Japan Sword Art

NBTHK ranking and certificates standards

 This overview shows the ranking and certificates which are currently applied/provided by the Japanese Nihonto Organization NBTHK.


Swordsmith ratings /  Class of Importance

Chu Saku                   中作                       –      “Average Class”
Chu JŌ Saku             
中上作                    –      “Above Average Class”
JŌ Saku                     
上作                       –      “Superior Class”
JŌ JŌ Saku               
上々作                    –      “Above Superior Class”
Sai JŌ Saku               
最上作                    –      “Most Superior Class”


Sword classification / Sharpness of a Nihonto

Wazamono                業物                      –      “sharp”

Ō wazamono             大業物                  –      “very sharp”

Ryō wazamono        料業物                   –      “superior sharp”

Saijō ō wazamono  最大業物                –      “most superior sharp”


Japanese Ministry of Education Origami / structure of documentation and certification


HOZON TŌKEN                           保存刀剣          –        “Worthy of Preservation”

TOKUBETSU HOZON TŌKEN     特別保存刀剣  –        “Extraordinarily Worthy of Preservation”

JŪYŌ TŌKEN                                 重要刀剣          –        “Very Important Work”

TOKUBETSU JŪYŌ TŌKEN          特別重要刀剣    –        “Extraordinarily Important Work”

JŪYŌ BUNKAZAI                          重要文化財         –        “Important Cultural Asset”

KOKUHO                                      国宝                    –        “National Treasure”



These certificates, applied/provided in the past by NBTHK are no longer applicable, but still represent a certain value / ranking level.


NBTHK    日本美術刀剣保存協会    Shinsa Standards

KICHŌ                                          貴重                 (white papers)  –        “Important Work”
TOKUBETSU KICHŌ                   特別貴重         (green papers)  –      “Extraordinary Work”
KOSHU TOKUBETSU KICHŌ     甲種特別貴重  (blue papers)    –       “Special Extraordinary Work”

JŪYŌ BIJUTSUSHIN                     重要美術品証書                        –       “Important Art Object”