Antique Japanese Sword Wakizashi Signed by Morinao with NBTHK Tokubestsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Houfu Jinshin Kitsune Maru Morinao (豊府臣神狐丸盛尚) during the Tenpo era (1831-1845: Late Edo period), according to its NBTHK appraisal. Houfu is another name for Bungo province located in today’s Oita prefecture. Jinshin Kitsune Maru is the title used by this sword maker. Based on the maker’s name, we believe Morinao belonged to Takada school.
Takada school was originally founded by Takada Tomoyuki, the father of Tokiyuki, in Takada village, Ohita prefecture, during the Nanbokucho period. (1334-1338 A.D). Tomoyuki went to Bizen province(today’s Okayama prefecture) to master the sword-forging techniques of BIZEN and came back to the village and trained his apprentices. That is how Takada school started. Those who forged swords in Takada village before the Edo period are called Taira Takada and Fujiwara Takada during the Edo period. The blades made before the Muromachi period are categorized as Ko-Takada (Old Takada) swords.
Generally speaking, Kyushu island was prosperous in sword-making because of the long trading history with Asian countries. To gain an advantage in trading, many feudal lords on this island fought against each other. Takada school was able to receive many orders as the demand increased among those lords. The material of Japanese swords(high-quality iron sand and charcoal) was abundant in the mount Sobo Katamuki, located near Takada village. We believe Takada school prospered because of its geographic location and natural resources.
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)：47.4 cm (18.6 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.
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 could find the figures of people. Who is particularly impressive is the person depicted on the Kashira piece. One is a man wearing a hat, and the other is probably a man wearing deer fur. We don’t know what they’re doing, whether they’re trying to hide among wild animals in the mountains, or whether they’re just wearing them as winter clothing, but either way, portraits are the theme of this work. It seems so. While some colorings have already faded due to aging, golden paintings adds decorativeness to this work.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
A horse is the motif of this Menuki. The same as the Fuchi Kashira, golden paint was initially applied to each Menuki. 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).
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.
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 antique Tsuba is made from iron, and brass inlay is applied to Kozuka and Kougai holes. It is challenging to determine what this plant motif is; it is possibly Japanese wisteria, paulownia, or other plants.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Beautiful Makie (蒔絵) is designed on this Saya. The Makie is a typical Japanese lacquer art technique developed uniquely in Japan for about 1,200 years. Firstly, it needs to draw a picture with lacquer on the surface with a thin brush. Next, sprinkle the gold powder from above to show the pattern before the lacquer hardens. This technique makes a gorgeous and elegant look to works, as seen on this scabbard.
A dragon is painted with gold and red lacquer. Initially, the dragon was an imaginary creature found in ancient foreign traditions or myths. Furthermore, it is regarded as a symbol 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, the belly is the Mizuchi (蛟, a mythical animal in Japan that looks like a snake and has 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. There are many sword mountings with dragon designs. It shows lots of Samurai favored this dignified beast motif.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1020599)
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 31st 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 : Tokyo 211906
The Board of Education in Tokyo 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.
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“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.
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* If the amount is above 1 million JPY, Stripe or wire transfer will be the only options for payment.
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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.
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【How to make sure the condition】
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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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