Antique Japanese Sword Wakizashi Signed by Mutsu no Kami Tadayoshi with NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Mutsu no Kami Tadayoshi (陸奥守忠吉), also known as the third-gen Tadayoshi. He was especially active during the Manji-Kanbun era (1658-1673: Early Edo period). He was the son of Omi Daijo Tadahiro (近江大掾忠広). The maker’s name, Tadayoshi, lasted nine generations from the early to late Edo period.
He received Mutsu Daijo title in the third year of the Manji era (1660) and got promoted to Mutsu no Kami in the first year of the Kanbun era (1661). Kami and Daisho are honorable official titles given by the imperial court for one’s excellent craftsmanship. There are not many remaining works created by the third-gen Tadayoshi because it is said that he often did a Daisaku for his father, Tadahiro. Daisaku is a regular act where an apprentice or a child of the swordsmith signed his master’s name with his master’s permission or forged a blade on behalf of the master. The third-gen Tadayoshi died at the age of 50.
The third-gen Tadayoshi is also known for forging very sharp swords, which made him and his work classified as Saijo Owazamono Toko( 良業物刀工). Wazamono is a classification of Japanese swords and swordsmiths used in Japan to identify historic blades of exceptional quality in the book written by Kaiho Kenjaku ( 懐宝剣尺 ) in 1797. He is categorized as a top-tier sword maker in terms of fame and craftsmanship.
The first-gen Tadayoshi (His grandfather)
The first-gen Tadayoshi was born and raised in the Saga domain. In 1596, under the domain’s order, he went to Kyoto to learn the sword-forging technique from Umetada Myojyu(埋忠明寿), one of the greatest swordsmiths in the early Edo period. He improved his craftsmanship and returned to the Saga domain two years later (1598). The first head of the Nabeshima clan, Nabeshima Katsushige, appreciated the work of the first-gen Tadayoshi very much. Then, Katsushige appointed him as his Okakaekaji, a swordsmith who exclusively forged swords for a specific domain or clan. And Tadayoshi started to stay near Saga castle, which is the headquarter of the Nabeshima clan. And, he founded Hizen Tadayoshi school, which trained more than 100 swordsmiths during the Edo period. Tadahiro is one of them.
Omi Daijo Tadahiro (His father)
Tadahiro took over the school his father ran when he was only 19 years old, and he started to make a sword in the same year. This fact indicates that he was excellent at making swords, and the apprentices of his father(Tadayoshi) supported him to run the school. Tadahiro received the title of Omi Daijyo in 1641 (the sixth year of the Genroku era). He kept forging swords for almost 60 years for the Nabeshima clan, strong feudal lords.
Tadahiro died at the age of 81 in 1693 and left a large number of excellent swords before his decease. He had many famous apprentices, such as the third-gen Mutsu Daijyo Tadayoshi, Harima Daijyo Tadakuni, and Kawachi Daijyo Masahiro.
The swordsmiths in the Hizen province worked under the auspices of the Nabeshima clan like Tadayoshi. They could produce beautiful Jigane-patterned blades, also known as Hizen To, using and mixing carbon steel made in western countries. Hizenkoku had been flourishing by international trading. The geographic location of this domain made it possible to have easy access to western carbon steel.
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 noticeable Kitae Kizu on the Mune of the tip. Also, there is a partial black rust on the blade.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 55.1 cm (21.7 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.51 cm (0.59 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.
On this Fuchi Kashira, there are multiple botanical patterns in which five leaves are combined. This plant motif is the Tsuta (蔦, ivy). This design is quite similar to the leaves part of the Kiri (桐, paulownia) pattern. The Tsuta motif has also been used for family crests. The Tsuta Mon (蔦紋) is a family crest with an ivy leaf motif. It has yellow flowers in summer and red leaves in autumn, giving it a beautiful appearance. Therefore, it has been loved as an ornamental plant since ancient times. Due to its aesthetic significance and lush nature, it has come to be used as a family crest to pray for prosperity and was especially often used by Samurai families. Because many families use this plant emblem, the Tsuta Mon is considered one of the Judai Kamon (十大家紋, ten widely used family crests in Japan).
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
It is probably the Botan (牡丹, peony) that is designed for this Menuki. Golden paint is applied to each petal. 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 Japanese, 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.
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.
You would find the figure of a Tsuru (鶴, crane). We assume this Tsuba’s design is categorized in the Tsuru Nami (鶴波) pattern. It is a combination of cranes and waves. Since ancient times, cranes have been said to live for 1,000 years and are also a symbol of the friendship between husband and wife. In addition, the overlapping waves contain the wishes for “infinite happiness” and “for people to live happily ever after.” It could be said that the Tsuru Nami design represents a lasting wish for peace after numerous wars.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1003675)
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 29th in the 27th year of Heisei (2015). 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 451
The Board of Education in Hiroshima 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.