Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Yasushige with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Bushu Shitahara Jyu Naiki Yasushige(武州下原住内記康重) during the early Edo Period (Mid-Late 17th century). Bushu Shitahara is the name of the area in Hachioji city in today’s Tokyo, where he created this blade.
The maker’s name Yasushige lasted several generations from the late Muromachi period until the end of the Edo period. This blade was forged by late-gen Yasushige, active during the early Edo period. From the fourth gen, Yasushige started to inscribe Naiki in the signature.
Yasushige belonged to Bushu Shitahara school 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 (Late 16th century to Late 19th century).
The swordsmiths who lived in Shitahara were called Shitahara Kaji. They were the group of swordsmiths under the Hojo clan’s auspicious, powerful feudal line during the late Muromachi period first. It is said that the first-gen Yasushige was the son of Chikashige, another prominent figure in this school. The first-gen Yasushige originally signed Chikashige as his first maker’s name. However, he changed it to Yasushige after receiving 康 (Yasu) letter from Hojo Ujiyasu, a famous feudal lord he served.
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.
Most of the Shitahara swordsmith’s real sir name was Yamamoto. They especially flourished during the late Muromachi period-early Edo period. 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 makers.
One of the most distinctive characteristics of the blades forged by Shitahara Kaji is Jorinmoku (如輪杢), which looks like a whirlpool on Hada (the steel surface of the Japanese sword).
It 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.
*Please keep in mind that there are a couple of small Ishike (small black dots you can see in photos). Also, there is a Kitae Kizu on the Mune. If you like to see the detailed condition, please feel free to contact us.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：69.9 cm ( 27.5 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 1.21 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.
This Fuchi Kashira is decorated with the Ume (梅, Japanese apricot blossom) and Yukiwa (雪輪, snow ring) patterns. Gold and silver are effectively applied, and these colorings make this work’s ornamental look. Japanese apricot blossoms begin to bloom in winter when snow still covers its tree. People thought this flower told the arrival of spring. Same as cherry blossoms, it has been appreciated for a long time in Japan. People enjoy its adorable petal shape, scent, and gracefully branched trees and compose many poems. As it comes out in the cold season, it symbolizes the power of perseverance and vitality. Samurai might have favored this flower’s ability to persevere even in harsh conditions.
The Yukiwa pattern is also related to the coming spring. The shape of snowflakes is the motif of this pattern. It is considered that snow is a sign of a plentiful harvest. Especially if snow in the New Year, people thought that year would have a bumper crop. Looking in this way, we now understand this Fuchi Kashira’s design is composed of two motifs that make us feel the arrival of the season when the snow that has accumulated in winter melts and the flowers that have withstood the cold bloom.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
In contrast to the Fuchi Kashira, this Menuki’s design is related to autumn. You would find the Kinoko (茸, mushroom), Kuri (栗, chestnut), and Ho (穂, ear). It seems golden paint was initially applied to each motif. Among these motifs, chestnuts have long been treated as a particularly auspicious object. The Kachi-Guri (搗栗, dried chestnuts) is sometimes found as a motif for sword mountings because of its name. This is because its name, “Kachi-Guri,” has the same pronunciation as Kachi (勝ち, victory). It has been treated as a good-luck omen and appreciated by Samurai to hope the success in battles. According to a theory, the famous Samurai, Takeda Shingen (武田 信玄, 1521-1573) cherished this vegetable. He instructed farmers to grow chestnuts in preparation for famine.
Even during times of famine when crops were scarce, only chestnuts grew splendidly and saved many people from above. In addition, chestnuts were highly valued as food for warfare because of their long shelf life. Chestnuts were very useful because they could be eaten deliciously in the middle of a long battle. It is said that Shingen always brought chestnuts with him during wars. He won many battles, and people who thought it was the power of chestnuts came to cherish them even more. Shingen also believed it was an auspicious item and has come to like chestnuts even more. Today, chestnuts are enjoyed as a familiar food for Japanese people. For example, there is a traditional dish for Osechi-Ryori (お節料理, Japanese new year’s food) that contains chestnuts. It is called Kuri-Kinton (栗きんとん) and is always selected as a lucky charm to strengthen the fortune and game luck in new year’s Osechi dishes.
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.
This work depicts a man who enjoys fishing and indulges in thought. According to the certificate, this man is Taikoubou (太公望), who was a politician in China. His anecdote about fishing is well-known. One day, when the monarch of Shu (周) did a fortune-telling before going out to hunt, he was told that the prey was not an animal but an assistant to the overlord. While out hunting, the king met an old man fishing and fell in love with his talent. Convinced that this older man was the person the country had been waiting for, the monarch appointed him as his assistant. The country prospered under the advice of this assistant. This older man is Taikoubou.
Therefore, the word “Taikoubou” is sometimes used as a pronoun for fisher in Japan. He is also famous as a character in the popular novel Houshin-Engi (封神演義). His legacy was narratively developed in later times. This book is one of the famous full-length novels that was born in such a situation.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1016689)＆ Hozon Tosogu for the Koshirae (No. 4020361)
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 3rd year of Reiwa (2021) and its Koshirae on July 7th in the 4th year of Reiwa (2022). They appraised the blade as Tokubetsu Hozon Touken, the blade especially worth preserving for Japanese society and Hozon Tosogu for the Koshirae. 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 : Yamagata 06201
The Board of Education in Yamagata 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.
Here is one of the reviews we received from a customer who purchased an authentic Japanese sword from us. For more reviews, please click here.
“My experience overall with the whole process was wonderful. I had many questions about the history and process to purchase these treasures. All my questions were answered very timely and complete. The staff is very knowledgeable and very well versed if any questions do arise.”
【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 500 Japanese swords for the past three years (～2023) 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 CHF 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 EMS.
We normally ship by EMS(Express Mail Service) provided by Japan Post. We will send you a tracking number for your order as soon as we hand it to the post office. 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.
【How To Contact Us】
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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.
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.