Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Toshiyuki with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Harima Koku Jyu Minamoto Toshiyuki(播磨国住源利行) in June, the third year of the Bunkyu era(1863: the end of the Edo period).
Harima Koku Jyu means that he lived in the Harima province when he forged this blade. Harima province is located in today’s Hyogo prefecture. Minamoto Toshiyuki(源利行) is his maker’s name while his real name was Kurokawa Taichiro(黒川太市郎).
This blade was forged when he was in his 30’s. He was active in sword-forging during the Bakumatsu era(the end of the Edo period).
In the 11th year of the Bunsei era(1828), Toshiyuki was born in Miki city, Banshu(Hyogo prefecture). His father was also a blacksmith who mainly made wooden planers while eager to master the sword-forging technique. Being inspired by his father, Toshiyuki also dreamt of being a skilled swordsmith. And eventually, Toshiyuki learned outstanding workmanship in his career.
Toshiyuki became an Okakaekaji for the Akashi domain in Hyogo prefecture, where Himeji castle is located.
Okakaekaji is those who exclusively served a specific clan or domain during Samurai history. It was honorable for any swordsmith to gain this position. During the last Edo period, the Akashi domain was ruled by Matsudaira Yoshinori, the 9th head of the clan and a renowned feudal lord. Their headquarter was Himeji castle.
It is said that Yoshinori loved Toshiyuki’s work, and Toshiyuki was invited to his castle every month. And the vice head of the Akashi clan went to Toshiyuki’s workplace every year, and Yoshinori himself visited him. This fact tells us how skilled Toshiyuki’s craftsmanship was and was respected by the clan’s head.
After the new Meiji imperial government ousted the Tokugawa government in 1868, Toshiyuki moved to Edo city due to the relocation of his master. He tried to make ends meet by forging swords. However, it became difficult because of all the regulations implemented by the new government. So, he decided to make wooden planers and became famous for the sharpness of the tool.
There is no doubt that he was a highly skilled sword maker at the end of the Edo period. Toshiyuki died in the 39th year of the Meiji era(1906).
Since this blade was forged five years before the Edo period ended, it must have been ordered by a Samurai who served the Akashi clan. It has a beautiful tempering line(Hamon), and the overall condition of the blade is excellent.
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)： 63.3 cm( 24.9 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.8 cm(0.71 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 made from copper; it remains its nice black color. Tiny golden dots describe waterdrops. The surface of the Kashira part is decorated with small protrusions. It is made by hitting with the Nanako-Ji Tagane (魚子地鏨, chisel used for this technique). This decorative technique shows us the maker’s expert skill.
The motif of this Fuchi Kashira is the Nami Chidori (波千鳥) pattern. It is the combination of provers and waves. This design represents happy marriage and family safety. According to a theory, Japanese people have treated it as a good omen design since the Nara period (648-781). Waves are likened 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.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
The golden metal is applied to this Menuki, and it makes shiny appearances for the work. You would find two animals are running together. This Menuki’s motif might be the Kirin (麒麟, Qilin), one of the legendary beasts that appear in mythology. A theory says that this sacred animal would materialize when the king (or emperor) does virtuous politics for people. The Kirin’s appearance is similar to deer and has a horse-liked hoof, cow’s tail, and horn on the head. Same as other sacred beasts such as dragons or turtles, the Kirin has also been familiar to Japanese people as an auspicious pattern for a long time.
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.
The Society for Preservation of Japanese Art Swords, known as NBTHK, recognized this Tsuba as Tokubetsu Kichou Kodougu. They authenticated the Tsuba on September 24th in the 42nd year of Showa (1967). This Tsuba is categorized as the Nanban (南蛮) Tsuba. This style’s Tsuba usually has a circle shape or the Mokkou shape. Dragons, foreign letters, or arabesque designs are often engraved and inlaid with gold or silver on the thin iron. Due to its design, the Nanban Tsuba has an exotic mood.
This Tsuba is made from iron and has a unique shape that looks like a combination of six petals. The faces of a kind of creature are designed at the upper and lower side. Thick eyebrows, big eyes, and fangs are characteristic. The faces of four beasts are placed around the Nakago Ana (茎穴, center hole); these are probably dragons. Initially, the dragon is an imaginary creature found in ancient traditions or myths. Furthermore, it is regarded as a symbolic beast 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 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.
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 June 25th in the second year of Reiwa (2020). 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 : Chiba 9524
The Board of Education in Chiba 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, EUR or GBP. The price is set in Japanese Yen. Prices in other currencies are automatically calculated based on the latest exchange rate.
We have shipped authentic Japanese swords to the USA, Canada, Mexico, UK, Germany , France and Hong Kong. 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.
*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.