Also see Japanese Sword Terms & Related Glossary & Visual Japanese Sword Glossary

 

Certification (appraisal papers, Origami) ratings awarded through shinsa...
and their meanings.

N.B.T.H.K. (Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kai)

The N.B.T.H.K. (Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kai) was founded in 1948 and is commonly recognized by collectors. They operate the Japanese Sword Museum in Tokyo. The NBTHK shinsa are held only in Japan. The names of their origami have changed over time. The N.B.T.H.K. issued the following types of origami starting in the 1950's.

KICHO (white papers) - "Important Work"
TOKUBETSU KICHO (green papers) - "Extraordinary Work"
KOSHU TOKUBETSU KICHO (blue papers) - "Special Extraordinary Work"
JUYO TOKEN - "Very Important Work"
TOKUBETSU JUYO - "Extraordinarily Important Work"

 

This ranking scale was changed in the 1980's. The current system of origami includes the following types:

HOZON - "Worthy of Preservation"
TOKUBETSU HOZON - "Extraordinarily Worthy of Preservation"
JUYO TOKEN - "Very Important Work"
TOKUBETSU JUYO - "Extraordinarily Important Work"

 

Japanese ministry of Education origami

The following ratings are only granted by the Japanese Ministry of Education. These ratings are seen only on items of great artistic, cultural and historical value. Swords with these ratings are not found outside of Japan.

JUYO BIJUTSU HIN - "Important Art Object"
JUYO BUNKAZAI - "Important Cultural Asset"
KOKUHO - "National Treasure"

 

N.T.H.K. (Nihon Token Hozon Kai)

Formally translated as “The Society for the Preservation of the Japanese Sword”. Established in 1910 during the Meiji Period. N.T.H.K shinsa are held in the U.S. in conjunction with sword shows. After the death of the late Yoshikawa-sensei the organization split into two, the second being the N.T.H.K - NPO. The N.T.H.K sword ratings are:

SHINTEISHO - "Genuine Work" / 60-69 points
KANTEISHO - "Important Work" / 70-84 points
YUSHU SAKU - "Very Important Work" / 85-94 points
    SAI YUSHU SAKU - "Special Important Work" / 95-100 points

*Only Yushu saku & Sai Yushu saku are issued in Japan. Items graded higher than 80 points are recommend for shinsa in Japan.

 

N.T.H.K. (Nihon Token Hozon Kai) N.P.O

The N.T.H.K. NPO (Nihon Token Hozon Kai) also issues origami. N.T.H.K shinsa are held in the U.S. in conjunction with sword shows. The N.T.H.K sword ratings are:

SHINTEISHO - "Genuine Work" / 60-69 points
KANTEISHO - "Important Work" / 70-79 points
 Kanteisho with 80 + points is eligible for the yearly Yushu shinsa held only in Japan.
YUSHU SAKU - "Very Important Work" / 80 + points

 

Fujishiro swordsmith ratings

The Fujishiro system of rating swordsmiths is widely used by collectors and students of Nihonto. It is based on the two volume set, Nihon Toko Jiten, by Matsuo Fujishiro. Fujishiro rated smiths of the Koto, Shinto and Shin shinto eras. This rating system applies to swordsmiths, unlike the N.B.T.H.K. and N.T.H.K. origami which are awarded to a specific sword blade. In the Fujishiro rating system, the swordsmiths are rated:

Chu Saku - "Average Made"
Chu Jo Saku - "Above Average Made"
Jo Saku - "Superior Made"
Jo Jo Saku - "Above Superior Made"
Sai Jo Saku - "Most Superior Made"


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