Antique Japanese Sword Katana Attributed to Chiyozuru with Hozon Certificate
This blade is attributed to the work of a member of Chiyozuru school(千代鶴). It is estimated it was forged during the last years of the Nanbokucho-early Muromachi period(late 14th century-early 15th century).
The founder of Chiyozuru school was Kuniyasu(國安). It is said that Kuniyasu was the grandson of Kunimatsu, a younger brother of Rai Kunitoshi. Rai Kunitoshi was one of the most famous swordsmiths in Yamashiro province(Kyoto).
Kuniyasu is known as the prominent figure of the Echizen Rai school. Kuniyasu was forging swords in Yamashiro province but moved to Echizen prefecture and founded Chiyozuru school. The name of Chiyozuru(千代鶴) came from the fact that Kuniyasu’s name during his childhood was Chiyozurumaru.
The school prospered during the last years of the Nanbokucho-early Muromachi period(late 14th century-early 15th century).
Rai school＆Yamashiro province
Yamashiro province was famous for its sword-making style called YAMASHIRO-DEN. YAMASHIRO-DEN’s origin dates back to the Heian period(794 A.D), when the capital city was moved from Nara to Kyoto. The swordsmiths in Yamashiro province initially prospered by forging swords for court nobles and imperial families. Later on, they also forged swords for feudal lords after Samurai military government took control of Japan. There are so many renowned swordsmiths from this region.
It is said that the founder of YAMASHIRO-DEN was Sanjo Munechika. And there are seven prestigious schools in this region. One of them is Rai school is one of the most prestigious ones among YAMASHIRO-DEN. And swords forged by members of Chiyozuru school have characteristics of Rai school.
The significance of the school’s name
Chiyo(千代) means one thousand years, and Zuru(Tsuru:鶴) means crane in Japanese. The name Chiyozuru sounds very auspicious in Japanese. Therefore, the sword forged by this school were popular for any ceremony or events such as weeding from ancient times.
There is a proverb that says cranes and turtles live a long life. It says cranes have even one thousand years lifespan; therefore, cranes and turtles have been considered as the symbol of longevity since a long time ago. Also, as cranes make compatible couples, it represents happy marriage.
This blade is appraised as a Hozon Token(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, well preserved with artistic value.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 62.0 cm(24.4 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.6 cm( 0.63 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.
Sakura (桜, cherry blossom) and Karakusa (唐草, arabesque) patterns are designed for this Fuchi Kashira. The gold-colored metal (probably gold or brass) is inlaid on these motifs. This gold remains in good condition and makes an ornamental appearance for this Koshirae (sword mounting).
Cherry blossom is one of the seasonal things of spring, and it has been loved for a long time in Japan. Its pattern is designed not only for sword mountings but also for Kimono (着物, traditional Japanese costume) or furnishings. A theory says that the god of grain exists in cherry blossoms. Therefore, this flower pattern has been treated as the symbol of a plentiful harvest. People held a traditional custom under cherry blossom trees to pray for a bumper year in ancient times. It is said this is the origin of the cherry blossom viewing picnic today.
Karakusa pattern is a design in which stems and leaves of vines are twined and make curves. Since ivy has a strong vitality and grows up without interruption, people regarded this design as a symbol of prosperity and longevity. Vine is called Tsuru (蔓) in Japanese, and it has another pronunciation; “Man.” There is a word 万 (it is also read Man), which means thousand. In the Karakusa pattern, leaves and vines are connected like Obi (帯, belt). The word “帯” can also be read “Tai.” Due to its pronunciation, the term “代 (Tai)” is associated. From this word-association game, an idiom 万代 is associated, and it means a thousand generations. In other words, we could imagine that people used this design wishing prosperity and longevity for their clans for a long time.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Seeing from gaps of Tsukamaki thread (thread coiled around the handle), it is challenging to judge the motif of this Menuki. It seems small flowers are blooming on thin branches. Since the cherry blossom pattern decorates the Fuchi Kashira, this Menuki’s flower could be the same plant. Although most parts of gold have already been flaked off due to aging, it looks this Menuki was initially colored with shiny golden metal.
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 iron Tsuba that has Kozuka and Kougai holes. The pine tree is designed for this Tsuba. Pine leaves are growing thick at the end of the branches. As pine trees keep their green color throughout the years by withstanding severe heat and cold, this plant pattern represents eternal youth. Furthermore, its color is called 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 Tokiwa-Iro is a color that praises green with a wish for longevity and prosperity. It is said this color was appreciated, especially in the Edo period, as a good-luck color. The pine tree design makes us feel an elegant and noble impression; it might be another reason people love this motif.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No.3002715)
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 April 24th in the 25th year of Heisei (2013). 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 : Toyama 9802
The Board of Education in Toyama 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 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.
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* 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.
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“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.”
【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 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.
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