Antique Japanese Sword Tanto Attributed to Yamamura with NBTHK Tokubestsu Hozon Certificate
This blade is attributed to Yamamura (山村) school, which flourished during the late Nanbokucho period (Late 14th century) in Echigo province (Today’s Niigata prefecture). The school was founded by Yamamura Masanobu (正信), who originally belonged to Nobukuni school in Yamashiro province (Today’s Kyoto prefecture). It is said that Yamamura Masanobu was a feudal lord in Echigo province and learned sword-forging techniques from the second-gen Nobukuni by inviting him from Yamashiro province. Nobukuni school had several branches and Yamamura school is known as Yamamura Nobukuni, one of the most prominent branches.
About 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 four prestigious main branches in this region. They are Sanjo, Rai, Nobukuni, and Awataguchi. One of the most characteristics of YAMASHIRO-DEN is its elegant design and beautiful Jigane. You can see beautiful Jigane (steel surface) from this Tanto. It is said that the charateristics of Yamamura scool was very close to that of Nobukuni school.
What is Tanto?
It was initially used as a supplemental weapon for Samurai on horseback, who used a pole weapon or long sword in the Kamaura-Muromachi period. Samurai aimed at an unprotected area of his enemy’s armor with Tanto while having to fight with close distance.
TANTO was named accordingly, depending on how you carry it, such as HUTOKORO-GATANA (懐刀; Stomach-Sword) or KOSHI-GATANA(腰刀; Waist-Sword) or elsewise. TANTO was also a gift for a bride from her family in a traditional Japanese wedding, as it is believed that TANTO would be divine protection from evil power.
This blade 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 is one relatively noticeable Kitae Kizu on the Mune (backbone of the blade). If you like to know the detailed condition, please feel free to contact us.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：28.2 cm ( 11.1 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：0 cm (0 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.
You would find a figure of an animal swimming in the sea is engraved on each Fuchi and Kashira part. It is probably a turtle, but the shape of its head and other features are slightly different from commonly seen turtles. We estimate it is Genbu (玄武), who is a god in the continent and deification of the stars of the north. Genbu is a member of Shijin (四神, four gods) with Seiryu (青龍), Byakko (白虎), and Suzaku (朱雀). Each of these spiritual beasts protects the four directions: north, east, west, and south. Genbu has long been said to be a god that has the power to ward off evil spirits, ward off evil spirits, and ward off epidemics. In addition, since this spirit animal symbolizes the underworld (life) and water, which are the elements that are directly connected to human life, it is said that among the folk, Genbu was the most popular of the four gods, and folk religion was popular.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Seeing from the gaps of the Tsukamaki thread, we could find a figure of a man. Due to wear and tear over time and use, we are unsure the details of what the original design was. However, we assume it was probably modeled after a certain person (such as a great historical figure or a character from a famous story).
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.
If you focus on the center part of this Tsuba, there is an engraved inscription. It is written as follows: 埋忠 (Umetada). The first Umetada: Umetada Myouju (埋忠 明寿), was born in Yamashiro-no Kuni (山城国, today’s Kyoto prefecture) as the Shigetaka (重隆) ‘s second son. The Umetada family was a distinguished family who produced excellent swordsmiths, and Myouju succeeded to the household headship. He firstly served under Ashikaga Yoshiaki (足利義昭, 1537-1597, the 15th Shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate), and later his works were admired by famous Samurai such as Oda Nobunaga (織田信長, 1534-1582), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉, 1537-1598), and Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康, 1543-1616).
The Umetada family was a prestigious school of metalworks in Kyoto. They produced both Japanese swords and sword mountings. This school was involved in a wide range of areas related to Japanese swords, such as remaking famous old swords, inlaying gold inlays with the name of the sword maker, making metal fittings, and recording famous swords. It is thought that the entire studio was engaged in these various tasks. Please note that there is NO provenance or certificate that proves its signature’s authenticity.
Kozuka：Kozuka is a small knife stored in Kozuka Hitsu(groove of the sheath of the Japanese sword).
A Kogatana (小刀, small knife) is stored in the Kozuka. The surface of this Kozuka is decorated with the Nanako-Ji (魚子地) technique. This process makes a uniform minimal protrusions pattern by hitting the Nanako-Ji Tagane (魚子地鏨, a chisel for this technique) on a metal surface. This decorative technique is often seen on sword mountings. About the design, we believe its theme is the Ukai (鵜飼い). It is a fishing method in which cormorants are skillfully manipulated to catch fish in the river.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1017645)
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 March 2nd in the 4th year of Reiwa (2022). 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 : Niigata 35205
The Board of Education in Niigata 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 700 Japanese swords for the past few years (～2024) 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, 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.
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】
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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.