Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Toshimitsu with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Bizen Koku Toshimitsu(備前国寿光). NBTHK’s authentication paper also mentions that this blade was forged during the Houreki Era(1751-1764: Mid Edo period). He was also known as the 9th generation of Yozae Monnojyu Sukesada(与左衛門尉祐定).
Toshimitsu originally signed Bizen Koku Jyu Osafune Sukesada(備前国住長船祐定) as his maker’s name while his given name was Yokoyama Shichi Heibei(横山七平兵衛). He changed his signature to Toshimitsu(寿光) at the end of his career. Bizenkoku Jyu means living in Bizen province, and Osafune is the prestigious school he belonged to.
Sukesada school was one of the most famous schools in Bizen province(today’s Okayama prefecture). It flourished for generations among Osafune schools(The head branch) during the early-late Muromachi period (Late 14th-16th century).
The generations of Sukesada created various styles. Based on the available historical records, more than 60 swordsmiths used Sukesada as their maker’s name in the Samurai history(Incl. Edo period). In that sense, the swordsmith’s name “Sukesada” worked as a brand that attracted many Samurai.
BIZEN is located near the Chugoku Mountains, where iron sands, one of the essential materials for making Japanese swords, were abundant. Furthermore, BIZEN swordsmiths had close access to Yoshi River, where they could find water and charcoal. This geological location contributed to the swordsmiths to forge high-quality refined blades. We presume BIZEN was quite active in sword-forging from ancient times. It is said that groups of swordsmiths created BIZEN DEN(the unique sword-forging technique invented in Bizen) after the late Heian era(the Late 12th century ).
The swordsmiths in Bizen produced many swords during the Muromachi period as it was in the middle of the Sengoku period(Warring state period). The demand for weapons increased among strong feudal lords. However, The sword-forging tradition of Bizen province almost disappeared because of the disastrous flood of Yoshii river(1590), which was closed to Osafune school.
Even after everything was destroyed, there were few remaining swordsmiths. One of them was the first-generation Yozae Monnojyu Sukesada. He became one of the pioneers that revitalized the sword-forging business in Bizen province after the disaster. He was a highly-regarded swordsmith among Sukesada school.
Toshimitsu is the 9th generation of this great swordsmith. The excellent sword-forging technique was passed down to him as well.
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)： 69.5 cm( 27.3 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 2.5 cm(0.98 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.
According to the certificate, this Fuchi Kashira is made from silver. It has a rough surface, and this design is called the Amime (網目) pattern. It is a design that depicts nets used for catching fish or birds. It has a rhythmic curved continuous pattern. This irregular pattern makes a unique expression for this work, and it matches well when it is put into the handle.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
The certificate says that this Menuki is made from the Shakudou (赤銅). It is an alloy of copper and gold. It has often been used for sword mountings due to its rollability (easiness of processing), adhesiveness, ease of plating. And people enjoy the beauty of black coloring.
By seeing from the gaps of the Tsukamaki thread, we would like to judge that the Kara-Jishi (唐獅子) is the motif of this Menuki. The golden metal is applied to these Kara-Jishis. Shishi (獅子) means a lion in Japanese, and the Kara-Jishi is a lion brought from the Continent to Japan in the Toh period (唐, Tang dynasty, 618-907). The Kara-Jishi typically has curly hair for its head, neck, body, and tail, as you can see in this Menuki. In Buddhism, the Kara-Jishi is regarded as a symbol of wisdom, and Monju Bosatu (文殊菩薩, Manjushri Bodhisattva) rides lions. According to a theory, Kara-Jishi originates from Komainu (狛犬, stone guardian dogs that exorcize evil spirits).
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.
Oval-shaped Tsuba that has a Kozuka hole. It is a work that depicts the scenery of the seaside. The giant trees are probably pine trees, and many small birds are flying in the sky.
The pine tree is often found as a motif for sword mountings. As pine trees keep their green color throughout the years by withstanding severe heat and cold, people thought this plant pattern represents eternal youth. Furthermore, its color is called as the Tokiwa-Iro (常盤色, evergreen trees’ dark green color with brown), and pine trees have another name “Tokiwa-Gi (常盤木).” Tokiwa means immutability, so the Tokiwa-Iro is a color that praises green with a wish for longevity and prosperity.
The combination of waves and small birds is also a popular classic design called the Nami Chidori (波千鳥) pattern. According to a theory, it represents happy marriage and family safety. People have treated it as a good omen design in Japan since the Nara period (648-781). Nami means waves, and Chidori means plovers in Japanese. Waves are compared to the world, meaning it describes the determination: overcoming difficulties with a partner even if there are small or big waves (difficulties/ troubles). Also, the plover pattern is used as a prayer for victory or achievement of a goal. So, this Tsuba’s design is composed of auspicious motifs.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
This scabbard is decorated with crushed seashells. This ornamental scabbard painting is called the Aogai Mijin Nuri (青貝微塵塗). It uses the Aogai (青貝, kind of seashell). Finely crushed shells are coated with lacquer. It emits a unique blue-green color with a rainbow-colored glow. In this work, the delicate brilliance is scattered on the black lacquer ground, and it seems as if it depicts a starry sky. We hope you will appreciate its elegant and gorgeous look.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade ＆Tokubetsu Kicho for the sword mounting
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 Tokubetsu Hozon Touken, the blade especially worth preserving for Japanese society. Its sword mounting were also appraised by NBTHK as a Tokubetsu Kicho Kodogu on Nov 25th in the 42th year of Showa era (1967).The purchaser will receive these original certificates as well. We can also translate what is written into English and make a PDF file for your record if you request.
Registration Number : Okayama 43947
The Board of Education in Okayama 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.