Antique Japanese Sword Katana Signed by Gassan Sadakazu with NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon Certificate
This blade was signed by Gassan Sadakazu(月山貞一) in August, the 31st year of the Meiji era(1898). The signature also says that he forged this blade in Osaka city.
Sadakazu was born as the son of the Tsukamoto family in Omi province(today’s Shiga prefecture) in 1836. That indicates this blade was forged when he was about 62 years old. Sadakazu was adopted by Gassan Sadayoshi(月山貞吉), one of the most famous swordsmiths in Osaka prefecture, when he was seven years. Sadakazu started his training under Gassan Sadayoshi when he was 11 years old. And at incredible speed, he was able to master a lot of complex techniques. According to available records, his first blade was created in 1851 when he was 16 years old.
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.
His master, Gassan Sadayoshi, founded 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 revitalized and flourished again because of his continuous effort and superb craftsmanship. Gassan Sadakazu 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.
At the end of Sadayoshi’s career, Sadakazu often did Daimei for his master. Daimei is a regular act where an apprentice or a child of the swordsmith signed his master’s name with his master’s permission, being involved in a sword-forging. This fact proves that the level of artistry Sadakazu mastered was closed to his master, Sadayoshi. It is said that Sadakazu was able to create various styles of blades by using different sword traditions. And, he was also famous for having beautiful sculptures on his work.
When Sadakazu 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 of weapons from Samurais back then. However, in 1868, there was a civil 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, Sadakazu kept forging swords until he died at the age of 84(1918).
In the post-Samurai period, he played an important role for the Japanese sword. The government recognized his contribution to his preserving the tradition of Japanese sword-forging. In 1906(the 39th year of Meiji), he received Teishitsu Gigeiin(帝室技芸員: Nationally-designated Important intangible cultural property). He also submitted his work to the Chicago expo in 1893 and received an honorable award. Emperor Meiji purchased this award-winning sword one year after the expo.
His son is Gassan Sadakatsu, his grandson, Gassan Sadakazu(the-second gen Sadakazu), and Gassan Sadatoshi(Great-grandson) were famous and skilled swordsmiths. Gassan Sadatoshi and his son still keep creating beautiful swords for Japanese sword collectors today.
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 are a couple of light partial black rust on the Mune (backbone) and the blade. If you like to see the detailed condition of this blade, please feel free to contact us. We will take photos/videos and send them to you.
Cutting Edge Length(Nagasa)： 68.4 cm (26.9 inches)
Curvature(Sori)： 1.0 cm ( 0.39 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.
We would categorize this Fuchi Kashira’s design as a kind of Karakusa (唐草, arabesque) pattern. It is a design in which stems and leaves of vines are twined and make curves. Since ivy has a strong vitality and grows up without interruption, people regarded this design as a symbol of prosperity and longevity. In Japanese, Vine is called Tsuru (蔓), and it has another pronunciation; “Man.” There is a word 万 (it is also read Man), which means thousand. In the Karakusa pattern, leaves and vines are connected like Obi (帯, belt). The word “帯” can also be read as “Tai.” Due to its pronunciation, the term 代 (Tai) is associated. From this word-association game, an idiom 万代 is associated, and it means a thousand generations. In other words, we could imagine that people used this design wishing prosperity and longevity for their clans for a long time.
Tsuka and Menuki：Tsuka is the handle of the Japanese sword and Menuki is its decoration.
This Menuki’s motif is probably a combination of tiger and bamboo. This is a classical theme called the Take Tora Zu (竹虎図) in Japanese. The tiger seems to be looking for something to prey on, conveying a sense of tension. The tiger is a brave animal. A theory says people considered the tiger pattern would protect people from evil spirits. Therefore, its pattern has been treated as a talisman. The tiger design has also been regarded as the symbol of life activity when “tiger” is written by a Japanese Kanji character (漢字, a kind of Japanese letter) based on its meaning. It is said people wished for boys’ healthy growth by using the tiger pattern.
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 antique Tsuba has a circle shape, and its edge part is framed with a thin metal plate. Thanks to this edging, this Tsuba is protected from damages. And it also prevents the wear and tear of the Kimono if the edge damages it by touching the cloth. Around the Nakago (茎) hole, you could see Japanese letters. It is unclear to read; however, these letters usually show its maker’s inscription signature. About the design, you would find minor flower-shaped dents on both sides. These flower patterns and golden colorings are the elements of decorativeness of this Tsuba.
Saya： Saya is the scabbard for the Japanese sword.
Authentication Paper：NBTHK TOKUBETSU Hozon Certificate for the blade (No. 1016846)
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 Dec 3rd in the 3rd year of Reiwa (2021). 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 : Hyogo 111494
The Board of Education in Hyogo 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】
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.