Antique Japanese Sword Tanto Signed by Sadaharu with NBTHK Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Sadaharu (貞晴) in Settsu (Today’s Osaka). Sadaharu was an apprentice of Gassan Sadayoshi, one of the most famous Japanese swordsmiths at the end of the Edo period. Sadaharu named himself Kenryushi (剣竜子), a child of blade and dragon. It is said that Sadaharu often did Daisaku for his master, Sadayoshi. Sadaharu was active during the Keio-early Meiji era (Late 19th-early 20th century). Daisaku is a regular act where an apprentice or a child of the swordsmith signed his master’s name with his master’s permission, being involved in a sword-forging. That means that his master highly acknowledged Sadaharu’s craftmanship.
Who is Gassan Sadayoshi?
Gassan Sadayoshi’s real name is Gassan Yahachiro. He was born in Dewakoku(Yamagata prefecture today) in 1781. Gassan is the name of the school he belonged to. It was initially founded during the Heian period(late 12th century). It is said that the school name “Gassan” (月山) came from the fact that they forged swords near the mountain called Gassan in Dewakoku.
In Sadayoshi’s early career, he learned sword forging technique from his father, Okuyama Yasaburo Sadachika(山弥三郎貞近), who is said to have been a descendant of a member of O-Shu Gassan school (奥州月山), one of the oldest Gassan schools. When Sadayoshi became about 20 years old, he went to Edo city(today’s Tokyo) to serve Suishinshi Masahide(水心子正秀) as an apprentice. Sushinshi Masahide is known as one of the most skilled and famous swordsmiths at the end of the Edo period(150-200 years ago). After ten years of apprenticeship under Masahide, Sadayoshi mastered excellent craftsmanship. And he moved to Osaka in 1833 when he was 30 years old. He founded Osaka Gassan school there, improving his sword-forging technique and eventually settling there. He also trained many apprentices, who later became notable swordsmiths at the end of the Edo period.
While Gassan school was known as one of the most prestigious schools from the Kamakura period(late 12th century), its presence faded in the early-mid Edo period. However, after Sadayoshi became a highly-regarded swordsmith at the end of the Edo period, the whole school revitalized and flourished again because of his continuous effort.
Sadayoshi adopted a son from Tsukamoto family and named him Sadakazu, who later became one of the most famous swordsmiths in the post Samurai period(Meiji era). Father and son spent many years researching traditional Gassan style swords and finally made Ayasugihada, the signature design of Gassan school. Ayasguhihada looks undulating grain pattern in the Jihada(steel surface), which resembles a Japanese cedar grain. Gassan Sadayoshi also forged other styles of swords aside from Ayasugi Hada Jihada.
Gassan Sadayoshi died at the age of 71 in the third year of the Meiji era(1870). His son, Sadakazu, preserved the tradition of Gassan, and he passed it down to Sadakatsu. Sadakazu and Sadaharu both learned sword-forging techniques from Gassan Sadayoshi.
The Gassan school has been running for the 6th generation. The current Gassan alive is Gassan Kazutoshi, and his son is Gassan Sadanobu.
They still keep forging traditional Japanese swords in Nara prefecture today.
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 with artistic value.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 18.9 cm(7.44 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), Kozuka.
Fuchi-Kashira：A pair of matching sword fittings that cover the upper and bottom parts of its sword hilt.
This Fuchi Kashira has a simple look and is colored with elegant black paint. Also, you could enjoy the texture and color of the metal material directly as it does not have ornamental decorations. Although there are minor damages due to aging, we think these are tellers who show us this Fuchi Kashira’s history.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
We guess the motif of this Menuki is probably the Usagi (兎, rabbit). In Japan, a tale says rabbits are pounding steamed rice into a cake on the moon. This fable has been handed down for a long time, and some people still have the custom of enjoying the moon-viewing while thinking of this scene. According to folklore that has been passed down in the continent, it is said that rabbits are treating immortal herbs. This story was brought to Japan, and herbs were changed to rice cakes. Based on this idea, some people have believed the rabbit pattern represents longevity. It might have inspired the choice of this Menuki’s motif.
Kozuka：Kozuka is a small knife stored in Kozuka Hitsu(groove of the sheath of the Japanese sword).
The Kogatana (小刀, small knife) and the Kozuka are directly attached. The design of the handle part is probably a kind of plant. It looks like a branch of a Japanese apricot blossom with lots of buds. Silvery coloring makes an ornamental look of this work.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
This Saya is coated with stingray skin.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 3019237)
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 10th in the 30th year of Heisei (2018). They appraised it as Hozon Touken, the blade 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 : Kanagawa 58413
The Board of Education in Kanagawa 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 300 Japanese swords 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, Canada, Mexico, UK, 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.
【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.