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


Certification ratings (Origami) awarded through Shinsa... and their meanings.

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"


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"


The N.T.H.K. (Nihon Token Hozon Kai) also issues origami. N.T.H.K shinsa are held in the U.S. in conjunction with sword shows. For the last few years they have held shinsa in Chicago - during the month of April. 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


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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