Antique Japanese Sword Tanto Signed by Kaneari with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Kaneari (兼有). According to NBTHK that appraised this blade, it was made during SHIN SHIN TO era, which refers to the Japanese blades forged from the early 1760s to the beginning of the Meiji period. We presume this blade was created in Mino province because it is often the case that the swordsmiths who lived there used 兼 (Kane) in their maker’s name. Also, we believe this maker’s name was loved by people back then because Kaneari shares the same pronunciation of 金有り, which means “Own a lot of money”.
Japan enjoyed a relatively peaceful time from the early Edo period to the mid-Edo period(the 1600s-1760s) because of the stable economy and the powerful government run by Tokugawa Shogunate. Many Samurai didn’t have many opportunities to utilize his Katana sword in public or on battlefields during this time. Thus, they carried their swords more as a symbol of their social status.
The demand for swords decreased accordingly compared to the previous Warring state period called Sengoku Jidai. (1467-1600)
However, toward the end of the Edo period(1764-1876), the Japanese sword’s role changed dramatically. With the poverty spreading in Japan, there were so many riots initiated by the civilians. Japanese sword started to play an essential role in maintaining public safety.
Pressure from foreign countries to open Japanese borders also forced Samurai to order strong-looking swords to survive this tumultuous time. We believe many swordsmiths made great efforts to forged high-quality, practical swords for their masters to prepare for battles.
There was a civil war between Tokugawa’s military government and the new Meiji government at the end of the Edo period. That means the original owner of this Katana might have seen the moment when Samurai’s life changed forever.
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.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：28.2 cm ( 11.1 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 0.2 cm (0.07 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.
This Fuchi Kashira’s design is a combination of the Sakura (桜, cherry blossom) and wave patterns. The Kojiri (鐺, a metal fitting that protects the tip of a scabbard) is also decorated with the same design.
Cherry blossom is one of the seasonal things of spring, and it has been cherished for a long time in Japan. Its pattern is designed not only for sword mountings but also for Kimono (着物, traditional Japanese costume) or furnishings. One theory says that the god of grain exists in cherry blossoms. Therefore, this flower pattern has been treated as the symbol of a plentiful harvest. In ancient times, people held a traditional custom under cherry blossom trees to pray for a bumper year. It is said this is the origin of the cherry blossom viewing picnic today.
As waves’ movements continue endlessly, the wave pattern represents eternity, immortality, longevity, birth, etcetera. Also, since tides repeatedly change the shape and terrain of rocks, some people hoped for a strong will by using this motif. People used this pattern wishing for an indomitable spirit to rechallenge time and time without giving up.
The curved lines that express the movement of the waves and the outlines of each cherry blossom petal are carefully carved one by one, which is one of the factors that give the entire Koshirae a graceful impression.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
As we cannot see the entire shape, it is challenging to judge the motif of this Menuki. We estimate it is either a scroll or folded fan. And you could see a golden string wrapped around it, probably to bind this object.
Some of the scrolls have written sutras, while others have secrets. We would say it is a symbolic item of wisdom. And the fan design, this motif has been favored as an auspicious pattern representing development and prosperity. During the Heian period (794-1185/1192), aristocrats enjoyed elegant plays with fans and appreciated the fan as a noble item. A fan has a characteristic shape, and it is called Suehirogari (末広がり) in Japanese. Based on the idea that this shape implies a perspective of the future, people appreciate this design. Whether this Menuki’s motif is a scroll or a folding fan, it is still an auspicious design.
Although Menuki is quite a small sword mounting, a delicate pattern is drawn on this Menuki. And perhaps one of these is a Karakusa (唐草, arabesque) pattern. It is a design in which stems and leaves of vines are twined and make curves. Since ivy has a strong vitality and grows up without interruption, people regarded this design as a symbol of prosperity and longevity.
*Please keep in mind that some area of the Tsuka Maki is quite aged.
Habaki：Habaki is the equipment to make the blade not touch its scabbard inside. It prevents the blade from getting rusty and chipped.
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. By hitting the Nanako-Ji Tagane (魚子地鏨, chisel used for this technique), it makes delicate fish egg-shaped protrusions on a metal surface. This decorative technique is often seen in sword mountings.
About the motif, you would find a horse looking up at the pine tree. Golden paint is applied and makes a color contrast of black and gold in this work. In Japan, horses have been considered the gods’ vehicle since ancient times; therefore, this animal was presented to shrines at the Shinto rituals. According to a theory, horses were brought to Japan around the 4th century to the 5th century. Furthermore, the technique of horse riding was transmitted at the same time. Eventually, in the Muromachi and Kamakura periods, horse riding was incorporated into one of the Samurai traditions; horses became valuable as military supplies. Cavalry fighting has been adopted into the battles, and horses fulfilled a vital role for Samurai. People appreciate this motif for a long time, so this animal pattern is found in various items.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
It is presumed that this scabbard was probably made by wrapping a cloth around the scabbard and applying lacquer to harden it. About the design, it seems the cloud pattern is the principal design for overall of this scabbard. The limbs and scales of dragons could also be seen here and there, so it might be a kind of the Unryu Zu (雲竜図, the combination of clouds and dragon design).
Clouds bring rain and snow, and their movements significantly affect the day’s weather. Due to its supernatural power, a theory says that gods, spirits, and dragons dwell in the clouds. Also, in Japan, there is a religion that worships the dragon as a water god. Therefore, it is understandable that this type of design is seen in Koshiraes.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1018639)
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 Aug. 25th in the 4 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 : Toyama 17075
The Board of Education in Toyama 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.
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.
“It was outstanding. Nothing short from what I would expect from Japanese people. Takaoki-san and Gin-san treated me to the best purchasing experience I’ve ever had. They were honorable, humble and dedicated to duty. I felt like a family member. I would highly recommend the Samurai Museam Shop to anyone looking to purchase an authentic antique Japanese sword with certification paper work.”
【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.
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* 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.
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【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.
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