Modern Authentic Japanese Sword Tachi Signed by Gassan Sadatoshi
This blade was signed by Yamato Koku Jyu Gassan Sadatoshi (大和国住月山貞利) in December the 54th year of the Showa era (1979). Sadatoshi is the fifth head of Osaka Gassan School, which started at the end of the Edo period (Late 19th century). Yamato Koku is another name for Nara prefecture. Yamato Koku Jyu means that Sadatoshi lived in this prefecture when he forged this blade. The signature also says that this swordsmith also made the engraving. Sadatoshi is active today and known as one of the most famous modern Japanese swordsmiths. He has contributed to preserving Japanese sword forging techniques and training swordsmiths.
Gassan Sadatoshi was born in 1946 in Osaka as the third son of the second-gen Gassan Sadakazu, a national living treasure of Japan back then. Sadatoshi majored in architecture and graduated from Osaka Institute of Technology in 1969. He got interested in his father’s work from the beginning of his college days. And he learned sword-forging techniques from his father. Sadatoshi decided to take over his father’s school when his father was acknowledged as a *Mukansa Toko in 1967. Sadatoshi wanted to keep the tradition of Gassan school continuing.
Sadatoshi took the national examination held by the Agency for Cultural Affairs to legally forge Japanese swords in the same year he graduated from university and successfully passed it. In 1975, he received a special Takamatsumiya Award at Shinsaku Meito Ten, an event for modern Japanese swordsmiths to compete their craftsmanship. And in his career, he received countless awards.
In 1982, he was recognized as a *Mukansa Toko, an honorable title for any modern Japanese swordsmith. His works were exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. His beautiful creations have been acknowledged by many Japanese sword experts and collectors worldwide. He was also designated as Intangible Cultural Property by Nara prefecture in 2003.
*What is Mukansa swordsmith?
It is one of the most honorable titles a modern swordsmith could receive.One with this title could submit his work to the Japanese sword exhibition held by NBTHK(Nihon Bijyutu Touken Hozon Kyokai) without being examined. In contrast, other sword makers must pass a rigorous test to participate in this event. This fact also suggests he was a great swordsmith in modern times. This exhibition is held by NBTHK once a year, and modern swordsmiths compete for their craftsmanship there. There are only 39 Mukansa swordsmiths now since the exhibition started in 1955.
Gassan is the name of the school he belonged to. It was initially founded during the Heian period(late 12th century). It is said that the school name “Gassan” (月山) came from the fact that they forged swords near the mountain called Gassan in Dewakoku.
Osaka Gassan School
Gassan Sadayoshi founded Osaka Gassan School in Osaka in 1833. While Gassan school had been known as one of the most prestigious schools from the Kamakura period(late 12th century), its presence faded in the early-mid Edo period. However, after Sadayoshi became a highly-regarded swordsmith at the end of the Edo period, the whole school flourished again because of his continuous effort and superb craftsmanship.
Gassan Sadakazu, his son, supported Sadayoshi, and they spent many years researching traditional Gassan-style swords and finally made Ayasugihada, the signature design of Gassan school. Ayasguhihada looks undulating grain pattern in the Jihada(steel surface), which resembles a Japanese cedar grain. Gassan Sadatoshi also mastered a superb level of craftsmanship passed down for generations.
Based on the registration paper, this blade was created as a Tachi sword. This blade comes with a Tachi(太刀) Koshirae. Tachi was mainly used by an armored Samurai with one hand on horseback from the Heian period (794-1185 A.D.) until the early Muromachi period. TACHI was suspended loosely on the left waist with its edge facing the ground so that you could draw it faster to cut down soldiers on the ground. Because of its gorgeous looking, having a Tachi-style sword mounting became a social status among Samurai.
About Modern Swordsmith
There are around 150-200 swordsmiths in Japan today. To legally produce Japanese swords, one needs to pass the national exam given by the Agency for Cultural Affairs(Bunka-Cho) and receive the license. Before taking the exam, one must finish his or her apprenticeship under a licensed master for more than five years. Those who practice Iaido(居合道) tend to use those modern swords, and there are modern Japanese sword collectors nationwide.
Modern Japanese sword makers are researching old ways to forge swords and trying to recreate ancient-style swords. They are the ones who keep the tradition of Japanese history alive.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 75.2 cm (29.6 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 2.8 cm (1.10 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).
The sword mountings of this Tachi’s Koshirae are decorated with the same design: Shippou-ni Hanabishi (七宝に花菱). We assume it was incorporated here as a family crest. The Fuchi Kashira, Menuki, Tsuba, and other metal fittings have this pattern, such as the Seme Kanamono (責金物, a ring-shaped metal fitting placed in the middle of the scabbard to prevent the sheath from cracking), and also Ishiduki Kanamono (石突金物, a metal fitting that is attached to the end of the scabbard).
The Shippou-ni Hanabishi pattern depicts a Hanabishi (花菱) in a Shippou (七宝). It is categorized in the Shippou (七宝, which literally means seven treasures) design. The Shippou pattern came from the Wachigai Mon (輪違い文). Since a ring spreads in all four directions, the name changed to the Shihou (四方, four directions) and switched to the Shippou. In Buddhism, the seven jewels that adorn the pagoda refers to the blessings of the gods and Buddha. Therefore, the Shippou pattern has been regarded as an auspicious design, the same as the Hanabshi design.
Fuchi-Kashira：A pair of matching sword fittings that cover the upper and bottom parts of its sword hilt.
In a Tachi Koshirae (太刀拵), these sword mountings are called the Kabutogane (冑金/兜金) and the Fuchi Kanamono (縁金物). The Kabutogane is a metal fitting attached to a handle’s end. It corresponds to the Kashira (頭) part of the Fuchi Kashira (縁頭). And the Fuchi Kanamono is also a metal fitting attached to a handle but on the opposite side of Kabutogane. It corresponds to the Fuchi (縁) part of the Fuchi Kashira.
In addition, a Sarute/Sarude (猿手) is attached to this Kabutogane. The user of a sword passed the Udenukio (腕貫緒, a cord wrapped around the wrist to prevent a sword from falling out of the hand, mainly used when riding a horse) through this ring.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
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 is a typical shape of the Tachi Goshirae Tsuba (太刀拵鐔). The difference between Tachi Tsuba (太刀鐔) and Katana Tsuba (刀鐔) is that the top and bottom positions of the Nakago hole (茎櫃, center hole) are reversed. The Tsuba of this Koshirae has Aoi (葵) Tsuba shape. The Ju-Ji (十字, cross) pattern is designed with golden metal is applied to this cross pattern and the edge part.
If you focus on four corners and the tips of the golden cross mark, you will find a heart mark-shaped hole is engraved on each edge. It is called the Inome (猪の目) pattern. The Inome pattern has been used since ancient times. As its name implies, the boar’s eyes are the origin of this pattern. Some people believed the Inome design would work as an amulet to protect them from evil spirits or fire. Also, it is said it would bring good luck. This design is often found in Tachi Tsubas.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Registration Number : Nara 17043
The Board of Education in Nara 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 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.
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.”
【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.
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.