Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by the second-gen Tadatsuna with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was forged by the second-gen Awataguchi Omi no kami Tadatsuna(粟田口近江守忠綱) in the early Edo period (Late 17th century), based on the characteristic of the signature on the tang.
The second-gen Tadatsuna is one of Osaka’s most skilled and popular swordsmiths in the early Edo period, following Tsuda Sukehiro and Inoue Shinkai. These three sword makers are called Sanketsu of *Osaka Shinto.
The second-gen Tadatsuna was born in 1644 as the first son of the first-gen Tadatsuna, who called himself the descendant of Awataguchi Kunitsuna, a famous swordsmith in the early Kamakura period.
Father was born in Hyogo prefecture and forged swords in Ushiroyama castle in Mie prefecture. Eventually, the first-gen Tadatsuna moved to Osaka.
The second-gen Tadatsuna’s real name is Asai Mandayu. The swordsmith’s name Tadatsuna lasted three generations, and the second-gen is said to have been the most famous and skilled one. And he was not only excellent at forging swords with different kinds of tempering lines (Hamon) but also excellent at inscribing sculptures on his work.
The second-gen Tadatsuna first signed as Tadakuni(忠国). According to his remaining work, he started to forge swords in 1672 and kept creating his blades until he was about 80 years old(1716). He received the honorable title of Omi no Kami during Enpo era(1673-1680). He started to sign Ikkanshi Tadatsuna after the second year of Genroku era(1689).
During the early Genroku era, he used 縄 letter instead of 綱 when signing his creation, but after the mid-Genroku era, he used 綱 to sign his blades. Since this blade was signed as 忠縄, we can assume it was forged around the late 17th century. Genraoku period lasted 1688-1704.He kept forging swords for about 50 years in his career.
One of Tadatsuna’s works is designated as Important Cultural Property of Japan. His swords are Ryuwazamono and Shinto Jyojyo Saku(Highly ranked swords among Japanese sword experts).
There is one interesting historical incident related to the work of the second-gen Tadatsuna.
It was March 24th in the 4th year of Tenmei(1784). Sano Zenzaemon, A direct retainer of Shogun, attacked a son of Tanuma Okitsugu, who was the chief minister of the Edo government. Sano used a wakizashi signed by the second-gen Tadatsuna. The son was eventually died, and Sano was ordered to do Seppuku for his misconduct. Interestingly, since this incident happened, the price of rice decreased dramatically after the sharp rise, which suffered many people. And, people started to worship Tadatsuna’s swords as Yonaoshi Daimyojin, a Great God that makes the world a better place. The Tadatsuna’s popularity skyrocketed, and this incident is much talked about when you learn about the work of Tadatsuna. It is said that only noble high-class Samurai could afford to buy a sword forged by the Tadatsuna during the Edo period.
*What is Osaka Shinto?
Shinto is Japanese Sword terminology that refers to the swords forged during 1596-1781. The blades made in 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. Ikanshi Tadatsuna(Awataguchi Omi no Kami Tadatsuna), Inoue Shinkai, and Tsuda Sukehiro are the most famous ones among those many swordsmiths.
This blade is appraised as Tokubetsu Hozon certificate issued by NBTHK. This authentication paper was only given to Japanese swords, especially worth preserving by Nihon Bijutsu Touken Hozon Kyokai(the Society for the Preservation of the Japan Art Sword).
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：73.0 cm(28.74 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 1.0 cm( 0.39 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.
Kamakiri (蟷螂, mantis) and plants are designed. Although some parts of the golden coating have already been flaked off due to aging, its golden paint still creates a contrast with this Fuchi Kashira’s material (probably copper) color. And it makes us feel the mantis’s strong presence. Mantis is also called “Ogami-Mushi (拝み虫),” or “Inori-Mushi (祈り虫)” in Japanese. Both of these names mean a praying insect. Mantises hold their arms together, and their long wings cover their lower bodies. As this posture looks like a priest who prays to God, the mantis is likened to a “praying mantis.” Mantises lay well. Therefore mantis is considered a symbol of children.
There is a proverb about mantis: Tourou-no Ono (蟷螂の斧) in Japanese. It is a parable of a weak person confront a strong person without even thinking about his ability. Tourou-no Ono itself means mantis’s front legs. There is a situation that even the weak have to face the powerful enemy; this proverb could be interpreted favorably to show its brave behavior. Samurai might have wished to gain courage from the mantis motif when they went to the battlefield.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
This Menuki’s motif might be the hawk’s wing (鷹の羽根, Taka-no Hane in Japanese). Since hawks fly swiftly and were regarded as the symbol of strength and dignity, many Samurai families loved the hawk motif itself. Furthermore, its wings were used for one of Samurai’s primary weapons; an arrow (They put hawk’s wings as arrow’s feather). The arrow itself is reminiscent of victory or defeat, battlefield; it is not difficult to imagine that Samurais also liked the hawk wings attracted to arrows. Also, in Japan, there is a traditional custom that is called Takagari (鷹狩り, falconry). Hawks would get used to humans if they came in contact with it properly. Humans and hawks had a deep connection in this tradition. Taka-no Hane pattern was appreciated not only by Samurais but also by court nobles. Still today, various family crests use this bird wing’s motif.
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 made from iron. The metal is applied to its Kozuka and Kougai holes. Mokkou (木瓜) shape, its origin is a shape of eggs that are rest in a nest. When a quince (it is written 木瓜 in Japanese) is cut into round slices, its cross-section looks similar to this shape; therefore, it was named Mokkougata Tsuba. Yotsu-Mokkougata (a combination of four Mokkou shapes) Tsuba is often seen as this work is categorized.
A dragonfly is engraved at the upper side of this Tsuba. Its big eyes make us feel the strength as if this dragonfly (in other words, this sword’s owner) is looking at the enemy. Dragonflies have been inhabiting since a long time ago in Japan. As they bag preys quickly, its heroic figure was sometimes the object of belief. During the Warring States period, a dragonfly was called “Kachimushi (勝ち虫)” because of its fearless character; it moves only forward, not backward. Above all, people appreciate the dragonfly pattern with the iris flower or the arrow. Allow was one of the Samurai’s primary weapons, so that this motif might have had reminded Samurais of the battles. Iris flower is called “Shoubu (菖蒲)” in Japanese, and there is the word “Shoubu (勝負),” which means victory or defeat. So, “Shoubu” (菖蒲, iris flower) and “Shoubu” (勝負, fight) those two wards have the same pronunciation; therefore, the iris flower pattern reminds Samurai battle.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade
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 July 14th in the 27th year of Heisei (2015). 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 : Akiata 29788
The Board of Education in Akita prefecture issued a registration paper for this sword . In order to obtain this paper, the sword needs to be traditionally hand forged. With this paper, its owner can legally own an authentic Japanese sword in Japan. This paper will need to be returned to the board of education when the sword being shipped abroad but you can receive a copy of it.
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【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 300 Japanese swords to amazing owners who appreciate its historical value.
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We normally ship by EMS(Express Mail Service) provided by Japan Post. When we receive an order from the USA or 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.
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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. When you purchase a Japanese sword from us, you can get a Free sword maintenance kit, which appears in this video.