In the present time, we have many serious swordsmiths. I am a good friend with two of them personally. One is Yoshindo Yoshihara (吉原義人) and the other is Tsunahiro Yamamura (山村綱廣 ). We met each other when we were still the early 20s before each of us got married.
I met Mr. Yoshihara at one of the sword meetings when I attended it with my father. That was around the late 60s or early 70s. Since then, we met at the different sword gatherings here and there. His son is also a well-known swordsmith, also his grandson decided to be a swordsmith. He is really excited to teach his grandson. Mr. Yoshihara often tells me very interesting stories. Here is some of them. He once had an apprentice from one of the Arabic countries. He studied with other Japanese apprentices. He was sent by the King. He said this apprentice was a very quiet and good student. Another time he told me a King from Europe visited Yoshihara’s studio, and he gave Yoshihara a photo of himself with his autograph on it as a souvenir. A few times, a famous movie director of Hollywood ordered swords and visited his house. When he told me about this incident, I realized it was about the same time I ordered my sword. Maybe Mr. Yoshihara started to work on this director’s sword ahead of mine. Because it seems to me that my sword took longer than it should complete.
Yoshihara Yoshindo 8-17-11 Takasago Katsushika-Ku Tokyo Japan 125-0054 tel (81)3-3607-5255
Yamamura-kun ( we put Kun after the last name for a male friend and san for female friend) and I were students at Mori Sensei’s sword class together. He was a top student, I was almost the last. He is the direct descendants of Goro Nyudo Masamune (五郎入道正宗 ) 24th generation. He now has his studio near Kamakura station. But back then, he had a store right in front of Hachiman-Gu Shrine (八幡宮 ).
We had one more person in this group. His name is Kurokawa (黒川) who became the owner of a famous big sword store in Tokyo, “Soken-do (霜剣堂 )”. Three of us were living in Kamakura (鎌倉 ) then. We get together Yamamura-Kun’s store in front of the Hachiman-Gu shrine, having a good time and joking around in his store. Eventually, we were so involved in a fun conversation, Yamamura kun closed the store saying that those customers don’t buy anyway so it’s OK, and he locked the door. And we continued having a fun party. I still remember seeing customers puzzled face outside of the glass windows, but he ignored them.
Masamune Kougei (正宗工芸 ) 13-29 Onari-Cho Kamakura-Shi Japan 248-0012 Tel 0467- 22- 3962
Soken-Do(霜剣堂) 28-1 6-1 Cho-me Jingu-Mae Shibuya-ku Tokyo 150-0001 Tel 03 (3499) 8080 http://www.sokendo.jp