Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Yasushige with NBTHK Hozon Certificate
Yasushige belonged to the Bushu Shitahara school, located in today’s Tokyo. (Hachioji city)
It is said that Yamamoto Norishige founded the school, and it thrived from the end of the Muromachi period to the late Edo period.
Shitahara Kaji is the group of swordsmiths under Hojo clan’s auspicious, powerful feudal line during the late Muromachi period. Most of the Shitahara swordsmith’s real sir name was Yamamoto. After the Toyotomi clan destroyed the Hojo clan in the Azuchi Momoyama period, Shitahara started to serve the Tokugawa clan as Okakae Kaji, swordsmiths exclusively working for a specific feudal family. They kept forging for the Tokugawa clan until the end of the Edo period. Among the Bushu Shitahara group, Yasushige was one of the most famous ones. The maker’s name, Yasushige, lasted for several generations. While we can’t pin down which generation forged this blade, it was forged in Jyokyo era(1684-1688: early Edo period) according to NTHK authentication paper.
There is a beautiful engraving on this blade. If you were to order this kind of engraving from a Japanese engraver today, it would cost approximately 10,000 USD. We assume whoever owned this blade in Samurai times must have been wealthy enough to order such intricate design on the blade.
Fudo Myo-o (不動明王, acalanātha) is engraved at this part of the sword. Fudo Myo-o is one of the objects of worship in Buddhism. According to a theory, it is the incarnation of Dainichi Nyorai (大日如来, Mahāvairocana, the principal image of esoteric Buddhism). You would also find a dragon. It is called Kurikara Ryu (倶利伽羅龍); the figure in which a dragon wraps around the sword that Fudo Myo-o holds in his right hand to cut evil. Fudo My o-o’s sword has been considered to punish sin, cut off worldly desires, and achieve training. Fudo Myo-o is a motif with miraculous virtues.
The dragon itself is also a highly popular design for the decoration of Samurai’s mountings. Initially, it is an imaginary creature that is found in ancient Chinese traditions or myths. It is 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(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. In Japan, people appreciate the dragon design as an all-purpose auspicious pattern.
This sword has a Hozon certificate issued by NBTHK. This authentication paper was only given to Japanese swords, worth preserving by Nihon Bijutsu Touken Hozon Kyokai(the Society for the Preservation of the Japan Art Sword). And, it was also appraisied by NTHK, NPO Nihon Touken Hozon Kai.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：62.7 cm( 24.7 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：0.4 cm(0.16 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.
Horimono: Horimono is an inscription or sculpture on Japanese swords.
It has Sanskrit letters inscribed on both sides. The meaning is Fudo Myo-o(不動明王）, which is a protective god in Buddhism, particularly Japanese Shingon Buddhism. This god was also known as a god of wars. Samurai believed in the power of this god so they put decorations of this god on either armor or samurai sword.
Koshirae: Koshirae is the mounting of the Japanese sword. There are several parts that consist of Koshirae such as Saya(Sabbard), Tsuka( Handle), Tsuba(Handguard).
Fuchi-Kashira：A pair of matching sword fittings that cover the upper and bottom parts of its sword hilt.
The wave pattern is engraved for this Fuchi Kashira. As waves’ movements continue endlessly, this design represents eternity, immortality, longevity, and birth, etcetera. Also, since tides change the shape and terrain of rocks repeatedly, some people hoped for a strong will. People used this pattern wishing for an indomitable spirit to re-challenge time and time without giving up.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Fudo Myo-o (不動明王, acalanātha) is designed for this Menuki as well as Horimono part. As it is colored with gold, the contrast of white thread Tsukamaki Ito (a thread that coils the Tsuka) makes an elegant and sacred look.
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.
Circle-shaped iron Tsuba with Kozuka and Kougai holes
Leaves are carved with the Sukashi-Bori (openwork) technique. It seems these leaves were originally inlaid with gold.
Kozuka：Kozuka is a small knife stored in Koduka Hitsu(groove of the sheath of the Japanese sword).
Its motif might be the Kurikara Ken (倶利伽羅剣, the sword that Fudo Myo-o brings his right hand). The blade is wrapped around with a burning flame. It is said the Kurikara Ryu (倶利伽羅龍) changed its figure to this fire.
Saya：Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade＆ NTHK Kanteisho
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 Feb 19th in the second year of Reiwa(2020). They appraised it as Hozon Touken, the blade 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 227674
The Board of Education in Tokyo 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.
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 300 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.
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We have shipped authentic Japanese swords to the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia, 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(USA, Australia, Canada).
We normally ship by EMS(Express Mail Service) provided by Japan Post. When we receive an order from the USA, Australia 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.
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.
【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.