In the present time, we have many serious swordsmiths. I am a good friend with two of them personally. One is Mr. Yoshindo Yoshihara (吉原義人) and the other is Mr. Tsunahiro Yamamura (山村綱廣). We met each other when we were still in our early 20s. We were all single then.
I met Mr. Yoshihara at one of the sword meetings when I attended 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. Mr. Yoshihara is really excited to teach his grandson. He often tells me very interesting stories. Here are some of them. He once had an apprentice from one of the Arabic countries. This Arabic man studied with other Japanese apprentices. He was sent by the King of his country. He said this apprentice was a very quiet and a good student and got along with other students very well. Another time he told me a King from one of the countries of 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. Is it just my imagination that my sword seems took longer to be completed than usual? The photo below is my sword made by him.
To order a sword, below is the contact of 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 a 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 train station. But back then, he had a store right in front of the 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 )”. We were all Kamakura residents then. We often 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.
Below is the information about their stores.
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