Antique Japanese Sword Wakizashi Signed by Sukehiro with NBTHK Tokubestsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Echizen no Kami Sukehiro (越前守助広). He was one of Osaka’s most skilled and influential swordsmiths in the early Edo period (Mid-Late 17th century), following Awataguchi Tadatsuna and Inoue Shinkai. These three sword makers are called Sanketsu of *Osaka Shinto. The maker’s name Sukehiro lasted three generations, and this blade was made by the second generation. His birth name was Jin no Jyo (甚之丞).
Sukehiro was born in 1637 in Settsu province (Today’s Osaka prefecture) as the son of the first-gen Sukehiro, who was also known as Soboro Sukehiro.
The second-gen Sukehiro learned sword-forging techniques from his father. He became an independent swordsmith and took over his father’s school in 1655 when his father died. He received the honorable title of Echizen no Kami in 1658 for his superb craftsmanship and started to serve Aoyama Munetoshi, who was one of the officials for Osaka castle. It is said that he created about 1670 blades in his career. He kept forging blades until he died at the age of 46 years old (1682).
He invented a very particular Hamon (tempering line) called Toran Midareba (濤瀾乱刃). He became extremely popular in Osaka city, and his fame became nationwide.
The blades forged by the second-gen Sukehiro are categorized as Osaka Shinto. Shinto is Japanese Sword terminology that refers to the swords forged during 1596-1781. The blades made in the Osaka area during this period are called Osaka Shinto. There are many famous swordsmiths in this Osaka Shinto era. After Hideyoshi Toyotomi built Osaka castle, Osaka city flourished as a castle town and became the business center. Many swordsmiths moved to Osaka to look for better opportunities. They not only forged swords for those Samurai who lived in Osaka but also for feudal lords nationwide. Tsuda Sukehiro, Ikanshi Tadatsuna(Awataguchi Omi no Kami Tadatsuna), and Inoue Shinkai are the most famous among many swordsmiths.
One of the most notable characteristics of Osaka Shinto is its beauty in Jigane. Jigane is a visible steel surface pattern created by folding and hammering during the forging process), which made it possible by the location of Osaka. Osaka had close access to the Tamahagane(special carbon steel to make Japanese swords) production sites. The swordsmiths residing in Osaka could get high-quality carbon steel from these sites.
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)： 52.1 cm ( 28.2 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：1.0 cm ( 0.39 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 entire surface of this Fuchi Kashira is decorated with the Nanako-Ji (魚子地) technique. It makes delicate fish egg-shaped protrusions by hitting the Nanako-Ji Tagane (魚子地鏨, a chisel for this process). The same size particles regularly lined up; it makes us feel the maker’s expert skill. It has a calm silvery chic color, and the Kashira part has a unique streamlined shape.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
It seems this Menuki’s motif is a kind of plant or vegetable. Due to its shape, we estimate several possibilities, such as dandelion, hydrangea, and butterbur sprout. In Japanese, the dandelion is called the Tanpopo (蒲公英) and belongs to the chrysanthemum family. This plant blooms with yellow flowers that resemble chrysanthemums, and Japanese people have appreciated its adorable appearance since ancient times. It has strong vitality; if the roots remain, it will grow again even if its stem is cut. Such a robust ecology might have made a good impression on the Samurai warriors who went to battlefields.
Ajisai (紫陽花) is the Japanese name for hydrangea. A theory says this plant was incorporated as a design in the Edo period. It was already treated in the Manyousyu (万葉集, literally “Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves”). The Manyoushu was compiled from the late 7th century to the late 8th century, and it is the oldest surviving anthology of Japanese poetry. The Ajisai pattern has been widely appreciated for craftwork and as a design for the Kimonos (着物, traditional Japanese costume) or the Obis (帯, belt for Kimono).
This design might give different answers depending on who sees it. When you get your hands on this work, we hope you see the real thing up close and let your imagination run wild.
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 a distinctive design. The bird A large bird and a pine tree are exquisitely arranged to fit within a circular screen, and two small birds are flying at the bottom of the screen. This large bird is the Taka (鷹, hawks/falcon) or Washi (鷲, eagle). It is challenging to judge which is the motif in this work because they have similar looks. Since hawks build their nests in pine trees, we would like to conclude that this combines pine trees and hawks. This theme is called the Matsu Taka Zu (松鷹図). The strength of hawks has made it a symbol of power, and both Samurai families and court nobles have appreciated this design. It is also a symbol of bravery and grace, and the valiant appearance of hawks fascinated people.
Falcons are intelligent birds used for hunting, called falconry. It was famous as a recreation among high-class Samurai. In the old days, it was also familiar with emperors and royal families, so it might be why the hawks were regarded as a symbol of the ruler’s authority. During the warring period, the boy’s success was to become an excellent Samurai; therefore, it has been thought that men (Samurai) and hawks had a deep connection as a symbol of advancement and authority.
If you focus on the center part of this Tsuba, you will find the engraved inscription next to the Nakago hole (茎櫃, center hole). It is written as 濱野 直随 (Hamano Naoyuki) and added his Kaou (花押, stylized signature). His original surname is Tohyama (遠山). He firstly learned from Nakamura Naonori (中村 直矩) and later learned under the first Hamano Noriyuki (濱野 矩随). Naoyuki started his own business when he was 20 years old. In the process of moving his residence, he put effort into educating the next generation, and passed away at the age of 74. There are his works such as Tsuba and Kozuka. He was good at depicting Japanese and Chinese people with Taka-Bori (高彫, engraving technique) Iroe (色絵, color painting) on screens using Shakudou (赤銅, an alloy of copper and gold) or Shibuichi (四分一, an alloy of copper and silver).
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate for the blade (No.1016127)
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 Aug. 27th in the 3rd year of Reiwa (2021). 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 323262
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.
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, 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 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.