Antique Japanese Sword Tachi attributed to Unju with NBTHK JUYO TOKEN Certificate
This blade is attributed to Unju (雲重), active during the early-mid Nanbokucho period (1352-1374: Bunna-Oan era), based on his remaining works. He belonged to Unrui (雲類) school, which flourished from the late Kamakura-mid Nanbokucho period. He lived in Ukai (宇甘) village in Bizen province (Today’s Okayama prefecture). He was known as the son of Unji (雲次), another prominent figure in this school.
The origin of Unrui school
The founder of Unrui school was Unsho (雲生). According to a legendary story, Unsho was ordered to forge a Tachi blade for the emperor Godaigo (後醍醐天皇), one of the most famous emperors in Japanese history. And, Unsho was having difficulty forging a blade that satisfied him. However, one night he dreamed about floating clouds. And he got an idea from these clouds in his dream to make Hamon, and he successfully created the blade for the emperor.
He devoted this Tachi blade to the emperor Godaigo, and the emperor was impressed by the level of Unsho’s craftsmanship, saying, “The activity of Hamon looks like real clouds.” And the emperor Godaigo ordered Unsho to use the letter 雲(Un or Kumo: Clouds in Japanese). Since then, the school was named Unrui (雲類). All the members of the Unrui school used Un(雲) in their maker’s names. Unsho was active during Kengen era (1302-: Late Kamakura period). And the father of Unjyu, Unji, was the son of Unsho. Unrui school is also known as Ukai (宇甘) because they lived in the village in Bizen province.
It is said that the works of Unrui school resemble that of Rai school in Yamashiro province, Aoe school in Bitchu province, or Yamato Den, depending on the blades. One theory says that the members of Unrui school moved from Yamashiro (Today’s Kyoto) to Bizen Province during the late Kamakura period. Compared to other swordsmiths living in Bizen province, Unrui school was influenced by Yamashiro DEN (One of the five traditions of the Japanese sword-forging).
It has dense Itame Hada (板目肌), and there is plenty of Ji Nie (地沸え). There is a subtle Midare Utsuri.
Suguha with Koashi (小足), Sakaashi(逆足), Yo (葉). There is Ko Nie (小沸え) near the Habuchi area. You can see activities of Kinsuji (金筋) and Sunagashi (砂流し).
This blade is stored in Tachi(太刀) Koshirae. Tachi was mainly used by an armored Samurai with one hand on horseback from the Heian period (794-1185 A.D.) until the early Muromachi period. TACHI was suspended loosely on the left waist with its edge facing the ground so that you could draw it faster to cut down soldiers on the ground.
Because of its gorgeous looking, having a Tachi-style sword mounting became a social status among Samurai.
This blade is appraised as a JUYO TOKEN(重要刀剣) 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, exceptionally well preserved and of high quality with artistic value. JUYO is one rank higher than Tokubetsu Hozon. To be eligible for a Juyo Token, it needs to be appraised as a Tokubetsu Hozon Token first. It is extremely rare for an antique Japanese sword to be appraised as JUYO TOKEN, and it is highly desirable among Japanese sword collectors.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 69.2 cm (27.2 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.7 cm (0.66 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.
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).
All of the sword mountings of this Koshirae are decorated with the common motif: the Gosan-no-Kiri Mon (五三の桐紋). It comes from the Kiri (桐, paulownia) pattern, and the Gosan-no-Kiri Mon is a popular design that this flower pattern is used. The Kiri (桐) pattern is generally composed of three standing straight inflorescences and three leaves. The number of blooming flowers at each inflorescence means the ranks of this design. The imperial family and national leaders of the time once used this plant pattern. Today, this plant pattern is used as the crest of the Japanese Government. And it is permitted to use by ordinary households and is appreciated as their family crests. According to a tradition, the Houou (鳳凰, Fenghuang, a kind of sacred beast) rests its wings at the paulownia tree; therefore, it has come to be regarded as a sacred plant.
We estimate this pattern is designed here as a family crest. As mentioned above, this was a noble design that was once allowed for limited use by people of high social status. Based on this history, we could infer the possibility that a person with some degree of official rank had ordered this Koshirae.
The surface of each sword mounting and metal fittings were finished with the Nanako-Ji (魚子地) technique. By hitting with the Nanako-Ji Tagane (魚子地鏨, chisel used for this technique), delicate fish egg-shaped protrusions are made on the surface of the metal. This process is often seen and is one of the elements that add gorgeousness to the appearance of metalworks.
Fuchi-Kashira：A pair of matching sword fittings that cover the upper and bottom parts of its sword hilt.
In the Tachi Koshirae (太刀拵), these sword mountings are called the Kabutogane (冑金/兜金) and the Fuchi Kanamono (縁金物). The Kabutogane is a metal fitting attached to a handle’s end. And the Fuchi Kanamono is also a metal fitting attached to the handle, but on the opposite side of Kabutogane.
In addition, a Sarute/Sarude (猿手) is attached to this Kabutogane. The user of a sword passed the Udenukio (腕貫緒, a cord wrapped around the wrist to prevent a sword from falling out of the hand, mainly used when riding a horse) through this ring.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Three family crests are arranged side by side. While we cannot see its entire shape because of the Tsukamaki thread, the common motif is designed to even such a small part. We could also feel the consistent commitment of the client here.
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 categorized as the Aoi (葵) Tsuba, and this type of Tsuba is often seen in the Tachi Koshirae. If you focus on the four corners, you will find a heart-mark hole at each corner. On this Tsuba, you could find eight heart marks in total on each side. This design is the Inome (猪の目, boar’s eyes) pattern. It has been used since ancient times. Some people believed the Inome pattern would bring good luck and protect people from evil spirits or fire.
The Gosan-no-Kiri Mons are arranged evenly and create a symmetrical design. The Mimi (耳, edge) part is framed with a thick golden plate, and it makes a brilliant appearance of this Tsuba.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
You could find the same Gosan-no-Kiri Mon on this scabbard. The Asi Kanamono (足金物, metal fittings attached to the scabbard for hanging the Obitori), the Seme Kanamono (責金物, a metal fitting attached to the middle of the scabbard to protect the scabbard), and the Ishiduki Kanamono (石突金物, a metal fitting attached to the end of the scabbard), these metal parts are also decorated with this plant design. In addition to the wonderful value of the blade itself, we would like you also to enjoy viewing this Koshirae’s high decorativeness and good condition.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK JUYO TOKEN Certificate for the blade (No. 9585)
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 Nov. 11th in the 6th year of Heisei (1994). They appraised it as JUYO TOKEN, the blade exceptionally 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 : Osaka 105040
The Board of Education in Osaka 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.
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.
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.”
【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】
Please contact us through email, Facebook Messenger or Live Chat if you have any questions. You can find each icon on the right side of the website. Please click one of them to reach us. We will reply to you within 1-2 business days.
【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.
MORE ANTIQUE JAPANESE SWORD FOR SALE
SWORDS WITHOUT CERTIFICATES FOR SALE
LEARN JAPANESE SWORD TERMINOLOGY
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.