Antique Japanese Sword Tanto Signed by Kaneoto with NBTHK Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Kaneoto(兼音) during the late Muromachi period(1469-1487) in Mino province(today’s Gifu prefecture). There are two generations of Kaneoto. The first gen was active in sword forging during the Bunmei era(1469-1487) while the second’s prime time was in the Oei era(1521-1528). We believe it was forged by the first-gen because of its characteristic and the grade of NBTHK authentication paper.
The MINO swordsmiths style, also known as MINO-DEN, basically has the TOGARI(Pointed shapes protruding from the Hamon )in a classic straight line and random temper line with some white Utsuri. MINO-DEN had its origin from YAMATO-DEN in the late KAMAKURA period(1280-1330). It flourished in the MUROMACHI period(1333-1573) and continued until the EDO period(1603-1868).
MINO-DEN especially prospered during Sengoku Jidai(Warring State period) due to the high demand for weapons. And the location of Mino province beat others. Akechi Mitsuhide controlled Mino province, and Nobunaga Oda ruled Owari province, and Tokugawa Ieyasu was the lord of Suruga (Neighboring areas). There was high demand from those powerful feudal lords and their retainers. Furthermore, so many wars occurred between the Kanto region and the Kyoto area, and Mino is located in the middle, making feudal lords feel convenient to order swords from MINO-DEN. The blades forged in MINO provinces also had the reputation of their practical design and sharpness. Many feudal lords demanded swords forged in the Mino province.
This blade is appraised as a Hozon Touken (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): 29.8 cm (11.7 inches)
Curvature (Sori): 0.1 cm (0.04 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.
The surface of this Fuchi Kashira 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, pine trees are engraved on both Fuchi and Kashira. Golden paint is applied to some parts and remains relatively in good condition. This gold coloring makes an elegant contrast with Fuchi Kashira’s black metal color. The pine needles and the tree’s shape are depicted in a design rather than a realistic manner, and the movements of the tree’s trunk and branches are especially rhythmic. Since pine trees keep their green color throughout the years by withstanding severe heat and cold, people thought this plant pattern represents eternal youth. Furthermore, its color is called Tokiwa-Iro (常盤色, evergreen trees’ dark green color with brown), and pine trees have another name “Tokiwa-Gi (常盤木).” Tokiwa means immutability, so Tokiwa-Iro is a color that praises green with a wish for longevity and prosperity. These meanings might be the reasons why this plant motif has been popular among Japanese people for a long time, including Samurai in the past.
Tsuka and Menuki: Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Through the gaps of the Tsukamaki thread, you would find the figure of a horse on each side of the handle. These Menukis are colored with golden paint, and their bright color makes this work looks gorgeous. Horses have been around human life since ancient times, not only as our food but also for transportation or carriage of luggage. In Japan, horses were thought of as vehicles for gods to be dedicated to shrines in ancient times. It is said it is the origin of Ema (絵馬, picture tablet used as an offering at a shrine) today. Horses had been used as a tool for rituals and festivals. After the age of the Samurai warriors appeared, wearing large armor or performing archery and riding a hose became martial arts. Equestrian tactics became the pillar of military action and security activities. According to a theory, that is the reason that the Japanese sword began to have a curve to make it suitable for slashing (the Japanese sword was straight in the beginning).
Among the horse patterns, there is a design called the Hidari-Uma (左馬). The letter “馬” means a horse and describes the figure of a horse running to the left. And the Hidari-Uma pattern refers to a picture of a horse running to the right. It shows the turning over of the “horse (Uma).” There is the word Mau (舞う, dancing) in Japanese; people thought happiness would come down in association with “turning the horse” and “dancing.” Also, the horse pattern has been loved as an amulet to pray for prosperity in business. These meanings might have inspired this Menuki’s design.
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 has a unique curved surface. We think it is a kind of Wangata Tsuba (椀形鐔). It is a Tsuba with a particular shape that has a bowl shape by striking the ground from the back side and rounding the front side. It is believed to have been influenced by Tsubas attached to Western swords, and it is said that iron is often used as the material. According to a theory, the purpose of this shape was to prevent dust from entering the scabbard.
If you focus on four corners of this Tsuba, you will find heart mark-shaped holes. These are the Inome (猪の目, boar’s eye) pattern which has been used since ancient times. Some people believed that the Inome design would work as an amulet to protect them from evil spirits or fire. Also, it is said it would bring good luck.
Saya: Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper: NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No.3011517)
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 Mar. 23rd in the 28th year of Heisei (2016). They appraised it as 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: Gifu 27082
The Board of Education in Gifu 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.
“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.”
【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 take 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 a 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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