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Japanese Sword (Japanese Arts Library) Hardcover – 1 Jun 1983

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 180 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha America, Inc; Fifth Printing edition (1 Jun. 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870115626
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870115622
  • Product Dimensions: 25.9 x 2 x 18.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 607,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author


KANZAN (KAN'ICHI) SATO was born in Yamagata Prefecture in 1907 and until his death in 1978 was regarded as one of Japan's foremost experts on the Japanese sword. A graduate of Kokugakuin University, he worked in the section for National Treasures, Ministry of Education, and Tokyo National Museum. He was Executive Director of the Society for the Preservation of Japanese Art Swords and Vice-Director of the Sword Museum. His publications include works on Kotetsu and Higo metal-working.

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Japanese writers, however freely they may acknowledge their country's indebtedness to her mainland neighbors in other cultural fields, consistently stress the uniqueness of the Japanese sword. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Oct. 1997
Format: Hardcover
This is a new edition of a classic book on Japanese swords. So far as I can tell, the only difference from the earlier edition is the (very nice) dustjacket.
The book includes a history of the sword, some basic information, though it's not a primer on collecting, and some good photographs of some truly excellent blades and fittings. The largest criticism I would make is that the photographs of blades don't show the subtle details, especially of the temper and "grain", which collectors are interested in. On the other hand, you can see the whole shape of the blade well in the photographs.
If you're interested in swords, this book is a must-have. Serious collectors will find it a bit simplistic and general of course, but the blades included are some of the best, which makes up for a lot. For people who just are interested by Japanese swords and want to find something out about them, this book is perfect. For the beginning collector this is good, but something like Yumoto's "Japanese Sword: A Handbook" is more important.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By C. Jones on 24 Nov. 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a nicely presented book - it has a stylish cover and lots of nice photographs in it, but its a pretty boring read if your just casually interested in japanese swords. I found it poorly written, with just lots of names and dates strung together as paragraphs, and so not very interesting.
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Format: JP Oversized
There is nothing wrong with this book that dumping all the photographs are re-taking them would not greatly improve. Many of these photos are 40 years old and they have been copied and re-copied endlessly, for each successive edition. The result is that most of them look like really poor quality photo-scans. The colour balance has drifted, they are blurry and grainy. The B&W photos are even worse. The photographs of forging are no bigger than postage stamps and practically useless.
The problem is that these photographs were originally produced for reproduction decades ago when colour print technology was not as advanced as it is today and they are terribly dated. Add to that endless scans and poor reproduction over the years and you end up with very poor photographs indeed.
I have plenty books on Japanese swords and Tsuba which have vastly more detailed and much higher definition photographs than those in this book.
This book needs completely reworked. If it were £4.99 there would not be much of an argument, but this book is over £20!
Just another way of ripping off Western fascination with the Japanese Sword. I'm sure Kanzan Sato would be appalled with the quality of this book being passed off in his name.
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