Antique Japanese Sword Wakizashi Signed by Masayuki with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Hoki no Kami Masayuki(伯耆守正幸) in the second year of the Kansei era(1790:late Edo period)in Satsuma Domain(Kagoshima prefecture in Kyushu island).
Masayuki was born in the 18th year of the Kyoho era(1733)as the first son of the second-gen Ijichi Masayoshi(伊地知正良). Masayuki first called himself Masayoshi(third-generation Masayoshi) after taking over his father’s school. And in the first year of Kanei(1769), he received Hoki no Kami as an official title and changed his maker’s name to Masayuki. He passed down the maker’s name, “Masayoshi” name to his first son. Masayuki died at the age of 86 in the first year of 1818. This blade was forged when he was 57 years old, right after he received Hoki no Kami title. We believed he reached the pinnacle of his career by then, and you can see excellent quality from this blade.
Masayuki was one of the most famous swordsmiths in the Satsuma domain(Kagoshima prefecture) in the late Edo period, apart from Okuyamato no Kami Motohira. It is said that Masayuki was passionate about training his students. There were 60 swordsmiths who learned the sword-forging technique under Masayuki.
Satsuma province had a high ratio of Samurai population compared to other parts of Japan. And they are famous for their military power ruled by Shimazu clan. We assume a swordsmith needed to be very skilled to stay active and popular in this demanding place. Masayuki was one of them.
Masayuki’s father served the Satsuma domain. It was highly likely that Msayuki also forged swords for this domain, considering his prestigious position.
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)：57.2 cm( 22.5 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.2 cm(0.47 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 dragon is designed for this Fuch Kashira. Although most of its gold-colored painting has already peeled off due to aging, this dragon still keeps its dignity and shows us the noble look. Clouds cover this dragon’s body. There is a belief that worships dragon as a water god. Since rice cultivation flourished in this country, water has always been an essential resource for Japanese people. And clouds would bring blessed rain. It might be the reason why the combination of dragon and cloud motifs is often seen, as you see in this work.
Initially, the dragon is an imaginary creature found in ancient Chinese traditions or myths. Furthermore, it is regarded as a symbolic beast 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 Mizuchi (蛟, mythical animal in Japan which looks like a snake and have 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.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Same as the Fuchi Kashira, the dragon is the motif of this Menuki. If you look at the dragon’s hand, you will notice that it brings the small ball. A theory says that this ball is the Nyoi Houju (如意宝珠, Cintāmaṇi). It is a fantasy jewel that fulfills any desire, gives out treasure, clothes, food, and drink. 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 king of the dragon.
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 octagonal shape and was made from iron. Bamboo grasses are designed at the front. It seems the golden metal was initially applied to these leaves. Bamboos grow neatly towards the sky, and it is vital. Therefore, this motif represents nobility and strength. Besides, the bamboo breaks straight, but its content is hollow; people thought it shows innocence. According to a Chinese legend, Houhou (鳳凰, Fenghuang) eats bamboo fruits; therefore, bamboo has been considered a sacred plant. Also, as it keeps its green color even in cold winter, people thought the bamboo pattern shows eternity and longevity. This Tsuba’s maker might have wished the Samurai who would use this sword would be a soldier of integrity like a bamboo.
On the backside of this Tsuba, you would find two pairs of the Matsuba (松葉, pine needle). Even if the leaves fall, the root of the two leaves are firmly connected and will not separate: therefore, this plant motif has been treated as a lucky charm. Shoguns and Daimyos set their patterns in the Edo period and called it Sadame Mon (定め紋). Tokugawa Tsunayoshi (1680-1709), the 5th Shogun of the Edo Shogunate, used the Matsuba design for his Sadame Mon. The pine tree itself is also one of the classical Japanese motifs. Same as bamboos, pine trees keep their green color throughout the years by withstanding severe heat and cold; this plant pattern represents eternal youth.
Now, please focus on the Habaki. This Habaki is decorated with a geometric pattern that is called the Seigaiha (青海波) pattern. It is a kind of wave design. According to a theory, this design represents the wish for peace forever. Samurais were warriors who fought on the battlefields. However, we would guess that many of them might have flown themselves into combats, hoping the peace-loving lives for the future.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade
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 June 25th in the second year of Reiwa (2020). 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 : Hiroshima 3350
The Board of Education in Hiroshima prefecture issued a registration paper for this sword . In order to obtain this paper, the sword needs to be traditionally hand forged. With this paper, its owner can legally own an authentic Japanese sword in Japan. This paper will need to be returned to the board of education when the sword being shipped abroad but you can receive a copy of it.
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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.
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We have shipped authentic Japanese swords to the USA, Canada, Mexico, UK, Germany , France and Hong Kong. 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.
*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 Powder, Peg remover, Oil Applicator). By watching the video instruction above , you can enjoy learning how to maintain your Japanese sword while appreciating it.