In the ancient times, a Japanese sword was more than a weapon for a samurai warrior. It was the symbol of “the soul of bushi.” Therefore, to keep a sword always sharp, polished and serene represented the bushi’s heart and pride. A bushi warrior sat in front of his sword and silently asked for a teaching when he was in doubt or in trouble. Today Japanese swords are loved by a lot of people all over the world as works of art. The name “Japanese sword” can be seen an old record in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) in China, and it is said that Japanese swords were already exported to foreign countries as early as in the Heian to Kamakura periods. Akitsugu Amata (1927-), a contemporary master swordsmith in Niigata Pref. was designated as the holder of National Important Intangible Cultural Property (Living National Treasure) in 1997. He was fascinated by fine swords made in the Kamakura period and since then he has been making efforts to realize his goal of duplicating the ancient steel to create an excellent sword. He has visited the ruins of ancient iron mills and made several experiments to make iron with the duplicated blast furnaces. He is still making persistent efforts to create his ideal sword.
- Japanese Swords by Akitsugu Amata