Antique Japanese Sword Wakizashi Signed by Hoki no Kami Nobutaka with NBTHK Tokubestsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Hoki no Kami Fujiwara Nobutaka (伯耆守藤原信高). Based on the characteristic of the signature, we believe the second-gen Nobutaka forged it. The second-gen was active in Owari province during 1624-1644( Kan-Ei era: Early Edo period). The swordsmith’s name “Nobutaka” lasted 6th generation during the Edo period. Hoki no Kami was an honorable title given to this swordsmith, and the 1st-5th generation received this title. It is said that Nobutaka was a descendant of Kanekuni who belonged to Mino koku San-Ami school.
Nobuta was one of the most famous swordsmiths in the Owari province. The generations of Nobutaka served Owari Tokugawa clan, a relative family of Tokugawa Shogunate who ruled Edo government during the Edo period.
The second-gen Nobutaka( real name Kawamura Hoki) was born as the son of the first-gen Nobutaka in the 8th year of the Keicho era(1603) in Owari province(today’s Aichi prefecture). The second-gen received Hoki no Kami title in the 10th year of the Kanei era(1633) when he was 31 years old. He was appointed as an Okakaekaji for Tokugawa Yoshinao, the first-gen head of Owari Tokugawa clan in his career. Okakaekaji is a swordsmith who exclusively served a particular clan or feudal lord.
He let his son(the third-gen Nobutaka) run his school in the second year of the Kanbun era(1662) when he was 60 years old. After that, he became a Buddist priest, and he changed his name to Sangetsu Heiyu(山月閉遊). There is a record of him signing Nobutaka Nyudo(信高入道). Nyudo indicates that he was a monk when he signed a blade. He died at the age of 87 in the second year of the Genroku era(1689).
The first-gen Nobutaka was originally from Mino province, which is famous for Japanese sword tradition, MINO-DEN. The first-gen moved to Owari castle at the beginning of the Keicho era(the late 1590s). And he relocated to Nagoya after Nagoya castle was built. There were many swordsmiths from Mino province who moved to Owari province. They are called Owari Seki. The most famous swordsmiths categorized as Owari Seki are the first-gen Hoki no Kami Nobutaka, Hida no Kami Ujifusa, and Sagami no Kami Masatsune. All the highly refined sword-forging techniques the first-gen Nobutaka had passed down to the second-gen. You can see outstanding craftsmanship from this blade.
As Owari province(today’s Aichi prefecture) was active in martial arts during the early Edo period, there was much demand among high-class Samurai to order swords forged by the second-gen Nobutaka. He often worked with his son(the third-gen Nobutaka), and there is some remaining work where both signatures are found.
Since this blade was registered in Aichi prefecture where Nobutaka had resided, we can assume that it was passed down among descendants of Samurai in this area.
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.
*Please keep in mind that there is a couple of visible black rust on this blade. Also, there is very tiny chip on the blade. If you like to see the detailed condition, please feel free to contact us. We will happy to have these parts polished without additional costs. There might be trace of black rust after being polished and it will take additional 1-2 months for plishing .
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)：54.6 cm (21.5 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.3 cm (0.51 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 surface of this Fuchi Kashira is decorated with the Nanako-Ji (魚子地) technique. This process makes a uniform minimal protrusions pattern by hitting the Nanako-Ji Tagane (魚子地鏨, a chisel for this technique) on a metal surface. This decorative technique is often seen on sword mountings.
About the design, we estimate it depicts a seaside battlefield scenery. We could find a Samurai on the Kashira part. He wears gorgeous armor and rides on his horse. We assume he is a high-ranked warrior from his appearance. On the Fuchi part, we could see something like banners designed with family crests. Overall, this Fuchi Kashira is carefully engraved in detail, and the effective use of gold coloring makes it a gorgeous work.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
You could find a horse figure on each side of this handle. Although some colorings have already faded due to aging, it seems golden paint was initially applied to their surface. Horses have been around human life for a long time, not only as our food but also for transportation or carriage of luggage. In Japan, horses were thought of as vehicles for gods to be dedicated to shrines in ancient times. It is said it is the origin of Ema (絵馬, picture tablet used as an offering at a shrine) today. Horses had been used as a tool for rituals and festivals. After the age of the Samurai warriors appeared, wearing large armor or performing archery and riding a hose became martial arts. Equestrian tactics became the pillar of military action and security activities. According to a theory, that is the reason that the Japanese sword began to have a curve to make it suitable for slashing (the Japanese sword was straight in the beginning).
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 has an ornamental look. The theme of its design is the Botan Karakusa (牡丹唐草) pattern. It is a combination of Botan (牡丹, peony) flowers and the Karakusa (唐草, arabesque) pattern. 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, a peony is called the Botan in Japanese. When we write this flower’s name in Kanji characters, its second letter means mountain hermit medicine that would give us eternal youth. Based on the meaning of this letter, the peony pattern symbolizes eternal youth and longevity.
The Karakusa pattern is a design in which vine stems, and leaves are twined and make curves. Since ivy has a strong vitality and grows up without interruption, people regarded this design as a symbol of prosperity and longevity. Among the Karakusa patterns, the Botan Karakusa pattern has been favored as a representative design of Karakusa patterns since the Muromachi period.
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 in the Kozuka. Same with the Menuki, horses are designed on this Kozuka. Among the horse patterns, there is a design called the Hidari-Uma (左馬). The letter “馬” means a horse and describes the figure of a horse running to the left. And the Hidari-Uma pattern refers to a picture of a horse running to the right. It shows the turning over of the “horse (Uma).” There is the word Mau (舞う, dancing) in Japanese; people thought happiness would come down in association with “turning the horse” and “dancing.” Also, the horse pattern has been loved as an amulet to pray for prosperity in business.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1019911)
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 March 10th in the 5th year of Reiwa (2023). They appraised it as Tokubetsu Hozon Touken, the blade especially 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 : Aichi 25562
The Board of Education in Aichi 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.
Here is one of the reviews we received from a customer who purchased an authentic Japanese sword from us. For more reviews, please click here.
“My experience overall with the whole process was wonderful. I had many questions about the history and process to purchase these treasures. All my questions were answered very timely and complete. The staff is very knowledgeable and very well versed if any questions do arise.”
【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 500 Japanese swords for the past three years (～2023) 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.
We accept payment through Stripe (Credit card), PayPal, Apple Pay or ChromePay, all of which are secure payment methods. Also, you don’t need to make an account on Stripe for the checkout. If you prefer other payment method, please contact us. After confirming your payment, we will apply for an export permit. You may either pay in JPY, USD, AUD, CAD,EUR CHF or GBP. The price is set in Japanese Yen. Prices in other currencies are automatically calculated based on the latest exchange rate.
* 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, 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 EMS.
We normally ship by EMS(Express Mail Service) provided by Japan Post. We will send you a tracking number for your order as soon as we hand it to the post office. 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.
*Please keep in mind that due to the spread of COVID-19, there might be delays in shipping. If you like to know the detail about shipping, please feel free to ask us.
【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.
Thank you for reading all the information on the page. If you have any difficulty choosing the right Japanese sword for you, we will be more than happy to help you find the one that speaks to you the most. Please feel free to contact us.