Japanese Craftsman Recreates the Mythical Koto Sword [VIDEO]

Handmade Portraits: The Sword Maker from Etsy on Vimeo.

As one of Japan’s last remaining swordsmiths, Korehira Watanabe has spent 40 years dedicated to preserving the aesthetic and soul of the Japanese people through his swords. For most of his career, Watanabe has doggedly pursued the recreation of the traditional Koto sword from the Heian and Kamakura periods (794-1333 AD).

While there are no known records of how to precisely make the Koto sword, in the past five years Watanabe has been able to closely replicate it. Moreover, Watanabe abstains from using any of the shortcuts made available by modern technology; for him it is the only way to maintain the tradition of sword making and ensure that the craft survives.

Watch the video above of the craftsman in action.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew December 15, 2011 at 8:12 pm

That is really awesome. He’s definitely a true artisan.

Kerr December 15, 2011 at 8:28 pm

So beautiful. Way better than having a cheap knockoff $100 sword in your house! Talk about a work of art so richly steeped in culture and ritual.

David Y December 16, 2011 at 8:00 am

Very impressive. It is always inspiring to watch a craftman who loves his or her work.

Nick Welch December 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I love his quote about wanting his disciple to be greater than him. It made me think of my son & wanting to be a better man for him so he will be a better man than me. Excellent craftsmanship but even more so, excellent manmanship

Nick Welch December 16, 2011 at 12:03 pm

I made that last word up. Feel free to use it.

claude December 20, 2011 at 10:22 am

They should rename this site “The Art of Manmanship”.

Great word, Nick.

Gary welch December 27, 2011 at 2:50 am

Yes Nick, good word

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