Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Japanese Sword: A Comprehensive Guide by Kanzan Sato.

The Japanese Sword: A Comprehensive Guide by Kanzan Sato.  Hardcover book published by Kodansha 1983, 210 pages with colour and black and white photographs as well as some colour and black and white illustrations.

“The Japanese sword combines unbreakability, rigidity, and lethal cutting power, and it is in the resolution of these conflicting practical requirements that it emerges as a triumph of the forger’s art. The mystique of the sword lingers on in our age of mechanized combat, but the aesthetic qualities for which swords are most valued by collectors today—the liveliness of the metal “skin,” the confidence in every aspect of the design, the scrolling temper-line, the almost buoyant lightness of the hilt when the blade is held in the hand— all derive from what the Japanese sword demanded as a symbol of strength and as a weapon. As an instrument of clear persuasion, no other blade anywhere has ever been its equal. This volume, containing color and black-and-white plates, has been prepared as an introduction to the history and appreciation of the Japanese sword. Its author, until his death in 1978, was one of Japan’s foremost sword experts, and his wide knowledge is here brought to bear on every aspect of sword lore, including forging techniques and problems of appraisal.”

There are no Japanese swords here at Huc & Gabet… actually, there are no swords of any sort from anywhere here at Huc & Gabet.  Would I ever conceivably own a sword?  Probably not.  But there are those, indeed many of those, who do or would.  I personally don’t know anyone who does, although my nephew has a collection of bayonets which I guess is sort of like a sword but on a gun… or is it more like a knife?  Anyway, I don’t know anyone with a sword fetish.

This was no stab in the dark purchase.  A book like this is a definitely a cut above the rest and definitely a book of interest.  There are lovely photographs and illustrations throughout and the text is passionate and authoritive.  I guess it’s designed to give you the edge in regards to Japanese Swords and I found it quite easy to swallow the idea of a Sword book being popular enough for me to purchase it.  Bad puns aside, this is a beautiful book and one that shouldn’t be too hard sell.

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