Posts in: 4月, 2015

    2015/4/28
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Step 2) Sword making

Tanren / tempering

The iron pieces, still piled onto spatula, are then heated in the fire. The iron is repeatedly heated and pounded until the desired degree of steel is obtained. This process determines the quality of iron. pounded with the help of lye  (an alkaline solution, often used for washing or cleansing), the iron becomes purer and stronger, turning to steel.

tempering

Shingane & Hi-zukuri / forming

Two separate pieces of the finished steel are fitted together to form the core and skin of the sword. Repeated pounding molds the steel into a bar which the master then shapes into a rough blade with a special shaver and fields .

 

Tsuchioki & Yaki-ire / shaping

A coating of clay is applied to the blade. Read More

    2015/4/23
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tamahagane

Step 1) Tamahagane / raw material iron making

Today, about 80 Japanese sword smiths exist. These masters of their craft continue to make swords in the traditional way. All masters purchase a special iron of superior quality called tamahagane from the western city of Izumo, in Shimane Prefecture, which is the only place that still produces the raw materials necessary for swords. (Actually Izumo is called “home of gods” where all 8million gods in Japan gather here during October.) Custom does not permit the material in question to be imported. The Ministry of Culture defines as a Japanese sword only thos blades made of this special raw material. The tamahagane is made by smelting sand-iron and charcoal together in a traditional clay Read More

    2015/4/13
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IMG_4801

The sword became the symbol of the samurai code and even acquired further spiritual qualities. The shape of the sword and its making process have been improved and developed, especially during the period 900 to 1530 AD, when many small fiefdoms existed within Japan. Battles often happened and the sword was considered auseful weapon. Notably, however, it was during the peaceful Edo period that the shape and spirit of the sword was refined and connected with the sense of minimalist beauty embodied by bushido, explained in another post.

Ieyasu Tokugawa united the nation and started a new government system in 1603 which was the beginning of the Edo period. Through the era, a strict class system existed and the samurai were allowed Read More

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Samurai-Armor-300x218

What do you imagine when you hear the word katana or “Japanese sword”? Japanese anime, such as Naruto, or the samurai killing each other of Takeshi Kitano movies? Well, in Japan, katana are offered to the gods because of their spiritual characteristics. People believed katana have three significant characteristics: purity, rarity, and value. The Japanese myths tell us about the three secret treasures of Japan and katana are one of them, followed by the secret mirror and the comma-shaped beads. The first offering made to the gods was recorded in 3 B.C.

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