Reviews - What do customers think about Katana: The Book of Japanese Blades?
It's a coffee table book. Aug 13, 2008
I actually had the opportunity to see this book at my local Borders before I found it here, so I knew what it was before getting it. It's a coffee table book, nothing more. If you are looking at sources of ancient Katanas or forging methods of sword making, this is defiantly not the book for you. However if your looking for something to sit on your coffee table and look pretty, maybe peek the interest of your guest, and get into a discussion on either martial arts, Bushido, or Japanese culture, it works as well as any other.
Better books out there... Mar 17, 2008
First, the Good: I found this book to have some very nice photographs, and information I did not expect - mainly in the custom knife making world of japanese blades. I always like at well made blades and the fact that the traditional swords are all modern does not bother me.
Neutral: This is definitely a "catalog", even has sample pricing.
The Bad: The translations really stink. The thing about Nihonto terminology is that there is no reason to translate. Here's a quote: "The blade is made from tamahagane steel with a ridgeline and single trough giving it an imposing air. I has a wood-grained temper pattern with islands of bright crystals and beautiful dark lines. The temper pattern on the blade's edge is cloudlike with irregular undulating waves. There are also many fine crystals and golden line activity in it."
The above should have gone something like: "The blade is made from tamahagane in shinogi zukuri with hi. The hada is itame with ji-nie and chikei. The hamon is notare in nioi with kinsuji and ko-nie." The problem with the translation is who knows what they are talking about? The Japanese terms are quite specific, while the english translations are not. So although I would have retranslated the text to what I have written, I have no idea if I am correct. Unfortunately, although the pics are nice, they aren't good enough to lllustrate that kind of minutiae.
Also, many of the translations are practically identical, almost like they cut and pasted each entry.
Conclusions: You could probably do without this one if you are a student of Nihonto. I did find the custom knife half of the book interesting. Decent photography overall, however almost useless translations.
katana book Feb 8, 2008
This book is more like an auction catalog. It even includes a price list. The book is not all about katana. It list photos of newly made modern type hunting knives. Do not expect to learn much about swords.
Not what it appears to be. Dec 7, 2007
I have to agree with the other reviewers about this book. This is an auction/sale catalog for Munemasa Cutlery. It describes modern Japanese blades made by modern swordsmiths. Granted, some of these swordsmiths are National Living Treasures in Japan, but this is not a book about old samurai swords. If you want a knife catalog, serious knife collectors know *.*. ****** of ****, ** has just as many good japanese blades with much better prices. Finally, if this catalog was aimed at the english-speaking market, it should have been proofed and edited by a knowledgeable knife person who has english as a mother tongue, too bad.
Caution, this book concerns MODERN blades Nov 21, 2007
This book has beautiful photos of blades - long swords, short swords, knives, even chisels - with good descriptions, but all of the blades are modern creations. Short bios of the makers are also included. More than anything else, this book resembles the kind of auction catalog that would be prepared for an auction of rare art or objects where the only way to evaluate the item besides being there is from the photos and descriptions in the catalog. Each blade in this book is very well photographed and thoroughly described in collectible-style writing. What this is NOT is any kind of historical book. I didn't pay enough attention and thought I was ordering something about the art (craft of making) of samauri swords not the art (esthetic pictures) of new samauri blades. As long as you realize you are getting a beautifully produced catalog (there is even a list of prices at the end) you will be happy.