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The Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (NBTHK) was founded in February 1948 as an authorised foundation by the government in order to save the Japanese sword that was in a critical situation of total destruction when the Occupation Forces tried to confiscate all the Japanese swords from Japanese people just after World War II. Also the Sword Museum that belongs to the NBTHK was built and opened in May 1968 with co-operation and financial support of its members.

It is the purpose of the NBTHK to conserve Japanese swords that have artistic value and make them be open to the public in Exhibitions. Also they support the preservation and the development of sword forging and polishing techniques as well as Koshirae making as intangible cultural assets. Meanwhile, an all possible effort to investigate and secure the material of Japanese Sword and help people in studying Japanese Sword appreciation is carried out.


The NBTHK rating / examination system is as below and authenticates Nihonto and Tosogu in the following order:

Hozon- Worthy of Preservation
Tokubetsu Hozon- Extraordinarily Worthy of Preservation
Juyo Token - Important Work
Tokubetsu Juyo Token - Extraordinarily Important Work  ( Just short of being a National Treasure and of similar status).


Personal comment:

In Japan Nihonto and Kodogu/Tosogu examinations,(Shinsa) are held at the NBTHK. Generally items are submitted for Hozon Certification which basically verifies it is genuine and worthy of preservation. In addition I have acquired excellent Tsuba and Sword fittings in Japan with no certification at all and at some later stage admitted these items for Shinsa and had no problem getting Certification from the NBTHK. Knowledge and understanding is of paramount importance , there are now more so than in the past many reference books available on Nihonto and Kodogu/Tosogu and these are a very good source of information.

There is a saying “ that the further you climb up a mountain the more you will see below and around you “ therefore no amount of study and knowledge is enough that is why the passion of collecting these great items of historical significance is a much appreciated and satisfying interest for many collectors around the world.The most important aspect is actually looking and examining items of interest as this way you can learn and experience the visual aspect. This can be done at Sword Shows and exhibitions in Japan and also visiting Museums in Japan and also in the USA and Europe and belong to Nihonto clubs. The NBTHK Japanese Sword Museum in Tokyo has wonderful exhibition’s throughout the year and also a great source of information. Please look at the link below.