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  #21  
Old 02-20-2007, 11:40 AM
Arakawa Nobuaki Arakawa Nobuaki is offline
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Default Re: Interesting Bit of Japanese sword making.

No selfrespecting smith would ever sell a sword before it's finished.

A decent sword takes about 3 to 4 weeks to make (forging and polishing included). So yes, they are limited, of course, it's not a production line -as it's used in producing cars- we're talking about. It's handmade, it's high quality. A machine could never reproduce it. It's years and years of experience, for example, when it's the right time to pull the sword out of the fire when tempering the blade (compare this to a sushi cook apprentice in Japan who does nothing else but cleaning the knives in his first year; potter apprentices spent a year pounding the clay, even today, until they have the right technique).

Smiths only dress in the old clothing (including the eboshi) at special occasions. During their normal workdays they wear clothes useful for work. The traditional clothing would just hinder you in everyday work. None of the smiths or polishers from where I bought mine were running around in kimono and eboshi.

Masamune, well, we can argue about him being the god of sword making. Muramasa is extremely famous, too, mainly because it's said that his swords brought bad luck to the Tokugawa. "A Muramasa blade always has something evil about it, and once it leaves its scabbard, it never returns to it with out first seeing blood."

That said, don't believe everything that's said on Discovery Channel. I've seen documentaries on respectable tv stations, where they brought up the strangest claims (for example, I once saw that yabusame is not done by many not because it takes an awful lot of skill as rider and archer, but because there is not enough space in Japan and because of this it's only for the super rich people).
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  #22  
Old 02-20-2007, 11:52 PM
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Default Re: Interesting Bit of Japanese sword making.

indeedy and im sure they have practicle clothes but when forging i have the beleif they cling to tradition in that respect as the traditional clothes worn while sword making were practicle and i never said they sell it before its finished if the smith is displeased with the work it is disregarded entirely, also have any links on muramasa? also aint it strange how like final fantasy and such name their most powerful weapons after masamune and muramasa? meh
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  #23  
Old 02-21-2007, 01:27 AM
Arakawa Nobuaki Arakawa Nobuaki is offline
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Default Re: Interesting Bit of Japanese sword making.

It's not really a surprise. I mean, in how many anime and manga does Tokugawa Ieyasu pop up? Hattori Hanzo? Yoshitsune? Saru?

For comparison: In how many western books or movies do we see knights? Robin Hood? Napoleon? Musketeers anyone? Vikings? Pirates?

Kimono and eboshi have nothing to do with respect to the traditional clothes that were once practical. They never wear practical for this kind of work. No smith would work dressed like that for long, except on special occasions (like when several smiths work on one single sword for a special event). Japanese smiths know that. They didn't even wear this stuff during everyday work during the feudal times. Even there the normal kimono and the eboshi were worn only for special events (the eboshi is a ceremonial cap, hardly useful for anything outside of ceremonies). Such clothes aren't useful for everyday work and far too easy to damage (heat, ashes, etc). Apart from that... it's too hot and dirty for working with kimono and eboshi at a forge (anyone who ever worked in a forge of any remote size knows what kind of heat and dirt exist there). Besides, an eboshi is not really a good tool to prevent sweat from dropping into your eyes.


Here we see smiths dressed in kimono and hakama with eboshi. They have tied their sleeves up, otherwise those would hinder them. However, they're not working in this outfit. The photo's title is: "Swordsmiths Shoda Masafusa, Asano Kanesane, Kanefusa, Kato Takao at the 1965 Dai Ichi Fuigo ceremony lighting the first fire of the year in the forge."


Eboshi, sleeved kimono, ceremonial work.


Kimono and again the eboshi. Ceremonial clothes, not everyday work clothes.


More ceremonial work, note the sandals and the completely clean white kimono and hakama. It wouldn't stay white like this in everyday work, trust me.

In comparison:





Smiths at everyday work. No sleeved kimono, no eboshi.

And more comparison:


A western swordsmith, practical clothes.
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Old 06-05-2009, 09:32 AM
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Default Re: Interesting Bit of Japanese sword making.

Did you know they also but a type of acid-powder between layers. This removes the oxygen and prevents internal rusting.
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Old 06-05-2009, 02:18 PM
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Default Re: Interesting Bit of Japanese sword making.

You know this thread is 2 years old right
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Old 06-05-2009, 05:18 PM
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Default Re: Interesting Bit of Japanese sword making.

Yeah. Just thought I'd throw in my knowledge in case someone goes looking for it.
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Old 06-05-2009, 05:34 PM
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Default Re: Interesting Bit of Japanese sword making.

Necro-posts are generally welcome when NEW and thought-provoking, discussion-encouraging material is brought to the table. The metaphorical table, since there isn't actually a... ahem.

I think I recall something about the acidic powder between layers, but I can't remember where I read that, so I am unable to validate the statement.

Was this a Japanese standard, or did any other cultures make use of the technique?
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Old 06-05-2009, 05:54 PM
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Default Re: Interesting Bit of Japanese sword making.

I saw it on the History channel "The Samurai" a few days ago. Not to my knowledge, but then I also don't know if any other cultures used folded steel blades. I might look it up...

Ahah! Folded steel weapons were earliest found in Germany, estimated to be from the 8th Century BCE. I'm not sure if they employed the use of the acids though.
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