Scott Goto The Perfect Sword

ISBN 13: 9781570916977

The Perfect Sword

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"Sensei Masa was a master swordsmith known throughout all of Japan."

Young Michio is apprenticed to the master swordsmith. He watches and learns not only the skills to make a fine sword, but also lessons in humility, hard work, and compassion, elements of Bushido, the samurai code of honor. When he and Sensei create a sword that rivals all others, warriors from around Japan come to claim ownership of it. But only one can be worthy.

Rich, symbolic art captures the Tokugawa period in ancient Japan. Includes an author's note about the history of Japanese samurai swords and a glossary of Japanese terms.

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About the Author:

Scott Goto's children's books include THE GREAT PANCAKE ESACPE (Walker) and WILL ROGERS, LARGER THAN LIFE (Walker). Scott lives in Honolulu, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu.

Review:

After forging a magnificent samurai sword, a Japanese swordsmith of the Tokugawa period seeks a worthy owner for it. Swordsmith Sensei Masa and his apprentice Michio spend days hammering, shaping, polishing and sharpening the blade. Sensei knows it will be difficult to find the right owner since many samurai are 'thugs and bullies who do not follow the Bushido.' When a strong, confident warrior tries to buy the sword, Sensei dismisses him as too cruel and arrogant. When wealthy Lord Toda argues he deserves the sword because he is noble, Sensei refuses him as too privileged. When a ronin dedicated to Kenjutsu argues the sword should be his, Sensei finds him too selfish. Many candidates are eliminated before Sensei finds the perfect samurai for his perfect sword. Dramatic oil illustrations emphasize samurai mannerisms, facial expressions and moves while the text captures the rhythms of the Japanese language. An attractive and informative introduction to sword-making in ancient Japan with insight into the samurai code of honor. --Kirkus Reviews

Master swordsmith Sensei Masa and his apprentice Michio work long and hard to create magnificent swords. When a new sword is finished, they must find a warrior worthy of it. A series of seemingly worthy men come to buy it, but Sensei finds them each too cruel, too privileged, or too selfish. While in the market one day, they see a brave young samurai disarm a thief without using his sword. They invite him to their home. When he reveals himself to be both honorable and constantly trying to be better, Sensei gives the humble but delighted youth the sword. Sensei and Michio then begin to work on another 'perfect sword.' Goto's oil paintings have an intensity that helps convey the Japanese spirit inherent in the sword/samurai relationship. The picture on the cover shows Sensei holding up a sword that seems to glow as Michio stares open-mouthed at it. The end pages depict the ritual followed during bathing and dressing, the title page shows master and apprentice bowing to each other in formal greeting, and the next page is a detailed picture of the workshop. The ceremonial basis of the craft, the clothing, and the architecture of the time are portrayed clearly. There is a wonderful five-part action illustration of the young samurai's conquest of the thief. Notes on sword making in ancient Japan and Goto's aims in writing the book are included, along with a glossary. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz --Children's Literature

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Goto, Scott
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