Antique Japanese Sword Wakizashi Attributed to Ise Daijyo Yoshihiro with NBTHK Hozon Certificate
This blade is attributed to Ise Daijyo Yoshihiro (伊勢大掾吉広), who was especially active during the early Edo period (mid-late 17th century) in Hizen province (Today’s Saga prefecture). He was an apprentice of the first-gen Tadayoshi, one of the most famous swordsmiths during the early Edo period. Yoshiro’s work has a close resemblance to his master Tadayoshi. His birth name was Yoshizaemon (吉左衛門). He received an honorable official title of Ise Daijyo from the emperor for his excellent craftsmanship during the Kanbun era (1661-1673).
The first-gen Tadayoshi (His master)
The first-gen Tadayoshi was born and raised in the Saga domain. In 1596, under the domain’s order, he went to Kyoto to learn the sword-forging technique from Umetada Myojyu(埋忠明寿), one of the greatest swordsmiths in the early Edo period. He improved his craftsmanship and returned to the Saga domain two years later (1598). The first head of the Nabeshima clan, Nabeshima Katsushige, appreciated the work of the first-gen Tadayoshi very much. Then, Katsushige appointed him as his Okakaekaji, a swordsmith who exclusively forged swords for a specific domain or clan. And Tadayoshi started to stay near Saga castle, the Nabeshima clan’s headquarters. And he founded Hizen Tadayoshi school, which trained more than 100 swordsmiths during the Edo period. Yoshihiro is one of them.
The swordsmiths in the Hizen province worked under the auspices of the Nabeshima clan, a powerful feudal family. They produced beautiful Jigane (steel surface)-patterned blades, also known as Hizen To, using and mixing carbon steel made in western countries. Hizenkoku had been flourishing through international trading. The geographic location of this domain made it possible to have easy access to western carbon steel.
Horimono is an engraving on the Japanese sword. Japanese sword was the integral weapon that divided the life and death of warriors. They expressed their wishes for divine protection by applying their religious objects to the Horimono. The Fudo Myo-O (不動明王, acalanātha) and the Kurikara Ken (倶利伽羅剣) are those kinds of popular designs, as seen in this sword.
The Fudo Myo-O is a protective Buddhist god, notably in Japanese Shingon Buddhism. According to a theory, it is the incarnation of Dainichi Nyorai (大日如来, Mahāvairocana, the principal image of esoteric Buddhism). This god was also known as a god of wars and brought the Kurikara Ken (倶利伽羅剣). It is believed that the Kurikara-Ken could cut off worldly desires: Sandoku (三毒). The Sandoku is the three fundamental human desires; Ton (貪, greed), Jin (瞋, anger, grudge), and Chi (癡, delusion, complaint).
Now, please look at the picture of the Nakago part. You would find a sword engraved on this sword; it is the Kurikara Ken. And the other side of the Nakago, you would also find a rope pattern. This rope is called the Kensaku/Kenjoaku (羂索), which symbolizes the work of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas to save all living things in the world. A ring is attached to one end of this twisted thread, and a half shape of the Dokkosho to the other end. The Dokkosho (独鈷杵) is a kind of Kongo-Sho (金剛杵, Buddhist alter fittings used in esoteric Buddhism) and is called vajra in Sanskrit.
The Kurikara Ken and the Kensaku are both attributes of the Fudo Myo-O. Although the Fudo Myo-O itself isn’t present on this sword, we could associate these motifs with this god. This type of design is called the Rusu Moyou (留守模様). It is a design that evokes the main characters and stories by drawing symbolic backgrounds and belongings without the figure of the person a maker wants to express. There are many works with carvings of Fudo Myo-O on the blade of Japanese swords. However, the figure of Fudo Myo-O is not always carved as in this work. By knowing such a euphemistic way of expression, we wonder if there is a broader range of ways to enjoy viewing Japanese swords.
We believe the person who originally ordered this blade must have wished prosperity for his family by asking the swordsmith to engrave these symbols.
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)：42.0 cm ( 16.5 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：0.6 cm ( 0.23 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 on purpose to prevent red rust while the tang is in its handle. And the discoloration of the tang was created over time, which 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.
A plant pattern is engraved on the entire surface of this Fuchi Kashira. The curved vines and the leaves extending from them are elegantly arranged, giving a graceful impression. Golden paint is applied to edges of each part. We would like to categorize this design as the Karakusa (唐草, arabesque) pattern. It is a pattern in which stems and leaves of vines are twined and make curves. Since ivy has a strong vitality and grows up without interruption, people regarded this design as a symbol of prosperity and longevity.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
It is challenging to judge the motif of this Menuki. Seeing from the gaps of the Tsukamaki thread, it is probably a kind of plant. Although some colorings were already faded due to aging, it seems this Menuki was initially painted with gold-colored metal. We think such wear occurred probably due to friction from being gripped many times.
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 antique Tsuba has Kozuka and Kougai holes and has a simple appearance. As this Tsuba does not have any decorative colorings such as gold or silver inlay, you could directly enjoy the color and texture of its material. Also, its plain design matches well with the gorgeous look of the scabbard when this Tsuba is attached to the handle. The entire Koshirae has finished in an elegant manner thanks to this well-balanced.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Raden technique is applied on this Saya. It is a kind of decorative technique that is often used for traditional craftworks. It uses the pearl part of seashells and put it into the engraved surface of lacquer or wood. Thanks to its iridescent luster, it gives a luxurious look to works.
While there is no crack on this Saya, we would like you to keep in mind that some of Raden came off due to its age.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 380410)
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 May 30th in the 20th year of Heisei(2008). They appraised it as Hozon Touken, the blade 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 : Kyoto 54908
The Board of Education in Kyoto 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.
“It was outstanding. Nothing short from what I would expect from Japanese people. Takaoki-san and Gin-san treated me to the best purchasing experience I’ve ever had. They were honorable, humble and dedicated to duty. I felt like a family member. I would highly recommend the Samurai Museam Shop to anyone looking to purchase an authentic antique Japanese sword with certification paper work.”
【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.
【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 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.
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