Modern Japanese Sword Gendaito Tanto Signed by Shigemasa with NBTHK Hozon Certificate
This Tanto blade was created and signed by Sakai Ikkansai Shigemasa(酒井一貫斎繁政), one of the most famous swordsmiths in the post Samurai era.
Shigemasa(his born was Sakai Kan) was born in the 38th year of the Meiji era(1905 ) as the third son of Sakai Anjiro in Shizuoka city, Japan. And, he became an apprentice of Kasama Shigetsugu（笠間繁継), a well-known swordsmith in the 10th year of the Taisho era(1921), when he was still a teenager. After 15 years of continuous training, he finally received one of the letters of his master, “繁,” and he started to signed as Shigemasa(繁正). He became an independent swordsmith in the 8th year of the Showa era(1933). Since then, he became Rikugun Jyumei Tosho(陸軍受命刀匠), which was the title given by the Japanese military to skilled Japanese swordsmiths during Taisho-the early Showa period.
To receive this title, a swordsmith forged two swords and submitted them to the governmental agency that produced weapons. After passing the particular and rigorous exam there, the swordsmith would be acknowledged as Rikugun Jyumei Tosho. We assumed he primarily forged swords for the Japanese military before and during World War Ⅱ.
After World War Ⅱ, he changed his name to Ikkansai Shigemasa(一貫斎繁政) and kept forging for the rest of his life. He was selected as a Mukansa swordsmith by NBTHK(Nihon Bijutsu Touken Hozon Kyokai). Based on the signature on the tang, this Tanto blade was forged when he was 80 years old(1985). He died at the age of 91 in 1996. While he was known for his highly skilled forging technique, he was also excellent at engraving his work.
The engraving of this blade was also done by Shigemasa. Its design is Fudo Myo O engraving.
Fudo Myo-O (不動明王, acalanātha) is engraved at this part of the sword. Fudo Myo-O is one of the objects of worship in Buddhism. According to a theory, it is the incarnation of Dainichi Nyorai (大日如来, Mahāvairocana, the principal image of esoteric Buddhism). Fudo Myo-O is a motif with miraculous virtues.
What is a 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 need to pass a rigorous test to participate in this event. This fact also suggests he was a great swordsmith in modern times. There are only 39 Mukansa swordsmiths now since the exhibition started in 1955. This exhibition is held by NBTHK once a year, and modern swordsmiths compete for their craftsmanship there.
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.
The 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.
This sword has a Hozon certificate issued by NBTHK. This authentication paper was only given to Japanese swords, worth preserving by Nihon Bijutsu Touken Hozon Kyokai(the Society for the Preservation of the Japan Art Sword).
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 27.0 cm( 10.6 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 0.2 cm(0.08 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.
The front of the signature says “Musashikoku Tokigawa Seto Jyu Sakai Ikkansai Shigemasa Kitae Saku nari”. It means this blade was forged by Sakai Ikkansai Shigemasa living in Musashikoku Tokigawa Seto.
The back says Showa Rokujyu Ichhu Nen Shoshun Kojitsu Hachijyu Ou Hori Douzukuri. It means this blade was forged when he was 80 years old and the year was 1985. The forging and engraving were both done by him.
Horimono: Horimono is an inscription or sculpture on Japanese swords.
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.
Buddhist altar fittings are designed for this Fuchi Kashira. The short mallet put on the Fuchi is Dokko-Sho (独鈷杵, a kind of Kongo-Sho, called vajra in Sanskrit), which has one edge for each side. It is a tool used in some denominations of Japanese Buddhism such as the Tendai sect (天台宗), the Shingon sect (真言宗), or the Zen sect (禅宗), and all denominations of Tibetan Buddhism. Initially, it was a weapon that ancient Indian gods had. So, Kongo-Sho (金剛杵) was likened to a weapon in Indian mythology. They believed that the teachings of the
Buddha cut off worldly desires, and this item would express Bodai-Shin (菩提心, bodhicitta, the spirit of seeking enlightenment).
Another motif that is applied to the Kashira is similar to a waterwheel. It might be Rinbou (輪宝, also called Rinpou). It was initially a throwing weapon in ancient India. It is one of the seven treasures of Tenrin-Jouou (転輪聖王, same as 転輪王, Cakravarti-rājan, legendary king in ancient India). Like Kongou-Sho, Rinbou was adopted to Buddhism, and people thought this tool would also work to exorcize earthly desires.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
Same as Fuchi Kashira, this Menuki’s motif is a type of Kongou-Sho. It has three edges for each side. There is a handle in the center, and the sharp part is the blade of a spear. The name varies depending on the number of blades. Since this Kongou-Sho has three blades for each side, this Menuki’s motif is San-Kosho (三鈷杵). Due to these selections for the sword mounting, we would like to imagine that one of the former owners of this sword might have been a believer in esoteric Buddhism.
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.
Yotsu-Mokkou-shaped Tsuba made from iron. This Tsuba is tiny and slight appearance. The cherry blossom and ivy patterns are inlaid with brass. Cherry blossom is one of the seasonal things of spring, and it has been loved for a long time. Its pattern is designed not only for sword mountings but also for Kimono (traditional Japanese costume) or furnishings. It has believed that the god of grain exists in cherry blossom. Therefore, this flower pattern has been treated as the symbol of a rich harvest. People held a traditional custom under cherry blossom trees to pray for a bumper year in ancient times. According to a theory, it is the origin of the cherry-blossom viewing picnic today.
Saya：Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK Hozon Certificate for the blade
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 Aug 28th in the second year of Reiwa (2020). They appraised it as Hozon Touken, the blade 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 : Saitama 57158
The Board of Education in Saitama 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 300 Japanese swords 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. 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, EUR or GBP. The price is set in Japanese Yen. Prices in other currencies are automatically calculated based on the latest exchange rate.
We have shipped authentic Japanese swords to the USA, Canada, Mexico, UK, Germany , France and Hong Kong. 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 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.
*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.
【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 Powder, Peg remover, Oil Applicator). By watching the video instruction above , you can enjoy learning how to maintain your Japanese sword while appreciating it.