The Japanese sword … prized as much for its exceptional beauty as for it’s deadly cutting ability. It has endured for a thousand years as the pinnacle of Japanese culture. Now you can enter a world rarely seen by outsiders. To experience the true story of the Art of the Samurai Sword. A story told in the swordsmiths own words that separate the myth from the fact. Follow the swordsmiths dream of creating a masterpiece. From the quest to making an ancient steel to forging a blade equal to those of the Kamakura, a medieval period that produced the greatest swords in history. For the martial artist the Japanese sword is a precise cutting weapon and symbol of the Samurai. For the collector, it is an art form whose beauty is derived from its deadly function to cut. As our story of the Japanese sword unfolds, we bring together all the artists and craftsmen whose skills turn it into both a modern work of art and a window into the past. Produced in association with Paul Martin, a leading Japanese sword expert and filmed throughout Japan with the very best swordsmiths and craftsmen who are the absolute masters of their art … the art of the Japanese sword. Packed with never before seen footage, filmmmaker Jon Braeley was given unrestricted access to film inside the forges, workshops and Shinto shrines and museums. Featuring Japan’s top swordsmiths: Kawachi Kunihira, Matsuda Tsuguyasu and Manabe Sumihira and many more.
It is a fascinating journey that starts with swordsmith Manabe who makes his own steel from an ancient recipe dating back to the 13th century. In this unusually detailed look into the making of the Japanese sword, this documentary “lifts the lid” and exposes dramatic footage of the forging methods, the folding, the clay coating and more. Going beyond films before it, Art of the Japanese Sword showcases the polishers, scabbard and metal fitting makers as well the handle wrapping … the most comprehensive movie ever made on the Japanese sword.
Often referred to as the Samurai sword, we enter the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu – the oldest martial arts dojo in Japan, where traditional sword fighting techniques of the Samurai are still taught. The schools instructor and top martial arts master and sword expert is Otake Risuke who grants a very rare interview to talk about this most ancient symbol of Japanese culture.
Art of the Japanese Sword is a truly unique exploration of one of the worlds most beautiful yet deadly cutting edge weapon. The following is a small sample of the chapters or scenes:
Making the Steel: Follow swordsmith Manabe Sumihira as he makes his own steel from an ancient recipe.
Forging the Steel: One of Japan’s top swordsmith’s, Kawachi Kunihira at work folding and forging the steel.
Martial Arts: Enter the Katori Shinto Ryu, Japan’s oldest traditional school of classic sword fighting, Koryu Bujutsu.
Forging the Blade: Swordsmith Matsuda Tsuguyasu shapes and tempers the blank (sunobe) blade.
Shinto and the Sword: The spiritual practice of Shinto has a long deep connection to the Japanese Sword.
Polishing: Follow polishers Matsumura Sotaro and Morii Tetsutaro as they slowly bring the beauty of the blade alive.
Handle Making: Watch a master craftman at work as Iiyama Kensen wraps the handle in rayskin and silk-cord.