Antique Japanese Sword Wakizashi Signed by Yasutsugu with NBTHK Tokubestsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was forged by the third-gen Echizen Yasutsugu(越前三代康継), according to the NBTHK’s appraisal. The signature also has AOI Mon (holly oak symbol).
He was especially active in sword-forging during the Kanbun era(Early Edo period: 1661-1673). He was the third son of the first-gen Yasutsugu, one of the most famous swordsmiths during the early Edo period.
It is said that the first-gen Yasutsugu was born in Shimosaka town in Shiga prefecture at the end of the Muromachi period(Late 16 century ). He built his career there until the beginning of the Keicho era(1596). However, he moved to Echizen province due to the relocation of the lord he served. He eventually was noticed and supported by Matsudaira Hideyasu, the third son of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was the founder of the Edo government. Hideysu was the feudal lord of Echizen province during the early Edo period. With the support of Hideyasu, the first-gen Yasutsugu established the Echizen Shimosaka school. And his school’s fame became nationwide.
By Hideyasu’s recommendation, the first-gen Yasutsugu became Okakaekaji for the Tokugawa shogun family, meaning that he exclusively forged swords for the Shogun family. Yasutsu was acknowledged by the first and second Tokugawa Shoguns, Tokugawa Ieyasu, and Tokugawa Hidetada.
The first-gen Yasutsugu received 康(YASU) from Tokugawa Ieyasu and changed his maker’s name. He was also allowed to inscribe the holly oak symbol(family crest of Tokugawa) on the tang.
Fascinating History of the third-gen Echizen Yasutsugu
The first gen Yasutsugu died in 1621, and his first son took over the school and became the second-gen Yasutsugu. The second gen was deceased in 1646. As we explained earlier, the third-gen Echizen Yastsugu was the third son of the first-gen Yasutsugu. His real name was Shirouemon(四郎右衛門).
When the second-gen Yasutsugu was deceased in the third year of Seiho(1646), the next heir of the school, the first son of the second-gen, was just 17 years old. His name was Umanosuke (右馬助). Because of his young age, there was a dispute within the Echizen Yasutsugu school over who would become the third head of Yasutsugu school.
The students of the second-gen Yasutsugu and Shogun’s arms office supported Umanosuke to be the third-gen Yasutsugu. However, Shirouemon, the third son of the first-gen Yasutsugu, insisted that he should be the one to take over his father’s school and property. Shirouemon was a younger brother of the second-gen Yasutsugu.
This dispute was eventually solved in such an interesting manner. Yasutusu school decided to have two third-gen Yasutsugu. While Umanosuke was officially appointed as the heir of Yasutsu school and became the third-gen Yasutsugu in Edo city, Shirouemon founded the Echizen Yasutsugu school. From this point, there were two branches of Yasutsugu school; Edo and Echizen.
Back then, Yasutsugu swordsmiths were requested to forge swords in Echizen and Edo back and forth every year, but this tradition ended after this dispute was settled.
Echizen Yasutsugu lasted for the 9th generation, and Edo Yasutsugu school lasted for the 12th generation from the third-gen Yasutsugu.
The third-gen Echizen Yasutsugu was allowed to inscribe a holly oak symbol, which suggests that his craftsmanship was highly regarded among Tokugawa Shogunate back then.
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 small chip on the tip of the blade. If you like to know the detailed condition, please feel free to contact us.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 46.0 cm ( 18.1 inches)
Curvature(Sori)：0.6 cm ( 0.23 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.
This Fuchi Kashira has a simple look made from elegant black-colored metal. Its surface is decorated with the Nanako-Ji (魚子地) technique. It produces delicate fish egg-shaped protrusions by hitting with the Nanako-Ji Tagane (魚子地鏨), which is typically used for this technique. Each protrusion is arranged evenly and makes a well-balanced pattern; it enhances the decorativeness of this work.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Seeing from the gaps of the Tsukamaki thread, you will find that small flowers are designed. The Kiku (菊, chrysanthemum) is the motifs of this Menuki. Some parts are colored with golden paint, and it seems this coloring remains in good condition. Engraved lines representing the lines of the petals and veins are visible.
A long time ago, the chrysanthemum was used as a medicine for obtaining a long life, and it was brought to Japan from the continent with this thought in the Nara period (648-781). Chrysanthemum symbolizes fall, and people have greatly appreciated it since ancient times. As its petals form radially, the chrysanthemum has been likened to the sun. That is why this flower pattern is treated as the symbol of perpetual youth and longevity or good health.
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.
Oval-shaped Tsuba that has Kozuka and Kougai holes. Although most of the golden colorings have already faded due to aging, we believe you would imagine and enjoy its ornamental appearance. Even the side of the Mimi (edge of Tsuba) part is decorated with golden inlay.
About the motif, it is a combination of flowers: the Suisen (水仙, narcissus) and chrysanthemums. We have already mentioned the chrysanthemum pattern in the explanation of Menuki. Therefore, here we focus on the narcissus motif.
According to a theory, this flower’s shape was likened to the figure of a Sennin (仙人, mountain hermit) who stands still on the Mizube (水辺, waterside); therefore, narcissus was named “水仙.” It is unknown when narcissus was brought to Japan, but it became popular in the Edo period. The famous painters back then enjoyed drawing this flower in their works. Also, the narcissus pattern was designed for various items such as Fusuma (襖, a type of Japanese partition) paintings, ceramics, or Kosode (小袖, a kind of traditional Japanese costume). This flower was also favored in tea ceremonies due to its elegant look and fragrance. It shows how popular this flower was among people at that time; we guess some Samurais cherished it. Understandably, this plant motif was incorporated into sword mountings.
Another theory says that some people have treated this flower as a good luck talisman of success in life. Also, since it blooms in a severe cold season, even when it snows, it is said narcissus flower has the power to repel adversity. This flower symbolizes intelligence, and the second letter of its Japanese name, “仙,” has the meaning of longevity. In this way, the narcissus motif has various auspicious connotations.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate for the blade (No.1017679)
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 Mar. 2nd in the 4th year of Reiwa (2022). 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 : Kanagawa 14847
The Board of Education in Kanagawa 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.
【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 400 Japanese swords for the past three years (～2022) 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 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 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.
* 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.
【How To Contact Us】
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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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