Antique Japanese Sword Wakizashi Signed by Hirokuni with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Geishu Jyu Fujiwara Hirokuni (芸州住藤原広国). According to available records, Hirokuni was active during the Genroku-Hoei era (1688-1711: Mid Edo period). Geishu is the domain in Akino province (today’s Hiroshima prefecture). Geishu Jyu means he lived in this area when he forged this blade.
Hirokuni was the maker’s name used by Harima Daijyo Teruhiro (播磨大掾輝広) at the beginning of his career. The swordsmith name Teruhiro was the hereditary name and lasted for the 14th generation during the Edo period. Hirokuni was considered the 6th-generation, and his birth name was Hirazaemon. He succeeded his master’s name (5th-gen Teruhiro) and received an honorable official title of Harima Daijo in the 6th year of the Genroku era (1693).
The first-gen Teruhiro
The first-gen Teruhiro, also known as Higo no Kami Fujiwara Teruhiro (肥後守藤原輝広), was originally from the Mino province (today’s Gifu prefecture). He is known as an offspring of Kanetsune, one of the most famous swordsmiths.
He firstly learned Mino DEN, a particular sword-forging style created in Mino province. He then became an apprentice of Umeda Myoju (埋忠明寿), a renowned sword maker in Kyoto during the late Muromachi-early Edo period. He was able to master superb craftsmanship.
He is famous for having served Fukushima Masanori(福島正則), a powerful feudal lord in Owari province (today’s Aichi prefecture). After Masanori relocated to Akino province (today’s Hiroshima prefecture), the first-gen Teruhiro also followed him. He started to serve Asano clan after Fukushima Masanori was deceased in Akino province. Since then, the swordsmith name lasted 14th generations and prospered throughout the Edo period. Considering the prestigious background of this school, we believe the 6th-gen Teruhiro was also a highly skilled sword maker.
This blade is appraised as a Tokubetsu Hozon Token(特別保存刀剣) 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, especially well preserved and high quality with artistic value.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 39.8 cm( 15.67 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 0.7 cm( 0.275 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
Black Rust : There are a couple of black rust spots on the Shinogi Ji part right above the Nakago.
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.
This Fuchi Kashira is decorated with autumn flowers motifs such as chrysanthemum or bush clover. The golden paint is applied to these flowers, and this coloring makes a gorgeous appearance of this work. In Japan, there is a group of plants that represent this season; it is called the Aki-no Nanakusa (秋の七草, the seven flowers of autumn). Bush clover are included in it. Other plants are Japanese pampas grass, Japanese bellflower, kudzu vine, etcetera. Japanese people have enjoyed these plants’ looks and have used them as medicinal herbs. For example, a long time ago, the chrysanthemum was used as a medicine for obtaining a long life, and it was brought to Japan from the Continent with this thought in the Nara period (648-781). As mentioned above, the chrysanthemum symbolizes fall, and Japanese people have appreciated it very much since ancient times. As its petals form radially, the chrysanthemum has been likened to the sun. That is why this flower pattern is treated as the symbol of perpetual youth and longevity or good health.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
This Menuki’s motif is a combination of birds and plants. As these plants look similar to flowers designed for the Fuchi Kashira, we think this Menuki’s design also symbolizes autumn. And birds are probably Uzura (鶉, quail). Quails come to Japan in the autumn and live in groups on rice fields. It was supposed to represent an autumn scene, and people have appreciated this bird since a long time ago. Therefore, the combination of quails and autumn plants was cherished, as you see in this Menuki. According to a theory, Samurai families and Daimyos (大名, a Japanese feudal lord) started keeping quails since the Muromachi period (1336-1573). People loved its charming cry, and it could be heard as “Go Kiccho (御吉兆, a sign of good things).” So that they regarded the quail as an auspicious bird and used it before battles to keep the gods on their side; in the Edo period, raising quails became general among ordinary people. This history shows how this bird was familiar with then Japanese people, of course including Samurais.
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 Tsuba’s edge is framed with a thin metal plate. This technique gives a decorativeness for the work, and also it has a practicality to protect the Tsuba from damages.
About the design, both sides depict a combination of birds and plants. It is the same type of theme as the Menuki. The front looks like autumn scenery because of motifs: autumn plants, birds (estimated wild geese), and the moon. At the backside, a hawk is standing on the pine tree branch. A hawk is an intelligent bird used for hunting, called falconry. It was famous as a recreation among high-class Samurais. In the old days, it was also familiar with emperors and royal families, so it might be why the hawk was regarded as a symbol of the ruler’s authority. During the warring period, the boy’s success was to become an excellent Samurai; therefore, it has been thought that men (Samurai) and the hawk had a deep connection as a symbol of advancement and authority. Many Samurais loved this design based on that reason. Understandably, this bird motif was incorporated into sword mountings.
Kozuka：Kozuka is a small knife stored in Kozuka Hitsu(groove of the sheath of the Japanese sword).
A Kogatana (小刀, small knife) is stored into the Kozuka. This Kozuka’s design is quite similar to the Fuchi Kashira. Gold coloring remains relatively in good condition and keeps its gorgeousness. Now, when you see the entire of this sword’s Koshirae, you will find it is unified with autumn motifs. We hope you will enjoy this Koshirae’s elegant look with the blade.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate (No.1015274)
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 24th in the 3rd year of Reiwa (2021). They appraised it as Tokubetsu Hozon Touken, the blade especially worth preserving for Japanese society. It had been appraised as Tokubetsu Kicho Token, an old form of the certificate as well. The purchaser will receive these original certificates. We can also translate what is written into English and make a PDF file for your record if you request.
Registration Number : Gunma 56356
The Board of Education in Gunma 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 300 Japanese swords 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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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.
【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. When you purchase a Japanese sword from us, you can get a Free sword maintenance kit, which appears in this video.
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