Antique Japanese Sword Wakizashi Signed by Tadatsuna with NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was forged by the second-gen Awataguchi Omi no kami Tadatsuna(粟田口近江守忠綱) in the early Edo period (Late 17th century), based on the characteristic of the signature on the tang. The second-gen Tadatsuna is one of Osaka’s most skilled and popular swordsmiths in the early Edo period, following Tsuda Sukehiro and Inoue Shinkai. These three sword makers are called Sanketsu of *Osaka Shinto.
The second-gen Tadatsuna was born in 1644 as the first son of the first-gen Tadatsuna, who called himself the descendant of Awataguchi Kunitsuna, a famous swordsmith in the early Kamakura period.Father was born in Hyogo prefecture and forged swords in Ushiroyama castle in Mie prefecture. Eventually, the first-gen Tadatsuna moved to Osaka.The second-gen Tadatsuna’s real name is Asai Mandayu. The swordsmith’s name Tadatsuna lasted three generations, and the second-gen is said to have been the most famous and skilled one. And he was not only excellent at forging swords with different kinds of tempering lines (Hamon) but also excellent at inscribing sculptures on his work.
The second-gen Tadatsuna first signed as Tadakuni(忠国). According to his remaining work, he started to forge swords in 1672 and kept creating his blades until he was about 80 years old(1716). He received the honorable title of Omi no Kami during Enpo era(1673-1680). He started to sign Ikkanshi Tadatsuna after the second year of Genroku era(1689).
During the early Genroku era, he used 縄 letter instead of 綱 when signing his creation, but after the mid-Genroku era, he used 綱 to sign his blades. Since this blade was signed as 忠縄, we can assume it was forged around the late 17th century. Genraoku period lasted 1688-1704.He kept forging swords for about 50 years in his career.
One of Tadatsuna’s works is designated as Important Cultural Property of Japan. His swords are Ryuwazamono and Shinto Jyojyo Saku(Highly ranked swords among Japanese sword experts).
There is one interesting historical incident related to the work of the second-gen Tadatsuna. It was March 24th in the 4th year of Tenmei(1784). Sano Zenzaemon, A direct retainer of Shogun, attacked a son of Tanuma Okitsugu, who was the chief minister of the Edo government. Sano used a wakizashi signed by the second-gen Tadatsuna. The son was eventually died, and Sano was ordered to do Seppuku for his misconduct. Interestingly, since this incident happened, the price of rice decreased dramatically after the sharp rise, which suffered many people. And, people started to worship Tadatsuna’s swords as Yonaoshi Daimyojin, a Great God that makes the world a better place. The Tadatsuna’s popularity skyrocketed, and this incident is much talked about when you learn about the work of Tadatsuna. It is said that only noble high-class Samurai could afford to buy a sword forged by the Tadatsuna during the Edo period.
*What is Osaka Shinto?
Shinto is Japanese Sword terminology that refers to the swords forged during 1596-1781. The blades made in 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. Ikanshi Tadatsuna(Awataguchi Omi no Kami Tadatsuna), Inoue Shinkai, and Tsuda Sukehiro are the most famous ones among those many swordsmiths.
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)： 46.8 cm ( 18.4 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 0.7 cm (0.27 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.
According to the certificate, this Fuchi Kashira has the same design as the Tsuba and the Bashin. Please check each photo and explication below. This design is the Niju-Karakusa Zu (二重唐草図). It is a kind of Karakusa (唐草, arabesque) pattern and is a design in which stems and leaves of vines are twined and make curves. Since ivy has a strong vitality and grows up without interruption, people regarded this design as a symbol of prosperity and longevity. In Japanese, the vine is called Tsuru (蔓), and it has another pronunciation; “Man.” There is a word 万 (it is also read Man), which means thousand. In the Karakusa pattern, leaves and vines are connected like Obi (帯, belt). The word “帯” can also be read as “Tai.” Due to its pronunciation, the term “代 (Tai)” is associated. From this word-association game, an idiom 万代 is associated, and it means a thousand generations. In other words, we could imagine that people used this design wishing prosperity and longevity for their clans for a long time.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
The Ryusui Aoi Omodaka Zu (流水葵沢瀉図) is the theme of this Menuki. If you focus on the center part, you will find a gold-colored leaf. This heart-shaped leaf is Aoi (葵). Today, the Aoi-Domoe / Mitsuba-Aoi-no Mon (葵巴/三つ葉葵の紋 ) is known as the family crest of the Tokugawa Shogunate family led by Tokugawa Ieyasu, a famous military commander of the Warring States period. This plant pattern has also been used for the crest of the Kamo shrine in Kyoto prefecture. As mentioned above, the famous Shogunate family, the Tokugawa family, had their family crest with three leaves of Aoi due to the relationship with the Kamo shrine. As its leaves have a habit of always facing the sun, and the word “Aoi” is taken as “Aogu (仰ぐ, looking up)” for the sun, people thought the Aoi pattern would bring good fortune.
Omodaka (沢瀉) is also a plant’s name. Its name Omodaka (沢瀉), is compared to another Japanese ward Omodaka (面高), which means save face/ keep honor. Also, as its leaf looks similar to an arrowhead (the arrow was once the primary weapon for Samurais), it was called the Kachi-Gusa (勝ち草, winning leaf). Based on these things, the Omodaka motif was appreciated among Samurais, and they used it for their family crests. We would say Aoi and Omodaka; both motifs have a deep relationship with the Samurai culture.
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.
As mentioned above, This Tsuba is decorated with the same design as the Fuchi Kashira. Gold is gorgeously inlaid. The entire shape of this Tsuba looks to imitate a flower, and the two holes engraved next to the center hole have the Karakusa pattern-like shape. You would find this Tsuba’s maker’s name at the center part of the front. It is written as 東肥 光重 (Touhi Mitsushige, Mistushige is his name). You would also see a mark after this name; it is his stylized signature.
Kozuka：Kozuka is a small knife stored in Koduka Hitsu(groove of the sheath of the Japanese sword).
A Kogatana (小刀, small knife) is stored in the Kozuka. The Ouka Shippou Moyou Zu (桜花七宝模様図) is the threm of its design. Ouka (桜花) means cherry blossom. This flower is one of the seasonal things of spring, and it has been loved for a long time in Japan. Its pattern is designed not only for sword mountings but also for Kimono (着物, traditional Japanese costume) or furnishings. One theory says that the god of grain exists in cherry blossoms. Therefore, this flower pattern has been treated as the symbol of a plentiful harvest.
The Shippou (七宝) design is a pattern in which the exact size of circles or ellipses is stacked in quarters. As rings are eternally chained and connected, people wished for harmoniousness, balance, or good relations in this design.
Bashin：A Bashin (馬針) is a tool for keeping a horse in good condition by scratching the legs of a congested horse after a long run to promote bleeding.
Same as the Fuchi Kashira and the Tsuba, the Niju-Karakusa Zu is designed for this work. By using the same motif on several sword mountings, the entire appearance of this Koshirae has unity.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate for the blade (No.1017399)＆ Koshirae (No.2008223)
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 March 2nd in the 4th year of Reiwa (2022). They appraised it as Tokubetsu Hozon Touken, the blade especially worth preserving for Japanese society. Its sword Koshirae was also appraised as a Tokubetsu Hozon Tosogu on Dec 24th in the third year of Reiwa era (2021). 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 : Tokyo 304602
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.