Antique Japanese Sword Tanto Signed by Tomoshige with NBTHK Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Tomoshige (友重). Tomoshige is also known as Fujishima Tomoshige (藤島友重), whose maker’s name lasted several generations from the early Nanboku period to the end of the Edo period (Early 14th-Late 19th century). According to NBTHK, which appraised this blade, it was made during the late Muromachi period (Early-Mid 16th century). We called NBTHK to confirm this information.
The generations of Tomoshige forged blades in Kaga domain (Today’s Ishikawa prefecture). We believe the late-gen Tomoshige made this blade.
It is said that the first-gen Tomoshige was an apprentice of Rai Kunitoshi, one of the most famous swordsmiths in Yamashiro province (Today’s Kyoto) during the late Kamakura-early Nanbokucho period. And the first-gen Tomoshige settled in Kaga domain and founded the school. When this blade was forged, there were many rivalries and wars between regional feudal lords to expand their land or gain political control. This time is called Sengoku Jidai.
In the late Muromachi period, Maeda clan started to control Kaga domain. Maeda clan was originally a retainer of the Oda family, who ruled Owari province. (today’s Nagoya area in Aichi prefecture). The Maeda clan was one of the most influential families in Samurai history. The first head of the Maeda clan was Toshie Maeda. He climbed the social ladder of Samurai society and became the feudal lord of Kaga Province(today’s Ishikawa prefecture). He had a vast rice fief that fed 100 million grown-up adults, which is called Hyakuman Goku. Toshie Maeda had a close tie with Oda Nobunaga and Hideyoshi Toyotomi. Since Tomoshige lived in this domain, he likely served the Maeda clan.
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)：27.5 cm( 10.82 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.
Clams are designed for this Fuchi Kashira. There is a classical pattern that is called the Kai-Dukushi (貝尽くし). This pattern is a combination of different types of seashells. It is often designed with a seaside scene or wave pattern. You would feel the refreshing atmosphere of summer. Bivalves, especially clams, cannot be combined with any other clam’s frame; therefore, its pattern represents happy marriage.
Seashell is called Kai (貝) in Japanese. Because of its pronunciation, the seashell has another meaning. There is a word Yarigai (やりがい, worthwhile). As a part of this word has the same accent as Kai (貝 is read Gai in some cases), Japanese people found this meaning. Also, since seashells are hard and combined only with their pair, people thought it represented a robust defense. Due to these meanings that inspire warriors who go to the battlefields, Samurais might have loved this motif.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
This Menuki’s motif is a dog. You would find its adorable figure from the gaps of the Tsukamaki thread. Dogs have been familiar subject in our daily life since ancient times. In the past, there were only middle-sized dogs in Japan, which means no small dogs existed. But in 732, a little dog was presented as a gift from the Continent to Japan. The emperor back then loved it very much. After this dog passed away, the emperor ordered to make an ornament of it, and this display object became the talisman against evils. Later, it was combined with the lion’s image. Have you ever seen Komainu (狛犬)? The Komainu is a statue that is usually placed in shrines. They look like a mixture of dogs and lions. According to a theory, the small dog above and the lion were the originals of Komainu.
Dog pattern represents a safe delivery and the wish for children to grow up healthy. Therefore, dog patterns are often found in kimonos (着物, traditional Japanese costume) for ladies and children. However, it was not only women or children who appreciated the dog pattern. There was a Shogun (将軍, the top of Samurai who ruled the entire Japan) who is famous even today for loving animals: Tsunayoshi Tokugawa, the 5th Shogun in the Edo period. He promulgated a law to protect animals’ lives. It is said he had more than one hundred dogs. He was called “Inu Shogun,” which means Shogun of dogs in Japanese. The former owner of this Tanto might have been an enthusiast of this animal.
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 shape. A dragon is engraved and colored with golden paint. Initially, the dragon was an imaginary creature found in ancient foreign traditions or myths. Furthermore, it is regarded as a symbol 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, a mythical animal in Japan that looks like a snake and has 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. There are many sword mountings that dragons are designed. It shows that lots of Samurais cherished this dignified beast motif.
If you focus on the dragon’s hand, you will find that it brings a ball-shaped object. It is the Nyoi Houju (如意宝珠, Cintāmaṇi); a fantasy jewel that fulfills any desire and gives out treasure, clothes, food, and drinks. Moreover, it heals illness and suffering, removes evils, purifies muddy water, and prevents disasters. It is said this magical item is taken from the brain of the king of the dragon.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 307189 )
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 Nov. 21st in the 61st year of Showa (1986). 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 : Kagawa 13713
The Board of Education in Kagawa 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 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 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.
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.”
【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.