Also see Japanese Sword Terms & Related Glossary & Visual Japanese Sword Glossary
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.
This ranking scale was changed in the 1980's. The current system of origami includes the following types:
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.
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:
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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