Antique Japanese Sword Tachi Signed by Soshu Tsunaie with Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Tsunaie (綱家), who was active during the late Muromachi period (Tenbun era: 1532-1555).
Tsunaie was originally from Suruga domain (Today’s Shizuoka prefecture) and belonged to Shimada Yoshisuke school. However, he moved to Odawara city in Kanagawa prefecture to become an Okakaekaji for Go Hojo clan, one of the most powerful clans during the late Muromachi period. Okakae Kaji means a swordsmith who exclusively served a specific clan or domain, which was considered one of the most honorable positions. To become one, a sword maker needed to be highly skilled and master the superb level of his craftsmanship.
Tsunaie was known as the older brother of the first-gen Tsunahiro (綱廣) and Yasukuni (康国), both of whom were historically significant makers. Tsunaie was also one of the most prominent figures in Soshu region (Today’s Kanagawa prefecture) during the late Muromachi period.
The maker’s name Tsuna (綱) was given by the second-gen head of the clan, Hojyo Ujitsuna (北条氏綱), who had the same letter in his name. This fact indicates that Tsunaie was highly regarded by Go Hojo clan. The second-gen Tsunahiro served Tokugawa Ieyasu.
Shimada Yoshisuke School
The first-gen Yoshisuke was active during the Kosho era (1455-57). He was an apprentice of Soshu Masahiro. He was the founder of Shimada school, located in the Suruga domain(today’s Shizuoka prefecture). It is said that the first-gen Yoshisuke was a descendant of Bizen Ichimonji Sukemune, one of the most famous swordsmiths in Japanese history.
The first-gen Yoshisuke served a powerful feudal family named Imagawa. It is said that he received his maker’s name 義 from Imagawa Yoshitada. Shimada school interacted with other schools in Soshu swordsmiths living near Odawa castle in Kanagawa prefecture. The Suruga domain was vital for strong feudal lords such as Takeda, Tokugawa, and Hojo clans during the Sengoku Jidai(Warring state period: Late Muromachi period). The swordsmiths in Shimada school received many orders from these strong feudal families.
Tsunaie mastered a particular sword-forging tradition called Soshu Den. The foundation of Soshu traditions (Soshu DEN) dates back to the establishment of the Kamakura government(1185-1333). The Shogun at the time, Hojo Tokiyori, gathered swordsmiths of Yamashiro-Den and Bizen-Den to create a new tradition named Soshu-Den.
Following the Mongolian Invasion caused in 1274 and 1281, they had to improve the strength of their swords. Skilled swordsmiths such as Shintougo Kunimitsu, Yukimitsu, and Masamune pursued their craft to bring Soshu-Den to an exquisite level, achieving both beauty and practicality.
Tachi blade＆Tachi Koshirae
Based on which side the signature is on and the authentication paper, this blade was created as a Tachi sword. It comes with a 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. We presume this blade was owned by a high-ranked Samurai who was wealthy enough to own a blade forged by a famous swordsmith with the Tachi-style sword mounting.
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)： 70.1 cm (27.5 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.2 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.
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).
If you focus on each part of this Koshirae, you will find that all the sword mountings, metal fittings, and even the scabbard of this sword are decorated with the Kiri (桐, paulownia) motif. The Gosan-no-Kiri Monyou (五三の桐文様) is a popular design that the paulownia motif is used, as seen on this Koshirae. According to a foreign tradition, 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 holy plant.
The Kiri (桐) pattern is generally composed of three standing straight inflorescences and three leaves. The number of flowers that are blooming at each inflorescence means the ranks of this design. It is also famous that one of the most popular Samurai in Japan: Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣 秀吉, 1537-1598), used the Kiri pattern for his family crest. A theory says that Hideyoshi initially used the Omodaka (沢瀉, arrowhead) pattern as his family crest. However, Oda Nobunaga (織田 信長, 1534-1582), a well-known military commander in the Warring States period, permitted Hideyoshi to use the Kiri design. After the fall of the Muromachi Shogunate and the defeat of Nobunaga at the Honnouji (本能寺) temple, the reign of Hideyoshi finally started. Hideyoshi used this plant motif in various items such as clothes, furnishings, decorations of his buildings, etcetera.
Moreover, he bestowed the Kiri crests to his subordinates with the clan name Hashiba (羽柴, Hideyoshi used this family name before the Toyotomi clan) or Toyotomi (豊臣). However, even among Hideyoshi’s subordinates, this Kiri crest was often given as a reward. Finally, some people began to use this family crest without permission, such as by borrowing or stealing it. In response to this situation, Hideyoshi enacted a law to limit the use of the Kiri crest, but the value of this design decreased considerably. Therefore, it is said that Hideyoshi used a unique design Kiri crest called the Taikou Giri (太閤桐) pattern to distinguish it from others. Through these processes, the Kiri crest became a familiar emblem not only for the privileged class, such as influential Samurai but also for the middle class and the general public.
This plant pattern was once used by the imperial family and national leaders of the time. Today, this plant pattern is used as the crest of the Japanese Government. We hope that by introducing a little about the transition of this family crest, you will find the history of this design and its deep connection with the Samurai culture fascinating. Please enjoy this sword’s Koshirae with its blade.
Fuchi-Kashira：A pair of matching sword fittings that cover the upper and bottom parts of its sword hilt.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
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.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 3014211)
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. 2nd in the 29th year of Heisei (2017). They appraised it as Hozon Touken, the blade worth preserving for Japanese society. 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 : Chiba 36574
The Board of Education in Chiba 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 400 Japanese swords for the past three years (～2022) 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 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 either EMS or FedEx(Canada).
We normally ship by EMS(Express Mail Service) provided by Japan Post. When we receive an order from the 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.
* 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.
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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.