This is an outstanding set with a very notable history. The inscription on the underside is a commemoration of winning the 1986 martial arts merit commendation, an award given only once a year to one person in each of the disciplines: judo, kendo, archery, sumo wrestling, karate, aikido, Shorinji Kempo, Naginata, and jūkendō. Although the names have been blurred for privacy, my best guess is that this gift was given to the visiting official who oversaw the presentation of the awards that year at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo: Masumi Esaki (1915-1996), a politician who served 17 terms in the House of Representatives and filled many posts including Minister of International Trade, Defense Agency Secretary, Minister of Home Affairs, and Chairman of the National Public Safety Commission. Meanwhile, back in the USA on that date the Bears were beating the Patriots to win Super Bowl XX.
The board itself has amazingly clean corners and edges, no doubt because it was well kept with a paulownia lid. It has a lovely orange heartwood. Some spots have formed on the exposed underside which could be cleaned - Vash3g has been showing what can be done with a simple toothbrush and isopropyl alcohol - but care should be taken not to get too close to the inscription or it might be smudged.
The board has an itame-cut (kiura) which presents the endgrain like a log and shows off the size of the trunk. This places nice parallel lines on the sides of the board, and some cross-grains on the tachimori (lacquer grid) playing surface. This is the top cutting style for most boards and makes it very pleasant to regard. The dense lines, the color, and the weight point towards Agathis or Matsu (Pine).
The wood of the bowls is Mikura Island Mulberry (shimakuwa), XL size. For comparison, check Mr. Kuroki's store where they are sold out at $1900. The last time I handled a set of bowls like this I took a video to show how they glow golden in the light.
The stones are slate and shell, size 33, around 9.1mm. There are 181 black and 180 white. The clamshell has a patina from age.
FedEx International Priority shipping is included as standard with this set. Please allow 1-2 weeks for your package to clear Customs, at which point we will email you a tracking number from the shipping service that you can use to sign up for notifications. Then FedEx takes 5-10 business days in transit.