Art of the Japanese Sword: the Craft of Swordmaking and Its Appreciation
In "The Art of the Japanese Sword," master swordsmith Yoshindo Yoshihara offers a comprehensive view on the making, finishing and appreciation of Japanese blades. The Japanese sword, a unique work of art in steel, can be appreciated from a number of viewpoints. Its functionality as a weapon, the sophisticated metallurgy and scientific thinking utilized by the swordsmith, the shape of the blade itself, and the different crystalline forms in the steel all contribute to the beauty of these remarkable weapons. "The Art of the Japanese Sword" conveys to the reader a basic background regarding the Japanese sword, as well as an explanation of how to view and appreciate a blade. It also illustrates the details of how a sword is made and finished today. Modern craftsmen use completely traditional methods from the past to prepare their steel, forge the sword and create the unique hardened edge. By gaining a good understanding of how a sword is actually made, the reader will be able to appreciate the Japanese sword more fully.
"Though there can be no substitute for the study of Nihonto in person, [...] but for the lay person, a sword novice, or bladesmith without an understanding of the process, this book is the next best thing. The authors have set a standard for a glimpse into the world of Nihonto, associated arts and complexities of the craft." -SwordForum "This is a very nice publication with wonderful photographs that tantalize ones mind. A worthy addition to any library." -Jason Lee A. Hatcher, Founder, Katsujinken, a Sword Arts Journal "It doesn't matter if you are simply interested in the history and function of Japanese swords or a would-be smith yourself, you will find a vast amount of useful chapters in each of these chapters. All sections of this book are illustrated with high-quality color photos, with many full page in size. The authors state they feel a person needs to understand every facet of making a Japanese sword to fully appreciate the finished weapon. I know of few books on the subject that do a better job of meeting that goal." -Tactical Knives blog "The Art of the Japanese Sword is an extensive tour through the methods of sword creation, preservation, and appreciation. More than that, it is a celebration of the creativity and dedication of a culture in refining a tool of war into an implement of extreme philosophical and aesthetic beauty." -Ikigai Way blog "The Art of the Japanese Sword is a very thorough look at the history, making and appreciation of the Japanese sword and serves well both the connoisseur and the novice. This book is most definitely recommended to anyone with an interest in Japanese art and culture." -Diverse Japan blog "After reading it, I can say the authors accomplished what they set out to do. The book was thorough enough to be a resource, but it wasn't weighty." -Introvert Japan blog
Yoshindo Yoshihara is a third-generation swordsmith. His grandfather Kuniie began making swords in 1933 in Tokyo and was ranked among the top swordsmiths in Japan during his career. Yoshindo lives and works in Tokyo with his son, who represents the fourth generation of swordsmiths in the family. Yoshindo, who is always training young swordsmiths and currently has five apprentices working with him, has been named an Important Cultural Property of the city and prefecture of Tokyo, and is a mukansa (top-ranked swordsmith) in Japan.Leon Kapp, a molecular biologist, lives with his wife Hiroko in San Rafael, California. He has been seriously interested in Japanese swords for over twenty-five years, and has spent a great deal of time learning about them from Yoshindo.Hiroko Kapp is a writer for Senken Shimbun News of Tokyo and writes about fashion and the fashion industry in the US. She graduated from Musashi-no Art University in Tokyo. For twenty-five years, she was active in the apparel business and designed scarves for her own line in the US.