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The Connoisseur's Book of Japanese Swords


Author :  Kokan Nagayama

Language :English





Publisher's presentation

A comprehensive guide to the appreciation and appraisal of Japanese swords, complete with historical background, terms and the workmanship of the foremost schools and smiths. Recently Japanese swords have gained enormous popularity as art objects with collectors and enthusiasts around the world, but until now much of the most detailed information on the subject has been availability only in Japanese. This comprehensive guide to the appreciation and appraisal of the blades of Japanese swords provides, at last, all the background that readers need to become true

  • hardcover

  • Publisher : Kodansha America, Inc (March 2, 1998)

  • Language : English

  • ASIN: B01BI2OW84

Modern Japanese Swords and Swordsmiths: From 1868 to the Present

Author:  Leon Kapp

Language :English


Publisher's presentation

The lineage of the Japanese sword can be traced back over a thousand years, and throughout its long history the sword has emerged as one of Japan's most durable cultural assets. Part of its mythical appeal lies in the unique harmony of its historical roles as deadly hand-held weapon, embodiment of the samurai spirit, and powerful symbol of warfare. The types of sword that have been made, their forging methods, and the styles of blade have been influenced by historical events and shaped by developments in the means of combat, giving rise to five distinct periods and a

Authors biography

LEON KAPP is a cell and molecular biologist working in the San Francisco Bay area. He has spent a considerable amount of time studying Japanese swords with the swordsmith Yoshindo Yoshihara. HIROKO KAPP is a correspondent for the Tokyo-based Senken Shinbun news organization. The Kapps live in San Rafael, California.

YOSHINDO YOSHIHARA is a swordsmith who is ranked among the top sword craftsmen in Japan. His family has been making tools and swords for several generations, and his son is also a swordsmith who now works with him in Tokyo. The Kapps and Yoshindo are the authors of The Craft of the Japanese Sword, which describes how a Japanese sword is made and finished.

TOM KISHIDA is a professional photographer living and working in Tokyo. He worked with the authors on their last book, and he has been photographing swordsmiths and their work for more than twenty years. His acclaimed Japanese-language book, Yasukuni Tosho, is widely recognized as the definitive study of Yasukuni smiths.

  • Hardcover: 226 pages

  • Publisher : Kodansha America, Inc (July 3, 2013)

  • Language : English

  • ISBN-10: 1568365195

  • ISBN-13: 978-1568365190

The Art of Japanese Sword Polishing


Author :Setsuo Takaiwa

Language :English

Publisher's presentation

To understand Japanese sword polishing is to understand the Japanese sword. Down through the years, the great sword connoisseurs in Japan have been sword polishers. A swordsmith can spend a large amount of time forging a classic sword, but refining and bringing out its final shape, color, and texture so that all the details of the steel and Hamon (the temper line) are clearly visible is the responsibility of another craftsman-the sword polisher. An experienced polisher can tell immediately by whom a blade was made, so distinctive is each smith's work and so vital is such knowledge to the skilled polisher.

The Art of Japanese Sword Polishing is the first book in English to examine in great detail the polisher's techniques-skills it often takes up to ten years of apprenticeship to master. It illustrates the methods, materials, and tools used for this process. But the book's true aim is to enable the reader to fully appreciate the beauty of a well-crafted Japanese sword. As readers learn both how the sword polisher enhances the beauty of the blade and how he handles the problems of coaxing out its finest qualities through polishing techniques, they will come to a deeper understanding of the fine art of making the Japanese sword and will be able to purchase or collect swords with greater pleasure.

Authors biography

SETSUO TAKAIWA is one of Japan's top sword polishers and is called upon by museums around the world, from Boston's Museum of Fine Arts to the British Museum, to help maintain their historic sword collections.

YOSHINDO YOSHIHARA is ranked among the top swordsmiths in Japan. His family has been making tools and swords for several generations.

LEON and HIROKO KAPP have studied Japanese swords for decades and are co-authors, with Yoshindo, of The Craft of the Japanese Sword and Modern Japanese Swords and Swordsmiths. The Kapps live in San Rafael, California. Yoshindo Yoshihara and Leon Kapp frequently lecture and give demonstrations in the United States.

  • Hardcover: 192 pages

  • Publisher : Kodansha America, Inc (July 1, 2013)

  • Language : English

  • ISBN-10: 1568365187

  • ISBN-13: 978-1568365183

The Craft of the Japanese Sword

Author : Leon Kapp

Language :English

Publisher's presentation

Well over a thousand years old, the tradition of swordmaking in Japan is one of the most highly regarded metal crafts in the world. When all sword manufacture was prohibited in Japan for seven years after World War II, the age-old techniques were in danger of being lost forever. Today, in the hands of a new generation of practitioners, the craft is making a starting comeback. Connoisseurs say that the swords being produced now are the equal of anything made in Japan in the past few hundred years.

This book takes the reader into the workshops of four of Japan's leading sword craftsmen. Each craftsman has a different role in the manufacture of a blade. Yoshindo Yoshihara, the swordsmith, begins with raw steel made in a traditional charcoal-fueled smelter and refines it by folding and forging, gradually shaping it into a sword with a hardened edge. Okisato Fujishiro then sharpens and polishes the sword with fine stones to reveal the color and texture of the steel. Metalworker Hiroshi Miyajima makes the small copper-and-gold habaki collar that fits between the blade and the scabbard. Finally, Kazuyuki Takayama carves the hilt and the scabbard out of a single piece of wood. Black-and-white photographs show every stage of the manufacture, while important information on history, metallurgy, and modern-day appraisal is presented in an extensive introduction.

The swords made in Japan today are not, of course, intended for actual use. But their design, the quality of their steel, and the techniques used to create them still derive from the sword's historical function as a lethal hand-held weapon. A sword must be razor sharp, light, well balanced, and strong, but not so brittle it will break. In the perfect resolution of these qualities lie the beauty of the blade and the challenge of the craft.

This book demonstrates how brilliantly Japan's sword craftsmen today have met this technological challenge. The impulse of the craft now is to preserve the utilitarian object and yet create an enduring art for the modern age. While many fine books on sword appreciation exist, these deal primarily with older blades or problems of appraisal. The Craft of the Japanese Sword is the first book in English devoted entirely to contemporary sword manufacture, and will thus be of enormous value to metal artists everywhere, as well as to collectors and students of weaponry.

Authors biography


LEON KAPP is a molecular biologist at the University of California in San Francisco. He has studied swordmaking in Japan at the forge of the swordsmith Yoshindo Yoshihara.

HIROKO KAPP was active as a graphic artist in Tokyo for ten years and is now a correspondent for the Tokyo-based Senken news organization. The Kapps live in San Rafael, California.

YOSHINDO YOSHIHARA is a tenth-generation swordsmith who is ranked among the top sword craftsmen in Japan today. He began forging blades at the age of twelve and has exhibited several times in the United States. His son is currently working with him and will become the eleventh generation of the family to carry on the tradition.

  • Hardcover: 168 pages

  • Publisher : Kodansha America, Inc; Edition : 2nd edition (November 2, 2012)

  • Language : English

  • ISBN-10: 1568364318

  • ISBN-13: 978-1568364315

Exceptional Japanese Swords

Author : Leon Kapp

Language :French




Publisher's presentation

This wonderfully illustrated large-format book covers in detail the complex Japanese sword-making process – forging, quenching, polishing... – and is sure to lay the foundation for a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of Japanese swordsmanship.

Author biographyr

Yoshindo Yoshihara belongs to the third generation of swordsmiths. Kuniie, his grandfather, who started in Tokyo in 1933, was considered one of the best during his career. Constantly surrounded by young apprentices, our friend Yoshindo Yoshihara lives in Tokyo with his son, who represents the fourth generation. Yoshindo is a mu-kansa (outstanding swordsmith) and has been awarded the title of "Living Treasure of Tokyo City and Prefecture". Leon Kapp is a scientist, specialist in molecular biology. He lives with his wife Hiroko in San Rafael (California). He has been passionate about Japanese swords for over twenty-five years and spent a lot of time discovering all the secrets of the weapon and its manufacture with Yoshindo Yoshihara. Hiroko Kapp is a fashion specialist in the United States, who collaborates with the Senken Shimbun News in Tokyo after studying at Musashino University in Tokyo. For twenty-five years, she specialized in ornaments and designed scarves for her own house created in the United States. Hiroko and Leon Kapp have already written three works devoted to Japanese swords with Yoshindo Yoshihara.

  • Hardcover: 255 pages

  • Editor : Nuinui (8 October 2015)

  • Language : French

  • ISBN-10: 2889355373

  • ISBN-13: 978-2889355372

The Katana: The Samurai Sword

Author : Gilles Bongrain

Language :French




Publisher's presentation

The katana has become the symbol of the samurai, however, beyond the myth, it represents the most effective cutting weapon, but also a work of art. His name is known to everyone, but beyond that, he often remains unrecognized as soon as we delve into the subject. The history, anatomy and terminology of the Katana are successively presented. In a third part, the author has tried to answer all the questions that one may be likely to ask as a collector or practitioner of martial arts. Finally, the last part deals exhaustively with the manufacture of the katana, from the extraction of the ore to the final tests of the blade.



  • Hardcover: 181 pages

  • Publisher : Editions Crépin-Leblond (August 1, 2004)

  • Language : French

  • ISBN-10: 270300236X

  • ISBN-13: 978-2703002369

katana G Bongrain.jpg

The katana 2 or the Samurai combat sword

Author : Gilles Bongrain

Language :French




Publisher's presentation

Few bladed weapons have developed a reputation for efficiency, but also a mystical aura equivalent to those of the katana. Object of art, high technology or even quasi-religious symbol, it also represents one of the most formidable combat instruments in history, both in terms of its design, its qualities, but also the highly evolved fencing that has been developed there. attached for many centuries. My first book devoted to the katana, published in 2003, aimed to present this Japanese sword on a historical, technological and artistic level, for lack of space, the question of combat was then only just mentioned.

Authors biography

Gilles Bongrain, specialist in edged weapons and art cutlery, has collaborated for 20 years in numerous magazines such as: "La gazette desarmes", "Uniforme", "Action Gun", "Cibles", "Excalibur" and "Medieval History". He is the author of "Damascus", "Couteaux d'arts" and "Katana".



  • Hardcover: 224 pages

  • Publisher : Crépin-Leblond Editions (September 3, 2013)

  • Language : French

  • ISBN-10: 2703003765

  • ISBN-13: 978-2703003762

katana 2 G Bongrain.jpg


The Sword and the Divine, Spiritual Legacy of Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu

Author :Risuke Otake 

Language :English​


Publisher's presentation

The Tenshin Shoden Katori Shintô Ryû school is undoubtedly the most traditional Japanese fencing school. Created in the 13th century, this school draws on the warlike knowledge of the Japanese Middle Ages to teach it the art of combat. She is associated with a Shinto spiritual path, that of the Shinto temple of Katori from which she takes her name and to which she is particularly faithful.

It is also the school that most influenced modern Budo, starting with the famous Aikido group.

This work presents the entirety of the esoteric martial education and the handling of traditional weapons of the Samurai:

• The sword: The art of drawing it (Iai jutsu) and its combat techniques (Ken jutsu).
• The short sword: Its individual use (Kodachi) or in association with the long sword (Ryoto jutsu).
• The long stick: Stick technique (Bo jutsu) against the sword;
• The halberd: Learn how to handle this formidable battlefield weapon (Naginata jutsu).
• The spear: Mastery of a large-scale weapon offering real combat effectiveness (So jutsu).



  • Hardcover: 445 pages

  • Publisher: Budo Editions (2002)

  • Language : French

  • ISBN-10: 2846170037

  • ISBN-13: 978-2846170031

Japanese fencing practice:  Seitei toho batto do  _cc781905-5c de-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d__cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b -136bad5cf58d_


Author :Serge Degore_cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d 6bad5cf58d_

Language :French


Publisher's presentation

Aimed at all practitioners of Japanese martial arts (Kendoka, Aikidoka, Karateka, Judoka...), this book presents a little-known aspect of Katana fencing, Batto do, that is to say the cut with the Japanese sword.

From the medieval tradition, the Seitei toho batto do, fruit of the research of several great Japanese Masters, including Kato Shinji Sensei, Hanshi 9th dan, is the essential complement to a serious study of the art of the sword in all its aspects. With this book, the whole of the school is presented in its smallest details (Technical, strategic and philosophical), offering a basis for discovery and improvement for all Japanese fencing enthusiasts. Each technique is illustrated by numerous photos accompanied by a clear and precise text. In total, more than 720 volt illustrations will introduce you to this impressive and rigorous martial art.

Serge Degore, a martial arts practitioner from the French language, is also a specialist in Japanese weapons. Co-founder of the Japanese Fencing School, he has been studying for several years under the direction of Bernard Durand and Kato Shinji Sensei.

  • Hardcover: 159 pages

  • Publisher: Chiron (2000)

  • Language : French

  • ISBN-10: 2702710123

  • ISBN-13: 978-2702710128

​Official Book of Seite Iaido ZNKR / AJKF (With pictures)

Author :ZNKR / AJKF

Language :Japanese​











Seitei Iaido book, in Japanese, all the Kata, the Reiho, how to fold your Hakama, very well illustrated (Many photo plates), 194 pages.

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