Modern Authentic Japanese Sword Tanto Signed by Takahashi Sadatsugu with Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
The information on the signature
This blade was signed by Yoshu Matsuyama Jyu Ryusen Nyudo Sadatsugu (予州松山住龍泉入道貞次). Yoshu is another name for Ehime prefecture. And Matsuyama is the name of the city Sadatsugu lived in when he forged this blade.
Ryusen Nyudo is a title he often inscribed along with his signature. The front side also says Chokoku Dosaku (彫刻同作), which means that Sadatsugu also created the engraving. He also wrote a Kaou (花押) with gold. Kaou is a symbol written after his signature. It also says he was 50 years old when he forged this blade. The back of the tang describes who he made this blade for. It was made for Chikuzen Matsumoto Katsujiro. And it is meant to be a family heirloom (家重代). According to the signature, it was made in February, the 27th year of the Showa era (1952).
The summary of the swordsmith
Sadatsugu was born in Ehime prefecture in the 35th year of the Meiji era (1902). Being inspired by his older brother (Takayashi Yoshimune: a professional swordsmith), Sadatsugu started to be interested in sword forging from his childhood.
He became an apprentice of Gassan Sadakazu＆Sadakatsu, two of the renowned swordsmiths in the post-Samurai period when he was 15 years old (1917). And he mastered excellent sword-forging techniques and engraving skills from them. In 1936, he established his sword-forging site in Ehime prefecture (his birthplace). Since then, he started to sign Sadatsugu (貞次) while his birth name was Takahashi Kinichi.
In 1938, he first participated in a major Japanese Sword crafting competition, and he received Prime Miniter’s Award. And he got awarded in many competitions during his career. He worked for the imperial family as well. He also created blades to devote to many highly regarded shrines, such as Ise shrine and Atsuta, for commemoration. He was one of the most famous swordsmiths in modern times.
He made great efforts to keep the tradition of Japanese sword forging in his career. And he was finally recognized by the government and designated as an Intangible Cultural Asset in 1952, which was the first time for a Japanese swordsmith. And in 1955, he received an Important Intangible Cultural Asset and became a living National Treasure of Japan, the first swordsmith that received this honor back then. After becoming a national treasure, he created a Tanto, also known as Omamori Gatana (Protection sword) for Crown Princess Michiko (the name used back then) in 1959 when she married. And, Sadatsugu kept forging all the Tanto (Omamori Gatana) for the sons of Crown Princess Michiko.
It is said that he mastered all five Japanese sword traditions, also known as Gokaden (BIZEN, YAMASHIRO, YAMATO, MINO, and SOSHU DEN). He was incredibly excellent at forging the BIZEN DEN sword with Choji Midare Hamon and SOSHU DEN. To improve his craftsmanship, he thoroughly researched works of renowned swordsmiths in the past, such as Masamune, Sadamune, Echizen Yasutsugu, Ichimonji school, and Bizen Osafune school. He often did Utsushi of famous Japanese swords to enhance the depth of his knowledge. One of his specialties was engraving, such as dragon and Fudo Myo O engravings. Some sword experts say that the level of the engraving techniques Sadatsugu mastered is equivalent to Gassan Sadakazu (his master).
*Utsushi is a Japanese sword whose specification was based on historically famous swords, but it was made by a different swordsmith to pay respect to a renowned swordsmith.
You would find a Horimo (彫物, blade sculpture) on both sides of this blade. On the front, you see the figure of the Fudo Myo-O. The flame that burns away worldly desires is blazing behind it, and it holds a sword in its right hand and brings a rope in its left hand. It is depicted in a form that conforms to established theory. Fudo Myo-O is one of the objects of worship in Buddhism. This god was also known as the god of wars. We believe that is why many Samurai warriors worshipped this god. According to a theory, it is the incarnation of Dainichi Nyorai (大日如来, Mahāvairocana, the principal image of esoteric Buddhism).
On the backside, there is a Bonji (梵字, Sanscrit letter) and two Hi (樋). This Bonji character represents the Fudo Myo-O. The Hi is a grooving, often in the form of a bar, carved along the blade. The exact role of Hi is unknown; however, there are three accepted theories. First, it is for the weight saving of the blade without reducing its strength. Second, it is for making a nice-looking blade. And the third theory is to produce the sound of cutting the wind when the sword is swung.
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)：26.2 cm ( 10.3 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).
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 but shiny appearance due to its bright golden coloring. You would find a small chip part and scuffs on its surface. Despite these minor damages, the overall condition is relatively good, and its gorgeous look is still maintained. In addition, this Fuchi Kashira’s design matches well with the scabbard. The other metal parts are also coated with the same type of plating, giving the overall finish a sense of unity.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
The motif of this Menuki is the Yumiya Zu (弓矢図). It is a combination of bow and arrows. A quiver containing arrows is tied to the unstrung bow with a string. Golden and silvery colorings are effectively applied to each part. We would like to say this Menuki is in good condition with no noticeable extensive damage.
Bow and arrows were initially used for hunting. This weapon allows the user to bag a distant target indirectly. The earliest bows were inferior in strength and power compared to those developed later. However, because this weapon could be made from natural materials, that is, wood, we think it became a familiar tool to support people who lived in a time when hunting and gathering were the main activities.
The bow and arrows have a deep relationship with Samurais. Over time, bows and arrows developed from a hunting tool to an anti-personnel weapon. Gradually, long and large bows began to be made, surpassing swords for close-quarters combat, and became the primary weapon in battle. For a long time, bows and arrows came in handy as an indispensable weapon on battlefields.
The combination of bow and arrow is often seen in sword mountings. We assume that this motif has reminded Samurai warriors of battlefields, which might be why this design was favored to decorate their swords.
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.
You would find the same family crest in the Habaki and scabbard. This crest is categorized as the Ume (梅, Japanese apricot blossom) pattern and is called the Maru-ni Umebachi (丸に梅鉢) Mon. According to a theory, this flower was incorporated into designs of family crests due to the relationship with the Tenjin (天神) belief. This faith honors the soul of Sugawara-no Michizane (菅原道真, 845-903), and he cherished this flower. Michizane excelled in academics and was appointed and promoted by the emperor back then. However, other aristocrats envied his promotions, and Michizane was demoted Kyushu region, far from the capital. And he passed away two years later. After his death, the capital suffered great natural disasters. And people who opposed Michizane had unfortunate experiences. People thought that his spirit caused these things, and the capital was terrified at that time. One day when such a situation continued, a person was possessed by Michizane, and Michizane demanded to enshrine himself. The imperial court accepted his request and built a shrine in Kyushu to appease his spirit. The Sugawara family managed this, a family of scholars. And Michizane, who excelled in studies during his lifetime, came to be worshiped as the god of learning. Because of this background, it is said that many family crests with the Ume designs were used in the Kinki and Kita-Kyushu regions.
Japanese apricot blossoms, this plant itself also has been widely favored in Japan since ancient times. It begins to bloom in winter that snow still covers its tree, so people thought this flower tells the arrival of spring. People enjoy its adorable petal shape and scent, and gracefully branched tree, and they composed many poems. As it comes out in the cold season, it symbolizes the power of perseverance and vitality.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1014435)
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 November 9th in the 2th year of Reiwa (2020). 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 : Fukuoka 102690
The Board of Education in Fukuoka 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.
【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.