Books on Sword Appreciation


Meik Skoss, Japan

Interesting news for all you sword freaks!

A friend of mine teaching at BuDai (IBU), just gave me a really nice book on a number of contemporary Japanese swordsmiths. Though the text is in Japanese, the copy I was given has an English translation (the translation, for once, isn't too bad). If you'd a copy of the book, or are interested in the work of the smiths listed therein, fax Mr. Kenji Mishina at: +81-422-71-1940. You can also write to him at this address:

c/o Manabe

7-3-8 Mure

Mitaka-shi, Tokyo-to

Japan 181

The title is Gendai Nipponto no seika: inishie no bifu ni idomu. It's softbound and measures about 26x37.5 cm. The book includes the smiths' names, addresses, histories of their work, explanations-cum-descriptions of the man's work, and several photos of a representative blade. The book is a very nice presentation and is not outrageously expensive as a lot of sword books are. The last time I checked out the bookstores in Kanda, really good books on swords, with photos, descriptions, etc. all cost between 10,000 and 50,000 yen a pop. A bit dear. The great thing about this book, I think, is all the contact information. If you want to get a new blade, made in a certain style, these are the guys to see. Support them, support the art.

Incidentally, Mr. Mishina says that the translation he did of his teacher's book on sword appraisal, token kantei, will be made available in larger bookstores this week here in Japan. It's a *very* thorough work, covering smiths of all periods and parts of the country, and I am sure it will be well worth the price. Kodansha International is the company publishing the book, part of their excellent series on martial arts. I think that this should also be part of every budo bunny's library.

Page last updated February 25, 1998 by Kim Taylor