Antique Japanese Sword Wakizashi Signed by Fujiwara Morimichi with NBTHK Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Suruga no Kami Fujiwara Morimichi (駿河守藤原盛道). The maker’s name Morimichi lasted three generations, and we believe this blade was made by the second-gen, who was active during the Kanbun era (1661-1673). Suruga no Kami is an honorable official title given by the emperor for his excellent craftsmanship.
The first-gen Morimichi was born in 1558 (Late Muromachi period) in Today’s Gifu prefecture. He was a renowned swordsmith and was invited by Tokugawa Yoshinao, the 9th son of Tokugawa Ieyasu, to become an Okakaekaji for Owari domain (Today’s Aichi prefecture) in 1610 (the beginning of the Edo period). It is said that the first-gen Morimichi was related to Mutsu no Kami Omichi, the founder of Mishina school, a prestigious school in Kyoto. The second-gen Morimichi was originally from Mino province but eventually settled in Owari province.
As Owari province was active in martial arts during the early Edo period, there was much demand for swords among high-class Samurai. And, there were quite a few renowned swordsmiths in Owari province, but many of them only forged blades for the Owari domain, like Morimichi. Owari domain was known as Tokugawa Gosanke (徳川御三家) and had powerful political power, closely connected to Tokugawa Shogunate in Edo city. We assume this blade was originally made for a high-class Samurai in Owari province.
Mino Province is one of the most famous and historical sword-forging sites. There were so many schools forging blades during the Samurai period. It especially prospered during Sengoku Jidai(Warring State period) due to the high demand for weapons. And the location of Mino province beat others. Akechi Mitsuhide controlled Mino province, Nobunaga Oda ruled Owari province, and Tokugawa Ieyasu was the lord of Suruga (Neighboring areas). There was high demand from those powerful feudal lords and their retainers.
Furthermore, many wars occurred between the Kanto region and the Kyoto area. Mino is located in the middle, making feudal lords feel convenient to order swords from MINO swordsmiths. Many feudal lords demanded swords forged in the Mino province. The blades forged in MINO provinces also had a reputation for their practical design and sharpness.
The tradition of excellent sword forging skills had been passed throughout the Edo period, and Morimichi is a good example. And to look for better opportunities, many swordsmiths in Mino province moved to other parts of Japan, such as Owari province, located right next to Mino province. Those who moved to Owari from Mino are called Owari Seki. Morimichi is one of the most famous Owari Seki swordsmiths.
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)： 51.2 cm ( 20.1 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.0 cm(0.39 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.
The figures of dragons powerfully swimming in water with rough waves are engraved. Especially on the Kashira part, the majestic expression of the dragon is impressive. Golden paint is effectively applied to some parts, such as the dragon’s body and water drops. In Japan, there is a belief that worships the dragon as a water god. Since rice cultivation has flourished in this country, water has been treated as an essential resource. Therefore, it is understandable that the combination of dragons and water (waves in case) was incorporated as a design into sword mountings.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
A dragon wraps its elongated body around a sword, and gold-colored paint is applied to the entire surface of each Menuki. This motif is called the Kurikara Ken (倶利伽羅剣). It is said the Fudo Myo-O (不動明王, acalanātha) brings this sword. The Fudo Myo-O is a protective Buddhist god, particularly in Japanese Shingon Buddhism. This god was also known as the god of wars. According to a theory, this sword has the power to punish evils, crush worldly desires, and achieve the effects of religious training. It might have been adopted here as a design that reflects the thoughts of the owner of this sword.
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.
Same as the Fuchi Kashira and Menuki, this Tsuba’s design is also related to the dragon. In this Tsuba, you would find two dragons competing for a jewel. The drop-shaped object at the end of the dragon’s line of sight corresponds to the gem. We estimate this 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 dragon king.
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.
Seeing all the sword mountings of this sword, we would imagine that the former owner of this sword highly cherished the dragon motif.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
This scabbard is black lacquered, and you would see tiny glittering flakes on it. We would judge this as a kind of Raden (螺鈿) processing. It is a kind of decorative technique that is often used for traditional craftworks. It uses the pearl part of seashells and puts it into the lacquer or wood engraved surface. Thanks to its iridescent luster, it gives a luxurious look to works, as seen in this scabbard.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 3028855)
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 Jun. 3rd in the 4th year of Reiwa (2022). 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 大和国千手院file for your record if you request.
Registration Number : Nagano 65547
The Board of Education in Nagano 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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