Antique Japanese Sword Katana Unsigned Ko-Uda with NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade is attributed to the work of Uda school by NBTHK, which authenticated this blade. While the certificate doesn’t mention when it was forged, NBTHK appraises it was made in the Kamakura-Nanbokucho period (Approx. 1299 – 1393). We made a phone call to NBTHK to confirm it.
Uda is a prestigious school that flourished during the Nanbokuchoto-mid Muromachi period(approx. 1334-1491). It was founded by Kunimitsu(国光) in the late Kamakura period. The school was located in Etchu province in Toyama prefecture today. Kunimitsu was originally from Yamato Uda Gun(大和宇多郡), located in Nara prefecture but moved to Etchu in the late Kamakura period(1299-1333) with his apprentices including Kunifusa(国房), and Kunimune(国宗).
Uda school was famous for producing practically designed blades, which were desirable during Nanbokucho- Muromachi period. Among other schools in the Hokuriku region(the northwestern part of Honshu), Uda school was the most prominent school.
When the Uda school flourished in the Nanbokucho period, Japan had a tumultuous time because the imperial court was split into two sides(south and north). There were so many conflicts, and many Samurai were deployed. The trend in battlefields was to use a surprisingly long sword. This trend continued until the early-mid Muromachi period. This blade doesn’t look long now, but we assume it used to be quite a long sword based on the tang’s shape, meaning it was shortened a few times in the past.
There are two categories in the work of Uda school. One is called Ko Uda(Old Uda), and the other is called Uda. Ko Uda swords were forged during the late Kamakura period to the Nanbokucho period. Uda blades were forged during the Muromachi period. This blade is categorized as a Ko-Uda blade.
This blade is appraised as Tokubetsu Hozon certificate issued by NBTHK. This authentication paper was only given to Japanese swords, especially worth preserving by Nihon Bijutsu Touken Hozon Kyokai(the Society for the Preservation of the Japan Art Sword). It has beautiful Suguha tempering line with vivid Jihada. It accompanies with gorgeous sword mountings.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 68.2 cm( 26.85 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 2.0 cm( 0.79 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(Sabbard), Tsuka( Handle), Tsuba(Handguard).
Fuchi-Kashira：A pair of matching sword fittings that cover the upper and bottom parts of its sword hilt.
Ume (梅, Japanese apricot blossom) decorates this Fuchi Kashira. Furthermore, Matsuba-Mon (松葉文, pine needles pattern) is also designed. These plants are inlaid with silvery metal. Japanese apricot blossoms bloom in winter that snow covers its tree. So that people thought this flower tells the arrival of spring. Japanese people appreciate this flower for a long time. People enjoy its adorable petal shape and scent, gracefully branched tree, and compose many poems. As it comes out in the cold season, it symbolizes the power of perseverance and vitality.
About Matsuba-Mon, even if the pine needles fall, the roots of the two leaves are firmly connected and do not separate. Therefore, this plant motif has been treated as a lucky charm. Due to this idea, it also represents happy marriage. There was a famous Shogun who cherished this design. Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, the 5th Shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate, used Matsuba-Mon as his Sadame-Mon (定め紋, Shogun or Daimyo set their own pattern).
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
As we could see its characteristic elongated body, it might be a dragon that is the motif of this Menuki. Initially, it is an imaginary creature found in ancient traditions or myths. Furthermore, 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 (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. Also, in Japan, there is a belief that worships dragon as a water god and is called Ryujin Shinkou (竜神信仰). Since rice cultivation has been flourished in this country, water is always an essential resource. So that the dragon motif has been familiar with Japanese people since a long time ago, we would like to guess that it might be a reason why this beast pattern is often found even in sword mountings.
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 Tsuba is made from iron and has Kozuka and Kougai holes. Since it does not have metal inlay decoration or a complex engraving design, we hope you would enjoy the texture of the iron material itself. Also, Inome (猪の目, boar’s eye) pattern decorates its four corners. Inome pattern is used since ancient times, and it looks similar to the heart mark. Some people believed that this design works as an amulet to protect us from evil spirits or fire. Also, it is said it would bring good luck. This pattern is often found in traditional Japanese architectures such as shrines or temples and used Gegyo (懸魚, decoration under the roof, where the roof is jointed) or metal fittings for hiding timber joints.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Kougai：Kougai is the equipment for Samurai to arrange or fix his hair style.
The dragon wraps around the sword. It seems the motif of this Kougai might be the Kurikara Ken (倶利伽羅剣, the sword that Fudo Myo-O brings his right hand). It is said the Kurikara Ryu (倶利伽羅龍) changed its figure to this fire. It is said Fudo Myo-O (不動明王) brings this sword. Fudo Myo-O is a protective god in Buddhism, particularly Japanese Shingon Buddhism. This god was also known as a god of wars.
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 : Tottori 11416
The Board of Education in Tottori 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.
We accept payment through Stripe(Credit card), PayPal, Apple Pay or ChromePay, all of which are secure payment methods. 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, 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.