The Craft of the Japanese Sword

ISBN 10: 087011798X / ISBN 13: 9780870117985
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Synopsis: 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 startling 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.

About the Author:
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.

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Title: The Craft of the Japanese Sword
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Kapp, Leon; Kapp, Hiroko; Yoshihara, Yoshindo
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Book Description Kodansha International, 1987. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good Plus. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. 7th printing. No ownership markings; unclipped dust jacket; light wear. Bookseller Inventory # 008598

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Book Description Kodansha USA, U.S.A., 1987. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. edge wear, slight bit of creasing to dust jacket. small discoloration spot on upper edge of front board near spine. text is unmarked. binding tight. Bookseller Inventory # 4421300

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Kapp, Leon; Kapp, Hiroko; Yoshihara, Yoshindo
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Book Description Kodansha USA, 1987. Hardcover. Book Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good. Book. Bookseller Inventory # 020996

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Kapp, Leon; Kapp, Hiroko; Yoshihara, Yoshindo
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Book Description Kodansha USA, U.S.A., 1987. Hard Cover. Book Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. First Edition - Later Printing. "The first book in English devoted entirely to contemporary sword manufacture." 167 pages with numerous b&w photos by Tom Kishida. Clean and bright throughout. Securely bound. Barking Dog Books and Art LLC has been an independent bookseller online since 2002. Orders are processed promptly, carefully packed, and shipped with delivery confirmation. Size: 4to - over 9¾" - 12" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 010265

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Leon and Hiroko Kapp and Yoshindo Yoshiharqa
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Book Description Kodansha International Ltd., 1987. Hardcover. Book Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. First Edition. This is a Larger Gray cloth Japanese Sword hardback book in Near Fine condition with a Near Fine jacket. c1987, First Edition (Stated). It is a solid and square book! This book is in very nice condition both inside and out, with a very bright and clean cover. The edges are all very good. (There is just a touch of bottom edge wear). The pages are tight, bright & umarked. No names. The jacket, with price, is very bright and clean with nice edges (Very Light top edge wrinkle) and only a little shelf wear. No black Remainder Marks. Many Illustrations. 167 pages. Bookseller Inventory # 014376

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Book Description Book Condition: Good. The Craft of the Japanese Sword. Bookseller Inventory # SKU0371869

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Kapp, Leon & Hiroko & Yoshindo Yoshihara
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Book Description Kodansha International, c.2000, 2000. hardcover, Book Condition: fair, Kodansha International, Tokyo, c.2000, 14th.prtg., (orig.c.1987), 7-1/2"x10-1/2", cloth, 167pp., owner's name, VG+/VG+ $. Bookseller Inventory # 75134

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