Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Kodansha USA; 1 edition (March 2, 1998)
Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 1.2 x 7.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #1,229,397 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #111 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Antiques & Collectibles > Firearms & Weapons > Swords & Knives #1818 in Books > History > Asia > Japan #46691 in Books > Engineering & Transportation > Engineering
National Living Treasure Kokan Nagayama's "Connoisseur's Book of Japanese Swords" is one of the definitive references on Japanese swords (nihonto) available in English translation. I bought it after either purchasing or familiarizing myself with several other essential, but much more basic tomes such as John Yumoto's "The Samurai Sword: A Handbook," Kazan Sato's "The Japanese Sword: A Comprehensive Guide," and Kapp and Yoshihara's "The Craft of the Japanese Sword." Each of these books has a niche, along with relative strengths and weaknesses (e.g., Yumoto's book is but a brief overview with crude hand illustrations, Kapp & Yoshihara focus on a general overview of forging, etc.) such that those seriously entering the world of nihonto would be well-served to collect them all (after all, all of these books together are going to cost a infinitesimal fraction of the cost of a nihonto and will therefore be a sound investment).The stated intent of the Connosieur's Book is to arm the novice with a beginning understanding of the types of things that one would need to learn about kantei, the art of nihonto appraisal. Having said that, the level of detail here is far beyond that found in most other introductory books about nihonto for novices, and probably more than the casual fan of "samurai swords" would benefit from. The book is really designed as a reference and includes considerable detail. It does a nice job of going through major and subtle differences of nihonto through different eras and schools of sword-making, along with a brief historical context to explain changes and influences.
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