New Generation Of Japanese Swordsmiths - Tsuchiko T. - Mishina K. - Book
Unparalleled in its deadly cutting power, strength, and enduring elegance, the Japanese sword is a triumph of both technical merit and mythical appeal.
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Unparalleled in its deadly cutting power, strength, and enduring elegance, the Japanese sword is a triumph of both technical merit and mythical appeal. For a thousand years the Japanese sword was the linchpin of the warrior class, the mainstay of social order, and the definitive weapon on the battlefield. Now incongruous with modern warfare and society, its practical role has been consigned to history. But the sword has retained its artistic and symbolic power. Most of the qualities that are considered aesthetically pleasing in the sword, from the intricate patterns on the steel itself to the blade'ss characteristic curvature, derive from its function as a weapon. The sword must embody both lightness and durability, and the blade requires a toughness that is not too brittle or its effectiveness as a weapon would be compromised. The perfect harmony of these conflicting elements characterizes the swordsmith'ss art. The history of swordmaking was interrupted in the wake of World War II, when the occupying forces banned all activities associated with the Japanese sword. Many of the old swords were destroyed and, for those remaining, their status as weapons was changed forever. Today'ss working craftsmen form a new chapter in this history as they revive the art form and find a vital, meaningful role for the sword in modern society. In this insightful volume, noted sword expert, journalist, and editor, Tamio Tsuchiko, explores the world of gendaito, visiting its practitioners and sharing views and ideas. Through close-up interviews with twenty gendai-tosho, and dialogues between smiths and polishers, Tsuchiko presents the reader with a fascinating and enriching array of experiences, theories, and reflections from those at the forefront of modern sword craftsmanship, as they take this ancient art into purely aesthetic directions. Never before has such a thorough and illuminating study of this kind emerged. Including over one hundred photographs of the artists and their most recent creations, this will be an important addition to the libraries of collectors, craftsmen and sword aficionados, as well as those with a more general interest in Japanese weaponry. Tamio Tsuchiko is a writer and editor of numerous publications on Japanese swords and Japanese craftsmanship in general, including traditional crafts as well as contemporary engineering. Tsuchiko has been involved in the sword world for more than thirty years, and is one of the executives of Nihon Bunka Niju-Isseiki Iinkai, or the Japanese Culture Twenty-first Century Committee. He has carried out detailed research on the history of Japanese swords in modern times. He lives in Tokyo, where he is active in the promotion of Japanese crafts and the Japanese sword. Kenji Mishima is a sword polisher who served as chief instructor at the Nagayama Kenshu Jo (founded by Kokan Nagayama, who features in part three of this book) for seven years beginning in 1979. He has been authorized by the Japanese government to restore swords that have been designated as National Treasures or Important Cultural Assets. He spent six years in the United Kingdom from 1986, where he worked for the British Museum, lectured at the monthly meetings of the Sword Society of Great Britain, and received a request from the British royal family to polish its sword collection. He is the translator of The Connoisseur'ss Book of Japanese Swords. Foreword • Preface • Notes to the Reader PART I BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND BASIC TERMINOLOGY • Map Showing Workshop Location of the Swordsmiths Interviewed in This Book • Historical Periods • Main Sword Categories • Awards in the NBTHK Sword Competition • Types of Swords• Parts of the Sword• Measuring the Japanese Sword • Types of Tsukurikomi (Sword Structures) • Types of Sori (Curvature) • Types of Kissaki • Types of Mune • Types of Shinogi • Determining a Sword'ss Period from the Sugata • Types of Nakagojiri • Types of Yasurime • Types of Mei • Types of Hi • Types of Horimono • Jigane and Jihada • Hataraki (Activity) in the Jihada • Nie and Nioi • Types of Hamon • Various Conditions in Parts of the Hamon • Hataraki (Activity) within the Hamon • Types of Boshi PART II VISITING SWORDSMITHS: SEEKING A NEW TREND IN JAPANESE SWORDS 1. Takehana Ikkansai Shigehisa Dialogue with Mishina Kenji (Sword Polisher) 2. Furukawa Kiyoyuki Dialogue with Minemura Takezo (Sword Polisher, Scabbard and Habaki Maker) 3. Ozawa Toshihisa Dialogue with Okonogi Takeshi (Sword Polisher) 4. Adachi Yoshiaki Dialogue with Takakura Toshiharu (Sword Polisher) 5. Matsuda Tsuguyasu Dialogue with Koide Tomoo (Iai Master) 6. Hiroki Hirokuni Dialogue with Ikeda Suematsu (Kantei Expert) 7. Okubo Kazuhira Dialogue with Saito Tsukasa (Sword Polisher) 8. Shinpo Motohira Dialogue with Hashimoto Masanao (Sword Polisher) 9. Enju Nobutsugu Dialogue with Sasaki Takushi (Sword Polisher) 10. Osaki Yasumune Dialogue with Kurihara Kenji (Iai Master) 11. Ito Shigemitsu Dialogue with Inoue Hiroshi (Sword Polisher) 12. Seto Yoshihiro 13. Enomoto Sadoyoshi, Tatsuyoshi, Sadahito 14. Yoshihara Yoshikazu 15. Fujiyasu Masahira 16. Ogawa Kanekuni (father) and Kanekuni (son) 17. Miyake Kunimatsu PART III PIONEERS OF GENDAITO: TRACING A NEW MOVEMENT • Amata Akitsugu (Living National Treasure Swordsmith) • Nagayama Kokan (Living National Treasure Sword Polisher) • Shibata Mitsuo (Most Influential Sword Dealer in Japan) Glossary • Index