The Society for the Preservation of the Japanese Sword ( N.B.T.H.K.)has long been the largest organization in the world in regards to the Japanese Sword. 


Located in Tokyo: 

Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai, 

4-25-10 Yoyogi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan. 

Hours of operation: 10am-4:30pm closed Mondays, Also closed the latter part of December and the beginning of January.

Admission: Adults - 600 JPY Members/Students - 300 JYP, Children under 15 - Free 

Yearly membership rate: 19,200 Japanese Yen - this includes the "Token Bijutsu" magazine published by the N.B.T.H.K. for its members both in Japan as well as internationally. Unfortunately, this publication is only available in Japanese, but is a wonderful source of pictures from fittings as well as oshigata of swords used in lectures and events at the museum. 

Sometimes it is more effective when using a taxi in Japan to ask for the "Token Hakubutsukan" (Sword Museum) in Shibuya because on most maps the N.B.T.H.K. is noted as such.


When visiting the N.B.T.H.K., one can see a great display of some of the finest swords in Japan. The displays rotate from time to time, from different themes to the annual display of each years newly chosen "Juyo-Token". Kodogu (fittings) are also displayed (the last time I was there, several Natsuo as well as mainline Goto were on display).

Shinsa: In order to have a sword or sword fitting certified at the N.B.T.H.K., one must submit the sword or fitting to a "Shinsa" at the museum. This is where the sword is taken and studied to determine whether or not the signature is deemed "genuine" or in the case of unsigned pieces, to give and educated opinion of who made the piece submitted. From the early 80's, the N.B.T.H.K. had changed the system of certification. 

The new classes of papers are: Hozon Token, Tokubetsu Hozon Token, Juyo Token and Tokubetsu Juyo Token. As of April 2000, the new price for the Hozon Token and Tokubetsu Hozon Token are 25,500 Japanese Yen and 52,500 Japanese Yen respectively, but to achieve Tokubetsu Hozon, one must first pass the Hozon Shinsa. Rejection-10,500 Japanese Yen. This is the current price for members and does NOT include shipping or importation fees. The Hozon and Tokubetsu Hozon shinsa for the blades will be held 5 times a year, as well as 5 times for the Kodogu (fittings). The Juyo Token Shinsa will be held once a year, and the Tokubetsu Juyo Token Shinsa once every 2 years. Rejection often varies in meaning, examples are; signature deemed not genuine, sword has been re-tempered, sword has no temper, sword has too many major flaws and is irreparable, sword has "hagiri", too poor quality, sword too "tired", damage to item submitted too severe, etc ,etc..

The Shinsa itself contrary to rumors, is done completely unbiased, I was lucky enough to see the actual Shinsa in progress, and how each sword or fitting was only assigned a number without the owners information attached.  

Lectures as well as "Kanteikai" (sword identification contest ) are events that are held once a month. On occassion there is a major convention with many masterpieces on display. Modern craftsmen also have competitions that are sponsored by the museum. Shinsaku-to (modern sword smiths) have an annual competition as well as those for habaki, koshirae and saya makers. each year there are many excellent participants and their skill is outstanding.

For more information, go to www.nbthk.com

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