Antique Japanese Sword Wakizashi Signed by Kunimune with Kicho Certificate
This blade was signed by Bizen Okayama Jyu Kunimune (備前岡山住國宗). Bizen Okayama Jyu means he resided in this place when he forged this blade. According to available records, Kunimune was active during the Manji-Kanbun era (1658-1673: Early Edo Period).
BIZEN is located near the Chugoku Mountains, where iron sands, one of the essential materials for making Japanese swords, were abundant. Furthermore, BIZEN swordsmiths had close access to Yoshi River, where they could find water and charcoal. This geological location contributed to the swordsmiths to forge high-quality refined blades. We presume BIZEN was quite active in sword-forging from ancient times. It is said that groups of swordsmiths created BIZEN DEN(the unique sword-forging technique invented in Bizen) after the late Heian era(the Late 12th century ).
The swordsmiths in Bizen exceedingly prospered and produced many swords for feudal lords during the late Muromachi period because it was in the middle of the Sengoku period(Warring state). As a result, the demand for blades increased among strong feudal lords. So many practically designed swords were forged and must have been used on battlefields.
What is Wakizashi?
When this blade was made, Japan enjoyed a relatively peaceful time called the Edo period. During the Edo period. (1603-1868 A.D.), the use of Wakizashi became more widespread among Samurais. Because the Edo Government had launched the national law to force all Samurais to wear two Japanese swords (Katana and Wakizashi) to identify themselves as the regime’s military officers.
Wakizashi referred to a 30-60 cm long blade (11.8-28.6 inches) and was worn on the waist along with Katana. Samurai carried Wakizashi as a backup sword next to Katana. Samurai needed to use Wakizashi when he fought in a small room or proximity where Katana would be too long to unsheathe. Also, when Samurai entered a castle, he had to leave his Katana to the castle guard. In contrast, Wakizashi was allowed to bring inside as self-protection.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 45.2 cm(17.8 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：0.8 cm (0.31 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.
It is challenging to see their figures, but we guess animals and bamboo leaves are designed for this Fuchi Kashira. These animals might be the Karajishi (唐獅子). The Shishi (獅子) means a lion in Japanese, and Karajishi is a lion brought from China to Japan in the Toh period (唐, Tang dynasty, 618-907). The Karajishi typically has curly hair for its head, neck, body, and tail. In Buddhism, Karajishi is regarded as a symbol of wisdom, and Monju Bosatu (文殊菩薩, Manjushri Bodhisattva) rides lions. According to a theory, the Karajishi is the origin of Komainu (狛犬, stone guardian dogs that exorcize evil spirits).
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Same as the Fuchi Kashira, this Menuki’s motif is also the Karajishi. Two Karajishis are designed for each Menuki. You would see their figures more clearly in this part—for example, their characteristic curly hair as mentioned above. The golden paint remains relatively in good condition and decorates the handle part gorgeously.
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 that has Kozuka and Kougai holes. It looks like an elongated vegetable with many leaves or a bundle of elongated vegetables such as rice. If its motif is not ears of rice, we guess that the radish might be the motif because of its long shape and the shape of the leaves. Vegetables have been incorporated into designs as auspicious motifs that represent the blessings of nature, and among them, radish was thought it represents success in business and prosperity of descendants. Also, bifurcated radish has the following anecdote.
One day, Daikokuten (大黒天) was suffered from stomachache, and he saw a person washing radishes. Daikokuten asked this person if he could get a radish (radish has the effect of adjusting the stomach condition). However, this person said that his employer had already counted all radishes, and the employer would get angry if even one of them disappeared. Although Daikokuten’s request was refused, fortunately, they found a bifurcated radish. And Daikokuten was given the torn radish. According to a theory, people have started to offer bifurcated radishes to Daikokuten based on this folklore. In Japan, Daikokuten is a member of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune, called the Shichifukujin (七福神) in Japanese. He is also considered that he controls agriculture; people pray rich harvest to this God. If this Tsuba’s motif is a radish, its design might have been inspired by this story.
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. Its design is, you would find a man (or an animal who wears cloth like a human) is pulling the Hanaguruma (花車, a car with various flowers). Most of the coloring has already been flaked off due to aging. However, this Kozuka keeps its decorativeness thanks to engraved designs.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Kicho Certificate for the blade (No. 257330)
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 Oct 29th in the 47th year of Showa era(1972). They appraised it as Kicho Token, an old form of certificate. The purchaser will receive these original certificates as well. We can also translate what is written into English and make a PDF file for your record if you request.
Registration Number : Shiga 21175
The Board of Education in Shiga 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 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.
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, Canada, Mexico, UK, 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.
*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.
【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.