Buying a Katana from Japan isn't as difficult as you think!
In Japan, in order to own a Japanese sword, each sword owner must hold and carry a registration card in accordance with the Firearms and Swords Control Law.
This gives many people the impression that it is difficult to purchase a Japanese sword from Japan. But, with a few exceptions, such as national treasures and important cultural properties, anyone in the world can buy a Japanese sword from Japan. Let's take a step-by-step approach to how Japanese swords are exported.
First, when purchasing a Japanese sword from outside Japan, it is important to check if your country allows for the import of Japanese swords. Even if we are able to export Japanese swords, some countries prohibit their import. If you are in a country that does allow for the import of these swords, we will start by creating a purchase agreement.
Once a purchase agreement is signed, we apply with the Agency for Cultural Affairs for permission to export the sword. The purpose of this process is to contribute to smooth customs inspections and to prevent cultural properties, which are valuable national assets, from accidentally making their way overseas.
Since the export of objects designated as National Treasures, Important Cultural Properties, or objects certified as Important Art Objects is, in principle, prohibited under the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties and related laws and regulations, the proof is required that the subject sword is neither designated as a National Treasure or Important Cultural Property nor an object certified as an Important Art Object. This certification is called a "Certificate of Export Appraisal of Antique Art Objects" and is issued by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.
This process takes about two weeks after the agreement is completed. Once the export permit is received from the Agency for Cultural Affairs, the sword is shipped via air freight and the registration certificate that originally accompanied the sword is returned to the Board of Education that issued it. Finally, all that remains is to wait for the sword to arrive at your location.