Antique Japanese Sword Tanto Signed by Masa-Aki with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Jyokeshi Masa-Aki(城慶子正明) in the second year of the Keio era(1866: the end of the Edo period). He was active in sword forging during the Kaei-early Meiji era(1848-1870). Jyokeshi Masa-Aki also signed as Takemura Tsuneemon Minamoto Masa-Aki (竹村恒右衛門源正明).
Masa-Aki was born in Tsuyama city in Okayama prefecture in the 11th year of the Bunka era(1814). His real name was Takemura Tsunejiro(竹村恒次郎). It was often the case that a swordsmith’s maker’s name and his birth name were completely different.
From a childhood, Masa-Aki got sword-forging training from Hosokawa Masayoshi, being his apprentice. Hosokawa Masayoshi(細川正義) is a renowned swordsmith at the end of the Edo period. Hosokawa Masayoshi had learned sword-forging techniques under the master, Suishinshi Masahide(水心子正秀), one of the most skilled swordsmiths in Samurai history.
Masayoshi(Masa-Aki’s master) was extremely a skilled swordsmith, and he was good at forging blades with Choji Midare Hamon, which is the characteristic of the Bizen sword-forging style(BIZEN DEN).
Masa-Aki also mastered this excellent sword-forging technique from his master. Choji Midare Hamon is an Irregular wavy tempering line, and you can see it in this blade as well. Most of Masa-Aki’s work reflects Bizen Den (One of the Five Japanese sword-forging traditions).
Hosokawa Masayoshi(his master) and his son Mamori served the Matsudaira clan in the Sakushu Tsuyama domain(today’s Okayama prefecture). And Masa-Aki took over the position after they retired. He served the clan as a Hanko(藩工), who exclusively forged swords for a specific clan. He was also a Hanshi(藩士), who was a Samurai who worked under one clan or domain. Later on, Masa-Aki became an independent swordsmith in Edo city, being popular among high-class Samurai for his excellent craftsmanship. The signature also indicates that this blade was ordered by a Samurai. And, based on the fact that Masa-Aki was categorized as a top tier swordsmith at the end of the Edo period, the person who ordered this blade must have been high-class.
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)： 23.6 cm( 9.3 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： cm( 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 has a glossy black color. This coloring makes an elegant look for the work. It matches well with other parts when it is put into the handle. We hope you will enjoy the entire appearance of the Koshirae, including this Fuchi Kashira.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
We would judge this part as a kind of Menuki. The Gosan-no-Kiri (五三の桐) pattern is designed, and each mark is evenly arranged. The golden coloring remains relatively in good condition, and it adds a gorgeous atmosphere for the Koshirae.
As you see in this work, the Kiri (桐, paulownia) 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. This pattern was once used by the imperial family and people in authority at that time. Today, it is permitted to use by ordinary households and is appreciated as their family crests. According to a theory, the 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 sacred plant.
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. A dragon is designed, and clouds surround its body. The dragon is engraved carefully in details, such as the face and scales. Although some coloring has already been flaked off due to aging, it seems the gold paint was initially applied to it.
Originally, the dragon was an imaginary creature found in ancient traditions or myths. Furthermore, it is regarded as a symbolic beast of auspicious signs. Its body is likened to nine animals: antlers are deer, the head is a camel, eyes are demons, the neck is a snake, belly is the Mizuchi (蛟, mythical animal in Japan which looks like a snake and have a horn and four legs), scales are fish, claws are falcons, palms are tigers, and ears are cows. It was thought that the dragon would reign at the top of all animals because of its odd-looking appearance. This beast motif is often found in sword mountings; it shows that many Samurais favored the dragon design. Its dignity appearance and holy impression might have inspired them.
Habaki：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 TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1010743)
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 25th in the 31st year of Heisei (2019). 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 : Fukui 16552
The Board of Education in Fukui 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.
【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.