Antique Japanese Sword Tanto Signed by Masayori with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Shibata Masayori (新発田正順) in the fourth year of the Ansei era (1858: The end of the Edo period). Shibata is the province located in today’s Nigata prefecture. The signature also says it was made at the beginning of winter (Hatsu Fuyu: 初冬). Based on the signature and NBTHK’s authentication paper, the engraving was also made by Masayori. This blade was ordered by Hasebe Ujishige (長谷部氏重).
In this work, you see a Japanese apricot. Since this plant design has been favored as an auspicious design, it was possibly incorporated into the Horimono. Japanese apricot blossoms begin to bloom in winter that snow still covers its tree, so people thought this flower tells the arrival of spring. Same as cherry blossom, it has been appreciated for a long time in Japan. People enjoy its adorable petal shape and scent, gracefully branched tree, and compose many poems. As it comes out in the cold season, it symbolizes the power of perseverance and vitality.
Three characters are engraved vertically. These letters could be read as follows: 君万歳. If we divide these letters based on the meaning of modern words, they could be divided into two words, “君” and “万歳.” Please note that here we introduce these letters’ meanings to you based on their dictionary meanings. The word 君 (Kimi) means an respected way of calling a higher authority such as an emperor or a person of virtue. And another word, 万歳 (Banzai) generally means the movement to show joy or celebration. The person who ordered this blade must have requested Masayori to engrave these letters. We assume this Tanto might have a special present from someone to a higher authority.
This blade was 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)：28.3 cm ( 11.14 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.
Black lacquer is applied to this Fuchi Kasira. And you would find that a golden mark is designed on the Kashira part. We think it is put as a family crest, and this design is called the Daki Myoga Mon (抱き茗荷文). It depicts a combination of two mioga gingers that are facing each other. It is often confused with the Gyouyou (杏葉) pattern; the difference between the Gyouyou and Myoga patterns is whether veins are depicted in leaves. Also, the Gyouyou pattern is not a plant design.
The Japanese name of mioga ginger “Myoga (茗荷)” has the same pronunciation as another word, “Myoga (冥加),” which means divine protection; therefore, this motif has been treated as a good-luck design. According to a theory, people incorporated the Myoga pattern into designs because the symbol of Matara-Jin (摩多羅神) was Myoga. This god has been worshipped in Tendai-shū (天台宗, Tendai lotus school), and believed that this god liberates from earthly bondage. That is why this crest is seen at shrines and temples in various parts of Japan. We assume the former owner of this sword might have chosen this Fuchi Kashira’s design based on his family crest.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
The motif of this Menuki is a pair of male and female deer. Both deer are sitting and resting on the ground, with one leg outstretched as if facing each other. Their eyes and the pattern on their back are colored with golden paint.
In Japan, this animal is often designed with maple leaves. Today, this classical theme is well-known as a motif of the Hanafuda (花札, Japanese card game), which symbolizes autumn. There is a story about this motif. Once upon a time, A deer crawled into the temple garden and approached children practicing calligraphy. Then the deer ate the children’s calligraphy paper. Seeing this, a child threw a paperweight at the deer to get rid of it. However, the deer happened to be hit on a vital spot by this attack and passed away.
At that time, The deer was considered a messenger of God, and people thought it was sacred animal. The child was buried alive in stone and sand with the deer’s corpse for the crime of killing the deer. The child’s mother deeply mourned his death and planted a maple tree to hold a funeral for his deceased after her death. This tradition was taken up in the title of the Joruri (浄瑠璃, a Japanese narrative ballad chanted to the accompaniment of Shamisen) as a title; the Jusan Gane (十三鐘) and became widely known to the public. While we are unsure about why this animal design was incorporated into this Menuki, we hope you enjoyed knowing this folklore which is said to be one of the origins of this motif.
The deer motif has also been treated as a symbol of longevity. Therefore, the Samurai who once owned this sword might have wished to live long.
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.
This scabbard is colored with glossy black lacquer, and several plants are designed on it. We think these are the following flowers that color the autumn season: the Kiku (菊, chrysanthemum), Ominaeshi (女郎花, yellow patrinia), Hagi (萩, bush clover), Obana (尾花, miscanthus sinensis), Kikyou (桔梗, Japanese bellflower), and Kuzu (葛, kudzu vine). Most of these plants are classified as Aki-no Nanakusa (秋の七草, the seven flowers of autumn).
The Makie (蒔絵) is effectively used in this work. It is a typical Japanese lacquer art technique developed uniquely in Japan for about 1200 years. Firstly, it needs to draw a picture with lacquer on the surface with a thin brush. Next, sprinkle the gold powder above to show the pattern before the lacquer hardens. This technique makes an elegant and ornamental look to works, as seen in this scabbard.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1017078)
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 Dec 3rd, the third year of Reiwa (2021). They appraised it as Tokubetsu Hozon Touken, the blade especially worth preserving for Japanese society. The purchaser will receive these original certificates as well. We can also translate what is written into English and make a PDF file for your record if you request.
Registration Number : Osaka 49770
The Board of Education in Osaka 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.