using and mixing carbon steel made in Netherland.
Most of Tadahiro’s work has Hamon types of Suguha and Chojimidare. This blade has Suguha Hamon, and you can see beautiful Jigane, which is famous for blades made in Hizen province. Swords forged by Tadahiro are also famous among Japanese sword collectors because of his exquisite craftsmanship and history.
The first-gen Tadayoshi (His father)
The first-gen Tadayoshi was born and raised in the Saga domain. In 1596, under the domain’s order, he went to Kyoto to learn the sword-forging technique from Umetada Myojyu(埋忠明寿), one of the greatest swordsmiths in the early Edo period. He improved his craftsmanship and returned to the Saga domain two years later (1598). The first head of the Nabeshima clan, Nabeshima Katsushige, appreciated the work of the first-gen Tadayoshi very much. Then, Katsushige appointed him as his Okakaekaji, a swordsmith who exclusively forged swords for a specific domain or clan. And Tadayoshi started to stay near Saga castle, which is the headquarter of the Nabeshima clan. And, he founded Hizen Tadayoshi school, which trained more than 100 swordsmiths during the Edo period. Tadahiro is one of them.
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)：69.6 cm( 27.4 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.
Fan and bow are designed on Fuchi part and gold inlay is also applied.
The design of fans 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 they appreciated the fan itself as a noble item. A fan has a peculiar 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 have appreciated 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 surface of fans. That might also be why the fan motif is popular.
The Yumi-Ya (弓矢, bow, and arrow) was once one of the classical primary weapons for Samurai. So we could imagine that this motif reminded them of battlefields. Also, as an arrow goes straight forward, lots of Samurai loved the arrow pattern. Additionally, each home displayed decorated arrows wishing that it would exorcize evil spirits in the house. This talisman is called Hamaya (破魔矢) in Japanese, and this custom is still kept today.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
The Noshi (熨斗) is the motif of this Menuki. It is a strip of decorative folded paper attached to gift wrapping as a lucky symbol. The golden string that ties Noshi is the Mizuhiki (水引). According to a theory, the origin of the Noshi was thin-sliced abalone that is sandwiched between papers. And it was attached to gifts. A bundle of multiple Noshis is called the Tabane Noshi (束ね熨斗). The Noshi is an auspicious item, and the Tabane Noshi is a bunch of this good luck motif. Therefore, it is said that the Tabane Noshi pattern means receiving many blessings and sharing happiness with other people. Also, as each Noshi has an elongated shape, this motif also represents longevity.
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.
A kind of plant is designed for this Tsuba. It looks the silvery paint was initially applied to these flowers. We imagine it had bright coloring and had an ornamental look. Now, this Tsuba still has an elegant atmosphere. It is challenging to judge the exact motif, but we think these flowers are probably the Fuji (藤, Japanese wisteria). The wisteria has strong fertility and grows being entwined with other trees. Therefore, 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 (不死), which means immortality. 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. A theory says more than 100 types of wisteria’s family crest designs in the Edo period. We could assume how this motif was popular among people.
Kougai：Kougai is the equipment for Samurai to arrange or fix his hair style.
Kozuka：Kozuka is a small knife stored in Koduka Hitsu(groove of the sheath of the Japanese sword).
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Raden technique is applied on this Saya. It is a kind of decorative technique that is often used for traditional craftworks. It uses the pearl part of seashells and put it into the engraved surface of lacquer or wood. Thanks to its iridescent luster, it gives a luxurious look to works.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 102074)
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 Dec 3rd in the 63rd year of Showa (1988). 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 : Tokyo 177337
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, 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 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 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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