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Updated: 23 May 2024

SOLD

Antique Japanese Sword Tanto Signed by Bizen Osafune Morihiro
NBTHK Hozon Certificate

$2,871.69

DELIVERY TIME : Approx. 1-1.5 months
*We ship from Tokyo, Japan. There might be delay in shipment depending on countries.

SHIPPING TO :
USA, UK, Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, Germany , Hong Kong, France, Finland, Australia
*Please contact us prior to purchase if your country isn’t listed.

INCLUDED : NBTHK Hozon Certificate, Koshirae Case, Traditional Sword Carrying Case, Sword Maintenance Kit, Full Exportation Support

Category Tanto (KOTO)
Age Late 14th- Early 15th century
Swordsmith Bishu Osafune Morihiro (備州長船守弘)
Certificate NBTHK Hozon Certificate
Location Bizen province (Today’s Okayama prefecture)
Blade Size Cutting Edge Length: 25.0 cm (9.84 inches)
Curvature: 0 cm (o inches)

More photos& videos available on request. Please feel free to contact us. 

SOLD

Antique Japanese Sword Tanto Signed by Bizen Osafune Morihiro with Hozon Certificate 

【Description】

 This blade was signed by Bishu Osafune Morihiro (備州長船守弘)  during late 14th- Early 15th century. The maker’s name, Morihiro, lasted three generations from the Nanbokucho- Muromachi period. Bishu(備州)is a larger area in today’s Okayama&Hiroshima prefecture. Bishu consists of Bizen(備前), Bitchu(備中), and Bingo (備後). Osafune is the name of the prestigious school located in Bizen province. 

 Morihiro is categorized as a Kozori swordsmith. Kozori is a group of swordsmiths who belonged to Osafune school in Bizen during the Nanbokucho Period but weren’t part of major branches such as Kanemitsu school. When the first-gen Morihiro was active in the Nanbokucho period, Japan was tumultuous because the imperial court was split into two sides(south and north). There were many conflicts, and many Samurai were deployed. And Moromitsu and Kozori school must have dedicated themselves to forging high-quality blades for those Samurai who fought in battles.

This History of Bizen Osafune School
 It is said that Osafune school was founded by Mitsutada (光忠), who was active during the mid-Kamakura period. Bizen Osafune school was the biggest one of all other schools in Bizen province, and they received many orders from feudal lords or renowned Samurai. They were called Osafunemono and beloved by Samurai warriors.

 Among the swordsmiths who belonged to this school, Nagamitsu, Sanenaga, and Kagemitsu are known as Osafune Sansaku, the three renowned Osafune swordsmiths. There are also four other prominent swordsmiths who were from Bizen Osafune school. They are called Osafune Shiten-no, the four masters of Osafune school. Their names are Nagamitsu, Kanemitsu, Nagayoshi, and Motoshige.

 BIZEN is located near the Chugoku Mountains, where iron sands, one of the essential materials for making Japanese swords, were abundant. Furthermore, BIZEN swordsmiths had close access to Yoshi River, where they could find water and charcoal. This geological location contributed to the swordsmiths forging high-quality refined blades. We presume BIZEN was quite active in sword-forging from ancient times. It is said that BIZEN DEN was created by groups of swordsmiths there during the late Heian era (Late 12th century ). These ancient swordsmiths in Bizen province are called Ko-Bizen (Old Bizen) swordsmiths. By inheriting the sword forging techniques from Ko-Bizen swordsmiths, the Bizen Osafune school flourished from the mid-Kamakura period.

 

  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 and high quality with artistic value.

*Please be noted that the width of this blade is much thinner than that of Koshirae. If you like to see the size difference from a photo please feel free to contact us.

 

【 Blade】
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)25.0 cm (9.84 inches)
Curvature(Sori) 0 cm (0 inches)


 

Hamon
The crystalline structure which forms along the cutting edge of a blade as a result of the hardening process
Jimon(Jihada)
visible steel surface pattern created by folding and hammering during forging process



 

NakagoNakago 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), Kozuka.

 

Fuchi-KashiraA pair of matching sword fittings that cover the upper and bottom parts of its sword hilt. 

 The Aoi (葵) leaves are designed on this Fuchi Kashira. It seems silvery metal is applied to these leaf parts. Since its leaves have a habit of always facing the sun, and the word “Aoi” is taken as “Aogu (仰ぐ, looking up)” for the sun, people thought the Aoi pattern would bring good fortune.

 There is a famous family crest that uses this plant. It is called the Aoi-Domoe / Mitsuba-Aoi-no Mon (葵巴/三つ葉葵の紋). It is a plant pattern in which each stem branches and has characteristic heart-shaped leaves. Today, it is known as the family crest of the Tokugawa Shogunate family led by Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川 家康, 1543-1616), a famous military commander of the Warring States period. This plant pattern has also been used for the crest of the Kamo shrine in Kyoto prefecture. As mentioned above, the famous Shogunate family, the Tokugawa family, had their family crest with three leaves of Aoi due to their relationship with the Kamo shrine. In this way, Aoi patterns are familiar to Japanese people for a long time.

Tsuka and MenukiTsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.

 A figure of Nezumi (鼠, mouse) is the motif of the Menuki. These mice rest on the fruits of a tree that seem to be chestnuts. Since mice have many children, it is regarded as a symbol of fertility and prosperity for future generations. According to a theory, the belief that worships mice as the messenger for Daikokuten was brought to Japan from the continent. Daikokuten (大黒天) is a member of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune, called Shichifukujin (七福神) in Japanese. Mice have the ability to predict disasters and move to a safe place before a fire or earthquake occurs. The ancient people who saw this behavior thought the mouse was the sacred beast that knew the future.

 When Daikokuten’s religious ritual and the mouse’s holy creature faith were brought to Japan, the mouse was connected with Okuninushi-no-Mikoto (大国主命), who is the god in Japanese myth. In the Kojiki (古事記, regarded as the oldest history book in existence in Japan), there is a story about a mouse who saves Okuninushi-no-Mokoto. One day, Okuninushi-no-Mikoto met a beautiful lady, and they fell in love. However, her father, Susanoo, put him to the test. After overcoming severe hardships, Susanoo took him to a field and shot an arrow far away. And he instructed Okuninushi-no-Mikoto to get that arrow. Surprisingly, Susanoo shot a flaming arrow near where the arrow was stuck. Okuninushi-no-Mikoto lost a place to escape in the burnt field and got into a difficult situation. At that time, a mouse appeared and advised him to hide underneath the hole. He could be saved by lying down at the bottom of the hole and waiting until the fire was put out. The mouse that is regarded as Daikokuten’s messenger saved Okuninushi-no-Mikoto. Based on this story, it is said that the theme that mice are playing around with Daikokuten’s straw rice bag came into being. In this Menuki, we cannot find straw rice, but this story might have inspired mouse designs in sword mountings such as this work.

Tsuba and HabakiTsuba 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. 

 The same as the Fuchi Kashira mentioned above, this Tsuba is decorated with a leaf design. Golden and silvery paints are applied to these leaves. This coloring adds decorativeness to this Tsuba.

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.

 You would find five dog-like animals are engraved. We think these animals are Karajishis (唐獅子). The Shishi (獅子) means a lion in Japanese. This animal is a lion brought from the continent to Japan in the Toh period (唐, Tang dynasty, 618-907). The Karajishi typically has curly hair for its head, neck, body, and tail. In Buddhism, the Karajishi is regarded as a symbol of wisdom, and Monju Bosatu (文殊菩薩, Manjushri Bodhisattva) rides lions. According to a theory, the Karajishi is the origin of Komainu (狛犬, stone guardian dogs that exorcize evil spirits). It shows this beast motif has been familiar to Japanese people since ancient times.

Saya Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.  

Authentication PaperNBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 3031955)

  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 August 25th in the 5th year of Reiwa (2023). They appraised it as Tokubetsu 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 : Tokyo 326229

 The Board of Education in Tokyo 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.

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【About us】
 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.

【Payment Method】
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.

【Shipping】
 We have shipped authentic Japanese swords to the USA, UK, Canada, Mexico, Germany, France, Hong Kong, Finland 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.

【Review】
 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

READ KATANA ARCHIVE ARTICLE(Episode1-8)

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.

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