Antique Japanese Sword Wakizashi Signed by Awatacuhi Omi no Kami Tadatsuna with NBTHK Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Awataguchi Omi no Kami Tadatsuna (粟田口近江守忠綱). The maker’s name Tadatsuna lasted two generations, and we believe it was forged by the first gen, judging from how the signature is written on the tang. He was one of the top-tier swordsmiths during the early Edo period. He was especially active in sword-forging during the Kanei-Manji era (1624-1661).
He was born in the 14th year of the Keicho era (1609) as the son of Asai family in Himeji city, Harima province (Today’s Hyogo prefecture). It is said that he called himself an offspring of Awataguchi Kunitsuna, one of the most famous swordsmiths in Yamashiro province (Today’s Kyoto) during the late Heian-early Kamakura period. This is why Tatasuna signed Awataguchi at the beginning of his signature.
According to available records, the earliest work the first-gen Tadatsuna created is from the 6th year of the Kan-Ei era (1629). And he started to forge swords in Yamashiro province in the 14th year of the Kan-Ei era (1637). Eventually, he moved to Osaka in the first year of the Keian era (1648). The latest work signed by the first-gen Tadatsuna is in the 4th year of the Enpo era (1676), when he was 67 years old.
His son, the second-gen Tadatsuna, is also known as Ikanshi Tadatsuna, and he is one of the most renowned swordsmiths in Osaka during the early Edo period. He mastered excellent sword-forging techniques from his father, the first-gen Tadatsuna.
The blades forged by the first-gen Tadatsuna are categorized as Osaka Shinto. Shinto is Japanese Sword terminology that refers to the swords forged during 1596-1781. The blades made in the Osaka area during this period are called Osaka Shinto. There are many famous swordsmiths in this Osaka Shinto era. After Hideyoshi Toyotomi built Osaka castle, Osaka city flourished as a castle town and became the business center. Many swordsmiths moved to Osaka to look for better opportunities. They not only forged swords for those Samurai who lived in Osaka but also for feudal lords nationwide. Ikanshi Tadatsuna(Awataguchi Omi no Kami Tadatsuna), Inoue Shinkai, and Tsuda Sukehiro are the most famous among many swordsmiths.
One of the most notable characteristics of Osaka Shinto is its beauty in Jigane. Jigane is a visible steel surface pattern created by folding and hammering during the forging process), which made it possible by the location of Osaka. Osaka had close access to the Tamahagane(special carbon steel to make Japanese swords) production sites. The swordsmiths residing in Osaka were able to get high-quality carbon steel from these sites.
You can find the engraving of a Tsurugi (Double-edged blade) on one side and dragon on the other side. This blade is Kurikaraken, which is the sword that Fudo Myo-O (不動明王, acalanātha) holds with his right hand. Fudo Myo-O is one of the objects of worship in Buddhism. According to a theory, it is the incarnation of Dainichi Nyorai (大日如来, Mahāvairocana, the principal image of esoteric Buddhism). Kurikara-ken was named after its appearance that Kurikara Ryu-O (倶利伽羅龍王, dragon) is winding around the sword. It is believed Kurikara-Ken could cut off worldly desires: Sandoku (三毒). Sandoku is the three fundamental human desires; Ton (貪, greed), Jin (瞋, anger, grudge), Chi (癡, delusion, complaint).
The dragon itself is also a popular theme for decorating the Japanese sword. In Japan, people appreciate the dragon design as an all-purpose auspicious pattern.
*The certificate mentions that the engraving was made after the blade had originally been forged. It is called Horimono Atobori.
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)： 52.0 cm ( 20.5 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.2 cm (0.47 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.
Horimono：Engraving on the blade
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.
Dragons are designed for this Fuchi Kashira. Although some coloring has already faded due to aging, their bodies are colored with golden paint and look gorgeous. The details are carefully carved up to each scale. Initially, the dragon is 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. The dragon motif is seen in many sword mountings. We imagine lots of Samurais favored this dignified beast design.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
We think the motifs of this Menuki are Samurai-related weapons. It seems one side is a combination of a Kabuto (兜, Samurai helmet) and a spear. And the other side Menuki is a Naginata (薙刀, Japanese halberd). Golden and silvery colorings add decorativeness to this work. Using these motifs, people might have aimed to acquire a courageous spirit like warriors. Or, Samurais might have wished to make significant contributions in battles by putting motifs that remind their battlefields.
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.
Oval-shaped Tsuba is made from iron. About the design, we are unsure what the original motif is of its theme; we guess it depicts a landscape and is engraved in abstracted design. It seems there is a large tree or building, and two birds are flying in the sky. Soft curves make this Tsuba looks elegant, and it also gives a graceful impression to the entire Koshirae.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No.3024507)
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 28th in the second year of Reiwa (2020). 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 084923
The Board of Education in Chiba 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.
* If you live in Australia and like to purchase an authentic Japanese sword, please click here to know the detail.
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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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