This volume is an invaluable resource for both new enthusiasts and experienced collectors of traditionally forged Japanese blades-whether long swords, short swords, or daggers. Nobuo Nakahara takes a rational and discriminating approach to sword appreciation, closely examining long-held ideas and reevaluating them from a historical and functional perspective. His clear explanations and frank opinions will enable readers to evaluate the condition of a blade, determine whether it is "healthy" or problematic, and easily recognize the fundamental elements that characterize works of enduring value.
Nakahara covers a broad range of information, including

  • A summary of the historical development of blade shapes
  • Detailed explanations of the different parts of a blade from tip to tang
  • A look at the effects of polishing
  • Instructions for sword maintenance and appreciation
  • Points to consider when buying a sword
  • Detailed explanations of blade grooves and engravings
  • An in-depth discussion of suriage, the shortening of the blade-an area that is rarely given attention even though it is one of the most important aspects of sword appreciation
  • A thorough overview of inscriptions, covering those carved by the smith who created the blade as well as alterations and attributions added later

Nakahara’s comprehensive descriptions, along with approximately 300 photos and drawings, make Facts and Fundamentals of Japanese Swords an immensely practical and relevant guide not only for serious collectors, but for anyone who enjoys or wishes to learn more about these classic works of art.

About the Author

Nobuo Nakahara
Japanese Sword Researcher and Lecturer Born in Nara, Japan, in 1951, Nakahara graduated from Doushisha University, Kyoto, in 1974. He became an apprentice of Kosuke Murakami, a Japanese swo
rd specialist and editor of Touen magazine. In December 1978, following his teacher’s death,
Nakahara became an independent sword researcher. He published the bi-monthly Japanese Sword Journal from February 1979 to December 1998, and began lecturing at Japanese sword research associations all over Japan. In 2001, he published the reference bookKatana of Oita Prefecture in Japanese, followed byKatana no Kanshoin 2005, upon which the present book is based. In 2009, he edited and published Hon’ami-ke no Hitobito (The Hon’ami family down through the generations), about the renowned family of sword polishers and connoisseurs who at one time served the Tokugawa shoguns.

About the Translator

Paul Martin
Japanese Sword Researcher and Curator
Martin, a former member of the Department of Japanese Antiquities at the British Museum, London, is the editor of the Nihonto Journal. His other translations include the Hayashibara Museum’s catalog Ono Yoshimitsu’s World of Juka-Choji and the All-Japan Swordsmith Association DVD, The Spirit and Ancient Techniques of the Japanese Sword. He has also worked for and provided translations for the Japanese Sword Museum (NBTHK). Martin has organized exhibitions and lectured on Japanese swords in Europe and the United States and appeared in several documentaries on the Japanese sword for the Discovery Channel and the History Channel.

Additional information

Weight 2.2 lbs