Antique Japanese Sword Wakizashi Signed by Fujiwara Tadahiro with NBTHK Hozon Certificate
Omi Daijyo Fujiwara Tadahiro
This blade was signed by Omi no Daijyo Fujiwara Tadahiro (近江大掾藤原忠広) , who is the first son of the first-gen Tadayoshi. It is said that Tadahiro was active in sword-forging during 1624-1688 (Early Edo Period).
Tadayoshi(Father) is one of the most famous swordsmiths in the early Edo period and made Hizeon province(today’s Fukuoka prefecture) a prominent sword-forging place back then. Tadahiro learned sword-forging techniques under his father’s supervision until Tadayoshi died in 1632 (9th year of the Kan-Ei era).
Tadahiro took over the school his father ran when he was only 19 years old, and he started to make a sword in the same year. This fact indicates that he was excellent at making swords, and the apprentices of his father(Tadayoshi) supported him to run the school. Tadahiro received the title of Omi Daijyo in 1641 (the sixth year of the Genroku era). He kept forging swords for almost 60 years for the Nabeshima clan, strong feudal lords.
Tadahiro died at the age of 81 in 1693 and left a large number of excellent swords before his decease. He had many famous apprentices, such as the third-gen Mutsu Daijyo Tadayoshi, Harima Daijyo Tadakuni, and Kawachi Daijyo Masahiro.
Fujiwara Tadahiro and other swordsmiths in the Hizen province worked under the auspices of Nabeshima clan. The swordsmiths in Hizen province were able to produce beautiful Jigane-patterned blades, also known as Hizen To, using and mixing carbon steel made in Netherland.
Most of Tadahiro’s work has Hamon types of Suguha and Chojimidare. This blade has Suguha Hamon, and you can see beautiful Jigane, which is famous for blades made in Hizen province. Swords forged by Tadahiro are also famous among Japanese sword collectors because of his exquisite craftsmanship and history.
The first-gen Tadayoshi (His father)
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, which is the headquarter of the Nabeshima clan. And, he founded Hizen Tadayoshi school, which trained more than 100 swordsmiths during the Edo period. Tadahiro is one of them.
The cutting edge length of this blade is very close to Katana, which has 2 Sun (60.6 cm). In Japanese sword terminology, if its cutting edge is less than 60.6 cm, it is considered a Wakizashi. It is possible that its original owner used this Wakizashi as a Katana.
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.
*Please keep in mind that there is relatively noticeable Kiatae Kizu on the Hi (groove) on both sides. YOu can check the detail from the photos.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：60.3 cm ( 23.7 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 wave pattern is engraved on this Fuchi Kashira. Small dots express waterdrops. Rough waves overlap as if colliding with each other, giving a powerful atmosphere to this work.
As waves’ movements continue endlessly, the wave pattern represents eternity, immortality, longevity, birth, etcetera. Also, since tides repeatedly change the shape and terrain of rocks, some people hoped for a strong will by using this motif. People used this pattern wishing for an indomitable spirit to rechallenge time and time without giving up. Thanks to its dynamic design, this motif has been appreciated, especially for men’s Kimono (traditional Japanese costume).
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
We are unsure about the motif of this Menuki. The lower side one’s shape looks similar to an Ougi (扇, fan). This motif has been favored as an auspicious pattern representing development and prosperity. During the Heian period (794-1185/1192), aristocrats enjoyed elegant plays with fans and appreciated the fan as a noble item. A fan has a characteristic shape, and it is called Suehirogari (末広がり) in Japanese. Based on the idea that this shape implies a perspective of the future, people appreciate this design. The fan pattern also represents wealth because it was once available only for high-ranked people. In addition, people enjoy drawing various motifs such as animals, plants, geometric patterns, and auspicious patterns on the fan surface. That might also be why the fan motif is popular.
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 oval-shaped Tsuba has an uneven surface. There are irregular dents around the edges that look like they were twisted with a finger. About the design, six characteristic shape patterns are symmetrically arranged. It is challenging to judge its motif; we feel that its shape expresses a gourd designed in a geometric pattern.
Here we would like to introduce a little about the Hisago (瓢, gourd) pattern. Since ancient times, Japanese people have appreciated this plant design as an auspicious motif. As mentioned above, the Hisago is written as “瓢,” which can also be read as “Hyou.” Therefore, three Hisagos were considered the San-Byoushi (三拍子, triple time, 拍子 can also be pronounced as Hyoushi). And people compared six Hisagos to Mubyou Sokusai (無病息災, be in perfect health). It is because the word “病 (Byou)” has the same pronunciation as “瓢 (it also can be read as Byou).” If the motif of this Tsuba’s design comes from this plant, its maker might have inspired this idea.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 375978)
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 Feb. 1st in the 19th year of Heisei(2007). 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 : Hiroshima 18855
The Board of Education in Hiroshima 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.
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【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.
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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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