Antique Japanese Sword Wakizashi Attributed to Shimada Yoshisuke with NBTHK Hozon Certificate
This blade is attributed to Shimada Yoshisuke(島田義助) by NBHTK that authenticated this blade.
Based on the appraisal, we believe it is attributed to a later-gen Yoshisuke during the late Muromachi period: mid-late 16th century. The maker’s name (Yoshisuke) lasted several generations. It started from the mid-Muromachi period and lasted until the late Edo period.
The first-gen Yoshisuke was active during the Kosho era(1455-57). He was the founder of Shimada school, located in the Suruga domain(today’s Shizuoka prefecture). It is said that the first-gen Yoshisuke was a descendant of Bizen Ichimonji Sukemune, one of the most famous swordsmiths in Japanese history.
The first-gen Yoshisuke served a powerful feudal family named Imagawa. It is said that he received his maker’s name 義 from Imagawa Yoshitada. Shimada school interacted with other schools in Soshu swordsmiths living near Odawa castle in Kanagawa prefecture. The Suruga domain was vital for strong feudal lords such as Takeda, Tokugawa, and Hojo clan during the Sengoku Jidai(Warring state period: Late Muromachi period). The swordsmiths in Shimada school received many orders from these strong feudal families. The excellent craftsmanship the first-gen Yoshisuke had mastered was passed down to the next generations. It comes with beautiful sword mounting.
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)： 33.5 cm( 13.2 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 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.
The Botan (牡丹, peony) flowers are designed for this Fuchi Kashira. Silvery paint and golden paint were effectively applied to their petals and leaves, and these colorings give elegance to this Fuchi Kashira. The peony represents happiness, wealth, nobleness, and gorgeousness. This flower pattern has been treated as a kind of good-omen motif; people regarded it as a rich harvest sign. As mentioned above, the peony is called “Botan” in Japanese. When its name is written in Japanese, its second letter has the following meaning: mountain hermit medicine which gives us eternal youth. Based on this idea, some people thought this flower pattern symbolizes eternal youth and longevity.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
You would find a golden animal from the gaps of the Tsukamaki thread. They look similar to dogs, and they have curly hair. This animal is the Kara-Jishi (唐獅子). The Shishi (獅子) means a lion in Japanese, and the Kara-Jishi is a lion brought from the Continent to Japan in the Toh period (唐, Tang dynasty, 618-907). The Kara-Jishi typically has curly hair for its head, neck, body, and tail, as you see in this work. In Buddhism, the Kara-Jishi is regarded as a symbol of wisdom, and the Monju Bosatu (文殊菩薩, Manjushri Bodhisattva) rides lions. According to a theory, the Kara-Jishi originates from the Komainu (狛犬, stone guardian dogs that exorcize evil spirits).
Now, please remember the motif of this sword’s Fuchi Kashira. If you look at the entire handle, you will realize that it is a combination of the peony and the Kara-Jishi. It is a classical theme, and people favored it for designing multiple items. There is a Houwa (法話, Buddhist monks tell the story of Buddhism in an easy-to-understand manner) that treats them. The lion is called the king of the beasts. However, even this invincible animal has only one fear; a bug in the lion’s body. This pest grows in the lion’s hair and eventually breaks the skin and bites the flesh. Nevertheless, it dies if it is exposed to be peony’s night dew. Therefore, the lion rests under peony flowers at night, looking for a haven. This story might have inspired the former owner of this sword.
Kozuka：Kozuka is a small knife stored in Kozuka Hitsu(groove of the sheath of the Japanese sword).
The Kogatana (小刀, small knife) is stored in the Kozuka. Three horses are designed for the Kozuka part. The golden metal was applied to these horses and the Kozuka’s edge, and it makes an elegant color contrast between black and gold.
Horses have been familiar with human life for a long time. In Japan, horses were thought of as vehicles for gods to be dedicated to shrines in ancient times. Horses had been used as a tool for rituals and festivals. Also, after Samurais appeared, wearing large armor or performing archery riding a hose became martial arts. Equestrian tactics became the pillar of military action and security activities. According to a theory, that is why the Japanese sword began to have a curve to make it suitable for slashing (the Japanese sword was straight in the beginning). This history tells us a deep relationship between the horse and the Samurai culture. Understandably, this animal design was introduced for sword mountings.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No.3026402)
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 August 27th in the third year of Reiwa (2021). 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 : Gifu 084794
The Board of Education in Gifu 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.
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* 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.
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【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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