Modern Authentic Japanese Sword Tanto Signed by Kanenori with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Sugawara Kanenori (菅原包則) in August the 31st year of the Meiji era (1898). The signature also says Kunaisho Toko (宮内省刀工), which means that he served the Ministry of the Imperial Household as a swordsmith. He is also known as Miyamoto Kanenori among Japanese sword experts and collectors.
Kanenori was born in Hoki province (Today’s Tottori prefecture) in the first year of the Tenpo era (1830: The end of the Edo period). He was the second son of a Sake brewery father. His birth name was Miyamoato Shigahiko. He decided to become a swordsmith because of Hoki Yasutsuna, a famous swordsmith living in the same province during the late Heian period (Late 12th century). From childhood, he often visited swordsmiths residing in his neighborhood and loved learning Japanese sword forging.
When he was 22 years old (1851), he went to Osafune village in Bizen province (Today’s Okayama prefecture). And he became an apprentice for Yokoyama Sukekane (横山祐包), a renowned swordsmith in that area. He spent seven years mastering Bizen sword-forging tradition called BIZEN DEN from Sukekane. And after finishing his apprenticeship, he received 包(Kane) letter from his master. And he started to name himself Miyamoto Kanenori.
In 1857, he returned to Hoki province and served Arao Naonari, who was in the high-rank position in the region. Kanenori exclusively forged blades for this lord for a few years. In 1863, Kanenori moved to Kyoto and established a sword-forging site there. He created many blades for Samurai who originally belonged to Choshu domain (Yamaguchi prefecture), living in Kyoto to overthrow the Tokugawa government back then.
When Kanenori started his career, it was the end of the Edo period when the military government of Samurai (Tokugawa Shogunate)controlled Japan, and feudal society was the norm. There was plenty of demand for weapons from Samurais back then. However, in 1868, there was a civil war (Boshin war) between Tokugawa’s Shogunate government and the new Meiji imperial government. After this battle, the Tokugawa shogunate was ousted, and the imperial government gained control. The whole feudal system was dismantled, and the new government took the social status of Samurai. The demand for Japanese swords decreased dramatically from the beginning of the Meiji era. Many swordsmiths lost their jobs or changed their career. However, Kanenori kept forging swords until he died at the age of 97 (1926).
Kanenori was eventually recognized by Arisugawanomiya Taruhiro Shinou (有栖川宮 熾仁親王), a royal family. And he received Noto no Kami, an honorable official title, in the third year of the Keio era (1867). After participating in the Boshin war, Kanenori forged a blade for the emperor Meiji to commemorate his enthronement. Kanenori also created blades for the emperor Taisho and Showa. He was also ordered to forge special ceremonial swords for Fushimi Inari shrine, Yasukuni shrine, and Ise shrine. These facts indicate that he was one of the most renowned swordsmiths in the post Samurai era.
In the post-Samurai period, he played an essential role in the Japanese sword. In 1906(the 39th year of Meiji), he received Teishitsu Gigeiin(帝室技芸員: Nationally-designated Important intangible cultural property). The government recognized his contribution to preserving the tradition of Japanese sword forging.
He forged swords in Hoki (Tottori prefecture), Kyoto, and Tokyo. Considering that the signature says he was a Kunaisho Toko, we believe this blade was made in Tokyo.
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)：19.4 cm (7.63 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 0.0 cm (0.0 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 same crest is designed on all the sword mountings of this Tanto. For example, Fuchi Kashira, Menuki, and even the scabbard. We believe it is the family crest of its former owner. The family crest is one of the unique Japanese cultures that has continued from ancient times to today. It represents one’s lineage, rank, and social standing of a family. According to a theory, during the period that strong clans gained renown, people started using the family name. The land name was used as the family name to distinguish the family members who moved to other areas from the others. Therefore, a family crest has a role in showing the family name. After that, court nobles and Samurai families also started using family crests. They favorably used family crests for arms such as swords or armor.
This mark is categorized in the Susuki (薄/芒, Japanese pampas grass) design and is called the Yukiwa-ni Susuki Mon(雪輪に芒文). Yukiwa (雪輪) means a snow ring in Japanese. It is considered that snow is the sign of a plentiful harvest. Especially if snow in the New Year, people thought that year would have a bumper crop. According to a theory, the snow crystal pattern itself was born in the Muromachi period (1336-1573), and people started incorporating it as a motif of family crests since the Edo period.
About the Susuki design, this plant has been used as an offering to Gods. And some people have used it as an amulet to protect people from evil spirits. Also, in Japan, there is a group of plants that represent the autumn season that is called the Aki-no Nanakusa (秋の七草, the seven flowers of autumn). The Susuki is included in this group, and it shows how long this plant has been familiar to Japanese people.
Fuchi-Kashira：A pair of matching sword fittings that cover the upper and bottom parts of its sword hilt.
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.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1017895)
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 Jun. 3rd 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 : Tokyo 294368
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.
【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.
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】
Please contact us through email, Facebook Messenger or Live Chat if you have any questions. You can find each icon on the right side of the website. Please click one of them to reach us. We will reply to you within 1-2 business days.
【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.