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The Art of Japanese Sword Polishing [Hardcover]

By Setsuko Takaiwa (Editor), Yoshindo Yoshihara (Editor), Leon Kapp (Editor) & Hiroko Kapp (Editor)
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Item description for The Art of Japanese Sword Polishing by Setsuko Takaiwa, Yoshindo Yoshihara, Leon Kapp & Hiroko Kapp...

To understand Japanese sword polishing is to understand the Japanese sword. Down through the years, the great sword connoisseurs in Japan have been sword polishers. A swordsmith can spend a large amount of time forging a classic sword, but refining and bringing out its final shape, color, and texture so that all the details of the steel and hamon (the temper line) are clearly visible is the responsibility of another craftsman-the sword polisher. An experienced polisher can tell immediately by whom a blade was made, so distinctive is each smith's work and so vital is such knowledge to the skilled polisher.
The Art of Japanese Sword Polishing is the first book in English to examine in great detail the polisher's techniques-skills it often takes up to ten years of apprenticeship to master. It illustrates the methods, materials, and tools used for this process. But the book's true aim is to enable the reader to fully appreciate the beauty of a well-crafted Japanese sword. As readers learn both how the sword polisher enhances the beauty of the blade and how he handles the problems of coaxing out its finest qualities through polishing techniques, they will come to a deeper understanding of the fine art of making the Japanese sword and will be able to purchase or collect swords with greater pleasure.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   191
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 8" Height: 10.75"
Weight:   2 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Apr 21, 2006
Publisher   Kodansha International
ISBN  4770024940  
ISBN13  9784770024947  

Availability  0 units.

More About Setsuko Takaiwa, Yoshindo Yoshihara, Leon Kapp & Hiroko Kapp

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SETSUO TAKAIWA is one of Japan's top sword polishers and is called upon by museums around the world, from Boston's Museum of Fine Arts to the British Museum, to help maintain their historic sword collections.
YOSHINDO YOSHIHARA is ranked among the top swordsmiths in Japan. His family has been making tools and swords for several generations.
LEON and HIROKO KAPP have studied Japanese swords for decades and are co-authors, with Yoshindo, of The Craft of the Japanese Sword and Modern Japanese Swords and Swordsmiths. The Kapps live in San Rafael, California. Yoshindo Yoshihara and Leon Kapp frequently lecture and give demonstrations in the United States.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art History
2Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > Art Instruction & Reference > General
3Books > Subjects > History > Asia > Japan
4Books > Subjects > Home & Garden > Antiques & Collectibles > Firearms & Weapons
5Books > Subjects > Home & Garden > Crafts & Hobbies > General
6Books > Subjects > Home & Garden > Crafts & Hobbies > Metal Work
7Books > Subjects > Home & Garden > Crafts & Hobbies > Reference

Reviews - What do customers think about The Art of Japanese Sword Polishing?

The Art of Japanese Sword Polishing  Jan 12, 2007
Very Informative Great book To lean about grades of stones and thier uses
Review of "The Art of Japanese Sword Polishing"...  Jan 9, 2007
After reading the book entitled "The Art of Japanese Sword Polishing" I now have a much clearer and detailed understanding of the process used by traditional Japanese sword polishers. The book takes the reader though all of steps from the foundation polish, used to shape and sharpen the blade, to the finish polish, which is used bring out the details of the steel and shape of the temper line, using good text and a fair number of detailed photographs. It includes some Japanese sword polish theory and how Japanese swords have changed over the historical periods. It also explains how the age of the sword can affect how the sword should be polished and what damage can and cannot be repaired by a polisher. In the last section of the book it contains a few profiles of professional Japanese sword polishers the authors of the book had interviewed which I enjoyed reading.
As someone who studies and appreciates the Japanese sword I found the book very helpful in educating me more about the process of how a Japanese sword is polished. I would recommended this book to anyone interested in learning in detail how Japanese swords are polished.
Traditional techniques very different from ours  Aug 8, 2006
Men have always decorated their weapons. The main items being decorated in the United States have been guns. But in Japan it is the traditional Japanese sword. Being more of a land of tradition, the Japanese sword became more or less standardized in shape as long ago as the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries and polishing the sword had to have followed shortly after that.

There are many books that describe the techniques of polishing and blueing guns. But this appears to be the first book available in English that discusses the polishing techniques used by Japanese craftsmen.

The Japanese practice is a strikingly different process than that used here. Polishing stones, not unlike whetstones but in far more diversity are used. A shop selling such stones is pictured with what appear to at least a couple of hundred different types of stones. And unlike here where stones are simply given numbers to indicate coarseness, in Japan they are given names.

The polishing area used with Japanese swords is a traditional form as well. It sits on the floor, and the polisher typically sits in a traditional position that most of us would find difficult to get into, and impossible to maintain for any period.

All in all, a fascinating book on techniques very different to those commonly used here.
A very good introduction to sword polishing  Jun 2, 2006
I wish I had this book 20 years ago when I first started to investigate the art of polishing. This book provides a wealth of information on the technigues, the material and the different ways that can be used to get a sword polisihed. In fact, the diversity of the art is highlighted by the book and certainly dispells the notion that there is only one way to restore a blade. The section on foundation polish discusses how to achieve the proper shape without removing too much material. The different stones are described and how each is used to establish and refine the shape. The finishing section covers the range of materials and tools used to bring out the grain and tempered edge unique to the Japanese sword. It also shows the burnishing and how to highlight the boshi.
There are sections that talk about the history of polishing, the schools of polishing and interviews with several modern polishers. As always there is a note warning about the perils to the blade that can be inflicted by an inexperienced person. The book doesn't reveal all the secrets to the art, such as the various forms of nugui (other than the basic hadori and sashikomi formulas),what types of stones work best with each school or era, etc. But it certainly does provide a well documented, well photographed look at this art form. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in Japanese swords.

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