History of the Japanese sword in relation to Japanese historical periods

In order to modernize the nation, Meiji Tenno needed to delete the ancient classes and establish more a modern system. The Samurai were deprived of their old privileges - including the right to carry the daisho. Nonetheless, Meiji Tenno can be considered a Nihonto lover and he took many steps to preserve the ancient traditions in this art. His political actions were a mere necessity for changing times.

With no market for swords, most smiths had to find some other source of income, departing from the production of blades. A lot of knowledge was lost at this time, as had already happened before. While the growing militaristic colonial wars once again made swords necessary, most of these were mass-produced in factories, and so can't be considered Nihonto.The period from 1895 to 1925 was a harsh one for the Japanese sword, and most of the tatara (tamahagane furnaces)were lost, as well as traditions and schools. With a strong army at power and the pushing of national proudness, Japan in the 1930s saw a brief rebirth of traditional sword manufacturing, and the Yasukuni Jinja Tatara is surely the best of this period. The best swords made in this period are from Yasukuni, and the school produced some good smiths. All of the "Yasukuni smiths" have their name beginning with the "Yasu" Kanji.


 


JAPANESE SWORD SOCIETY OF HAWAII 2011