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Touken Matsumoto Blog

Trip To Shinano April 1, 2021

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On March 31st and April 1st, I took a trip to Shinano for two days and one night to see Zenkoji Temple and Matsumoto Castle. It was the perfect time to make a trip when the cherry blossoms were in full bloom under the clear blue sky. At night, I stayed at the Tobira Onsen Spa and was able to relax and not think about work for a short time.

On the second day in Matsumoto City, I visited the Shiseido Sword Shop. Fortunately, the shop owner Mr. Shimojo was there, and although it was a spontaneous visit, he was very polite.  He said that his business was successful and the number of subscribers to his sword sales catalog that is issued four times a year had reached 12,000 within Japan. He also said that of over the 100 items listed in the sale catalog, they are almost sold out each time. He explained that he personally writes the detailed descriptions working mostly by himself.  He appeared to be a very energetic person, and I could feel his strong determination in making his business successful.

From April 1st we start the new fiscal year, so today I will take a rest and will do my best again from tomorrow!

The New Logo for Touken Matsumoto March 30, 2021

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In order to improve the image of our brand, we have created a new logo. It has a deep meaning. The overall image is of “Matsu” a pine tree. The pine tree is a symbol of longevity and is also a part of the Matsumoto name. The bottom right is the shape of a sword. The line design is in the image of Mizuhiki, that is a traditional ribbon used for celebration and joyous occasions. These three symbols represent the heart of Touken Matsumoto. We hope our customers, clients, friends, and family will enjoy the new logo as much as we do.

Umetada Exhibition February 21, 2021

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I visited the Japanese Sword Museum and saw the Umetada Exhibition that lasted until February 21st, Sunday.
To help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, it was necessary for me to make a reservation in advance at a convenience store for admission on Saturday(20th). Many sword enthusiasts have asked me, “Have you ever been to the Umetada Exhibition?”  So I held high expectations of the event. I was moved by the many Umetada swords that were exhibited in one place. I was able to study the various dragon engravings in the blades, which was a great experience. I was also fascinated by the exhibition of the masterpieces; including 6 national treasures and 10 important cultural properties. Although the number of visitors was small in the morning when the museum opened, around noon many more people visited, especially a larger number of women. I could feel the popularity of the swords even in this modern time.

Currently, Touken Matsumoto has in stock two Tsuba related to the Umetada Tradition. This is highly recommended work and is reminiscent of the Tsuba at the Umetada exhibition! Both of these have passed the Tokubetsu Hozon Token.
● TSU-1923 Chrysanthemum, Made by Umetada Tachibana Tadayoshi, Mid Edo Period, Tokubetsu Hozon Tosogu

● TSU-1698 Chrysanthemum and Vines, Mumei, but attributed to the Umetada Tradition, Early Edo Period, Tokubetsu Hozon Tosogu

The 16th Noda Token Ichi and the 7th Kyobashi Token Ichi February 8, 2021

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The 16th Noda Token Ichi was held for 3 days from Friday, January 29th, and the 7th Kyobashi Token Ichi was held for 3 days from Friday, February 5th. Having two consecutive weeks of events was difficult to obtain the reservation of the venue. Also, between these two events, I hosted the Noda Kai Sword Auction as I usually do on the 3rd of every month. It was a very busy few weeks.  In holding the event, we did our best to prevent the spread of the coronavirus by taking the necessary precautions, but there were fewer visitors than normal due to the travel restrictions in place. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all the visitors who visited us during these difficult times. We will continue to take precautions and to make the sales events a satisfying experience for those customers who are able to visit us.

Happy New Year Greetings January 3, 2021

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This picture shows the first sunrise of the new year. Normally, every year I visit Yamanashi Prefecture to see the first sunrise with Mr. Fuji. However, this year, due to the Corona-virus, I simply watched the sunrise near my home. The first three days of the new year provided great weather with beautiful blue skies. I was able to foresee hope and a bright 2021. We sincerely hope that you will return to your normal lives as soon as possible, and all of our staff will continue to do their best this year as well.

We appreciate your continued patronage.

Yoshiyuki Matsumoto

The 4th Koriyama Token Ichi December 28, 2020

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The 4thKoriyama Sword City was held at the convention center “BigPalette Fukushima” in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture.  To help stop the spread of the coronavirus, we thoroughly measured the temperature of visitors, encouraged the disinfecting of hands, wore masks, and doubled the size of the venue to avoid crowded spaces. To be honest, I was worried about the number of visitors and sales. However, after the event I was happy by the fact that we were able to achieve record results and thus rewarding our hard work.  I think the great turnout and sales were due to three factors, the local newspaper featured it in the article as a local event, the trust of the people of Fukushima Prefecture being this was our fourth event, and we were able to exhibit many local swords of Fukushima Prefecture.  My staff and I are delighted that the last sales event of this 2020 was a success.

The 2nd Saitama Token Ichi November 30, 2020.

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The 2nd Saitama Token Ichi was held only one-minute walk from the Omiya Station in Omiya City, Saitama Prefecture. It was a 3-day event from Friday to Sunday, November 27th-29th. It was held in collaboration with the local Omiya sword dealer “Asahi Token.” Since the recent increase in the spread of the new corona-virus, I was worried about the number of visitors. Despite this, there were more visitors than I expected. We did our best to avoid spreading the corona-virus by implementing the wearing of masks and ensuring the ventilation was sufficient. November of this year, the biggest event, The Dai Token Ichi was canceled due to the situation with the corona-virus, so I think that sword enthusiasts were hoping for an exhibition and sales event. Many familiar customers as well as ladies and young people from both local and afar came to the event, so it was very busy.

Thanks to everyone’s efforts, the event was able to achieve more than the target.

The 3rd Saitama Token Ichi is scheduled for May of next year.

International Delivery November 17, 2020

The Corona virus pandemic continues to disrupt our lives and business.
In order to facilitate business during these difficult times, Touken Matsumoto has decided to utilize the service of UPS to send our goods.
We will continue to use UPS until the Japan Post resumes the EMS to help meet the needs of our deliveries overseas.
So please do not hesitate to place your orders. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

The Third Koriyama Token Ichi August 24, 2020

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The Third Koriyama Touken Ichi was held from August 21st for three days at the “Big Palette Fukushima” complex convention facility in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture. It was originally scheduled for April, but postponed until August during the hot summer because of the threat of the Corona-virus. In order to avoid the crowded situation, we doubled the size of the venue and were sure to wear face masks and used disinfectants to clean our hands and help prevent the spread of infection. I think all the visitors could appreciate the art of the beautiful swords and fittings with peace of mind of being safe.

The performance of the event was more than I had expected. We achieved a number of sales and I was busy every minute. There were many sword enthusiasts who visited and purchased items. This was due to the success of the local advertisements of two big newspapers that came to interview me. I think what helped the event to be successful for the three days was the people I know increased and maybe the local enthusiasts came to trust us in this third event in the area.

The Fourth Koriyama Touken Ichi is scheduled to be held for three days from Friday, December 25th this year at the same venue.

The First Otakanomori Token Ichi August 12, 2020

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The first Otakanomori Token Ichi was held successfully. During the three days of the event, it was harsh due to the continue threat from the Corona-virus and the extremely hot weather where even the news suggested to stay indoors except for necessary trips.

Fortunately, the venue, Otakanomori Hall, was only one minute walk from the station. In addition, the newly built modern facility was fully air-conditioned to cool down the large venue. I did not see people sweating or seeming uncomfortable so I think that those who came to the event enjoyed the exhibition in a comfortable and safe environment.

We were able to achieve success at this first venue with great customers, such as from the customer who purchased a sword for the first time in Noda Touken Ichi last month also purchased this month. Also, a Juyo Token was purchased by an important customer at this event. I will continue to make efforts to increase the enthusiasm of sword and sword fittings.

The Second Otakanomori Token Ichi is scheduled to be held in April 2021.

Results of the Competition of the Contemporary Sword Craftsmen August 7, 2020

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On August 6 the results were announced of this year’s competition of contemporary sword craftsmen.
Our staff member, Yoichiro Kawakami, placed 6th in the Excellence Award! This was his first serious attempt applying to this competition in the area of sword polishing. In total, there were 49 polished items (Shinogi-tsukuri) excluding Mukansa polishers submitted for this part of the competition. Kawakami was placed 14th among all the skilled polishers.  The Yushu-sho/Excellence Award comes after the Toku-sho/Special Award, but is above the Doryoku-sho/Effort Award. This was a great opportunity for him to showcase his skills in polishing for his more than 20 years of experience.  This year, he polished a contemporary sword from scratch that was the size of 2-shaku 3-sun 6-bu forged and engraved by Ryujin Taro Minamoto Tadashige.
I was very satisfied with the result. Moving forward, I encourage him to continue to grow his skill and enter the competition again.

The First Otakanomori Touken Ichi August 1, 2020

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The First Otakanomori Touken Ichi will be held for three days, August 9th, 10th, and 11th. The Venue is Otakanomori Hall only one minute from the Otakanomori train station which is the connecting station between Tsukuba Express (Joban Shinsen Line) and Tobu Urban Park Line (Tobu Noda Line). This convenient location allows for easy access not only for local Chiba prefecture but also for Tokyo, Saitama, and Ibaraki sword enthusiasts to reach the event by train. The Otakanomori Hall is on the opposite corner of the Nagareyama Otakanomori Shopping Center, making it a good location for both shopping and dining.  We are looking forward to your visit and have many attractive swords from the Kamakura period to contemporary and a large number of sword fittings such as Tsuba, Menuki, Fuchi-kashira, Kozuka and Kogai. Please stop by to visit and enjoy the event.

 

Venue: Otakanomori Hall 1-2-1 Otakanomori-kita, Nagareyama City, Chiba Prefecture

Date: August 9th (Sun), 10th (Monday), 11th (Tuesday)

Event time: From 10:00 to 17:00

Free admission- Please use the nearby pay parking

The 15th Noda Token Ichi July 28, 2020

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The 15th Noda Token Ichi sales event was held for three days at the Business Hotel Noda from June 24th in our home ground of Noda City.

Before the Event, honestly, my expectations were low because of the all-day heavy rain weather forecast and the fact that people are not leaving their homes in order to avoid the spread of the Corona-virus. In order to meet the expectations of the visitors who come all the way in such a situation, all the staff worked hard to keep the Corona-virus countermeasures in mind so that they would be comfortable to come. While the number of visitors were decreased, I was happy to see the continued enthusiasm of those who made it.  I heard that one visitor was not able to visit the first day although he came to the nearest station because of the heavy rain and another visitor arrived at the parking lot but could not get out for about 15 minutes due to heavy rain. I am grateful for everyone’s perseverance.  I was also very happy when a visitor who made his first purchase of a Japanese sword at Noda Touken Ichi in his third visit, he said to me, “I’m as excited with my purchase as when I received a new toy when I was a child.” We were successful and finished cleaning up, we were tired but we were all satisfied with the results of the event.

The next event, the 16th Noda Touken Ichi, will be held next January, 2021.

The 26th Tokubetsu Juyo Exhibition July 2, 2020

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In July, I visited the NBTHK to apply for the sword fitting Shinsa. While I was there I was able to see the 26th exhibition of the items that passed Tokubetsu Juyo Shinsa of this year at the sword museum. One of the items that passed the  Tokubetsu Juyo Shinsa was my item. It was Mutokoro-mono, which means six pieces of sword fittings, they were Mumei but were attributed to Joshin, the Third Master of the Goto Tradition.  This Mutokoro-mono is said to be Higashiyama Gyomotsu that means it was owned by Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the 8th Shogun of the Morumachi Bakufu and was also listed in the property catalog of the Maeda Family from the Edo to the early Showa Era.   Finding such a historical item and ranking the evaluation up is very rewarding for me as a sword trader.

Company Trip June 27, 2020

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Every June, which is the end of our fiscal year, our company takes an overseas trip with our staff and business partners as a way to celebrate our hard work and success during the previous year. This was the 10th fiscal year and we planned to travel overseas, however due to the Corona-virus we had to cancel our trip. I did not want to lose this opportunity due to the virus, so I decided to reschedule the trip to Okinawa. We were fortunate that the travel restrictions were lifted after June 19th allowing us to travel at the last minute.

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Seragaki island in Okinawa. Using a rented car from the Naha Airport, we drove to the hotel. We enjoyed the hotel during the day and in the evening we dined in the local restaurants.

It is likely this severe economic environment will continue into the unforeseeable future, but I will do my best to dream of our next trip overseas for this fiscal year.

Reopening of the Sword Auction of the Japan Sword Trader's Association June 17, 2020

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The Auction of the Japan Sword Trader’s Association has reopened at Tokyo Art Club for the first time in 3 months. The Auctions in April and May had been cancelled due to the Corona-virus. This month, it has been reopened under the strict regulations of the Art Club. The measures taken to avoid spreading the virus were the use of hand disinfectants, checking everyone’s temperature, wearing of masks, submission of an attendance list, social distancing, and the use of a TV monitor to see the items. Before the start of the Sword Auction, there was a greeting from Chairman Fukami, from Ginza Choshuya. It was an explanation of how sword traders should handle this difficult situation with the Corona-virus. I think everyone could understand and sympathize. I felt that I increased my wisdom on how to continue and develop the sword trading business successfully.

The 5th Kyobashi Touken Ichi June 15, 2020

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The 5th Kyobashi Touken Ichi was held at the “Gallery Kubota” in Kyobashi on June 12th, 13th, and 14th. Due to the effects of the Corona-virus and the bad weather from the beginning of the rainy season, the number of visitors decreased compared to normal attendance. However, I was happy seeing the many visitors and friends who were doing well. Many customers came during two days, and everyone stayed longer to talk and enjoy the exhibited swords and items. There always seemed to be visitors around enjoying the event. Thank you to the customers for purchasing Naotama, Sokan, Masao, Naka-kawachi, and Choshu Nobutaro at this event. I continue my efforts with the idea of offering attractive products at reasonable prices and to continue building strong relationships of trust so that customers are able to purchase with confidence and enjoyment.

Noda Kai Sword Auction June 3, 2020

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I was able to host the periodical Noda Kai Auction yesterday on June 3rd. It has been for two and half months since the last time. There were many sword traders present who were able to make many trades. Because of the improving condition of the Pandemic, we plan to continue to these auctions. In order to stay safe we still wear masks and use hand sanitizer. I hope the COVID-19 issue will soon ease more so the condition of the world will return to normal.

Mobile Responsiveness May 21, 2020

 

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We have begun refreshing the home page for mobile responsiveness.  This has involved changes to the layout which make the page easier to read on smaller mobile devices in addition to desktop PCs. There are still some changes to come, so thank you for your understanding while we continue working to make your visit a more satisfying experience.

January Results for the NBTHK Tosogu Shinsa April 30, 2020

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We have received the results of the January Shinsa for the sword fittings. This time all 25 applied for items were successful.  Of these, 14 have already been posted on the website so they have been re-posted with their new information. These items have been identified as genuine, have been attributed to a specific Tradition, and have been upgraded from Hozon to Tokubetsu Hozon. It is my hope that these new results will make these items more appealing.

https://www.touken-matsumoto.jp/eng/new_updates_e.php?sj_id=478

Sales Event Schedule Changes April 13, 2020

We would like to inform you that there is a change in the Scheduling on the exhibition Sale Events.

  • The scheduled 2nd Koriyama Touken Ichi from April 24th, 25th and 26th
    ⇒Has been Postponed to May 29th, 30th, and 31st.
  • The scheduled 3rd Saitama Touken Ichi from May 29th, 30th, and 31st
    ⇒Cancelled

Regarding the exhibition and sales event “Touken Ichi” held monthly:

The “3rd Koriyama Touken ichi” that was scheduled to be held in April this month is being rented at the venue (Big Palette Fukushima) and doubled in size, and efforts are being made to improve ventilation, to avoid crowding, and closeness. It has been postponed for 3 days.

The “2nd Saitama Touken Ichi” scheduled to be held in May next month was decided to be canceled in consideration of the location (Omiya, Saitama City) and the venue (meeting room for rent).

In Touken Matsumoto, the “Noda-kai sword auction” for sword dealers, which has been held twice a month since January 1992 continuously were closed on April 3rd and 19th. Probably on May 3rd as well, it will be closed until the declaration of emergency is resolved.

In addition, we planned to hold the “Tsukuba Taikai” every year at the Hotel Edoya in Mt. Tsukuba, but this year we decided to cancel it.

I am distressed when considering the economic activities of the swords dealer, 40 participants who purchase and sell at the Noda-kai sword auction. However, the situation has changed to stop the spread of the new Corona virus infection, and people’s feelings are becoming more serious day by day, so I think that it is now time to consider our health and safety.

I hope that the spread of the Corona virus infection will end as soon as possible and that it will start to decline and that the world will return to normal.

The 9th Chiba Token Ichi March 30, 2020

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We were able to conclude the 9th Chiba Touken Ichi safely. The spread of the new Corona virus has been reported every day by the media, so I considered canceling the event before it was held, just in case. Under such circumstances, there were many requests from the enthusiasts who wanted to come to the venue so we decided to do our best and tried avoiding the spread of the virus by thoroughly ventilated the venue, disinfecting our hands with alcohol, and wearing masks. It was a relief to hear from visitors that the atmosphere was good, and that in terms of income and expenditure we did well. However, it was an event that made me consider about managing such events at this time more than ever. The next event will be in October, half a year from now. We hope the Corona virus pandemic will be over and we can do our best to be positive.

Trip to Kishu, Wakayama Prefecture February 29, 2020

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Touken Matsumoto visited Kishu, Wakayama, the hometown of our sword polisher, Yoichiro Kawakami. Kawakami’s parents guided us to the Kumano Kodo and Nachi Katsuura, which are world heritage sites. We stayed and relaxed on the island in the Kumano villa Hotel, which is famous for an outdoor bath with a view of the sea. Also, we were able to say hello to Mr. Sadakazu Adachi, a swordsmith living in Ryujin Village, Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture. Luckily, during the time of our visit, there was a sword exhibition for “Contemporary Japanese Swords Exhibition” where the swordsmiths of the Kinki region participated. Mr. Adachi was also able to explain more about forging as we viewed the swords at the exhibition, including his one. All of our staff had a great time and were refreshed.

Chiba Television Broadcasting Coverage February 15, 2020

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The Chiba TV’s morning news program of “Shakkito” introduced Touken Matsumoto shop on TV.  It was set to broadcast on the morning of February 28 (Friday) “Shakkito! Outing Information” section that introduces local shops. A director, a reporter, a cameraman, and  an assistant visited the store and filmed for about two hours. I tried to convey the charm of Japanese swords in an easy-to-understand manner, but I was nervous and I couldn’t put together a good story. I laugh at myself when the conversation with the reporter became awkward. I believe that the director will edit well from a viewer’s perspective.

Dai Token Ichi 2019 November 4th, 2019

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The 2019 Dai Token Ichi has ended successfully. This is the biggest event where sword dealers from all over the world gather for the three-day event. There were over 73 sword dealers nationwide in attendance. All the shopkeepers were crowded with about 3,000 visitors in total, and worked hard to sell their items.
Thanks to the Dai Token Ichi, I was able to meet familiar customers, both domestic and overseas, who I could only meet online before. All the staff worked hard with the encouragement of many customers. I am thankful that I managed to reach my sales goal on the last day.
Next year, the Dai Token Ichi 2020 will be held at the Tokyo Art Club for three days from November 1st (Sunday). Both as a member of the Dai Token Ichi committee and as a sword trader, I will continue to do my best to promote the Dai Token Ichi and to increase its popularity both domestic and overseas in order to increase the number of visitors for the future.

High Resolution Images October 20, 2019

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As has been requested by some customers, we have been able to create a new function to show a more detailed photo of the swords. You can click the magnify button of each item page of the swords to see 3 to 4 times closer detail compared to previous image. It may take a bit more time to load due to the larger photo size but the wait will be worth it. Touken Matsumoto does its best to accommodate the request of all customers.

The 8th Chiba Token Ichi September 10, 2019

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The 8th Chiba Token Ichi was held for three days at the Chiba Seminar Room near the Chiba Station on September 6th. Despite the hot weather, I appreciate all the participants who attended this event.  At this 8th Event, I was able to show my official certificate of a sword appraiser issued by the All Japan Sword Traders Association. Customers were able to rely on me for also my sword appraiser comments. However, this time, I purchased more than I was able to sell. I must make a better effort to encourage people to become a sword enthusiast to further educate the world on Japanese history and culture.
Next day of this Event, Chiba Prefecture was severally damaged from the Typhoon that hit the area. I would like to express my sympathy to those affected and wish everyone a speedy recover from the damage.

Preliminary Meeting for Dai Token Ichi 2019 August 23, 2019.

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The Preliminary Meeting for Dai Token Ichi 2019 was held after the sword auction of the Sword Trader’s Association at the Tokyo Art Museum on August 23. I was appointed as the chair person (Shikaishya). This year’s Event will start from November 1st on a Friday and will run for three days at the Tokyo Art Museum. This will be the 32nd Event of the Dai Token Ichi and there will be 73 participating sword traders. The preparations of the event are progressing well and we are all hoping it will be a successful event this year. I will be waiting for your visit sincerely.

Overseas Company Trip June 25, 2019

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Every June, the Touken Matsumoto group enjoys a yearly trip to oversease in show of appreciation and hopes for continued support.
This year was the 5th time and we went Bali, Indonesia for the second time. Bali is a memorial place because I worked in Jakarta, Indonesia for five years from 2002 to 2008 at my previous financial job.
I was able to really enjoy the trip using my language skills in Bahasa Indonesia that I still remember. My staff members and I were able to refresh and will move forward with our best efforts this year and look forward to June, 2020.

The All Japan Sword Traders Association June 10th, 2019

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On the 10th of June, the All Japan Sword Traders Association held a board member’s election. I was re-elected for another two years. I will do my best to enhance and increase the sword market. The previous retirement age limit of 70 years old was abolished allowing anyone the opportunity to became a board member. Fukami-san, from Ginza Choshuya became the chairman again.

The Second Kyobashi Touken Ichi June 9, 2019

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Touken Matsumoto held the Second Kyobashi Token Ichi on June 7th, 2019 for a three-day sales event at the Gallery Kubota in Kyobashi. The rainy season in Japan has started and rained all three days. However, the location was very convenient and close  to the train station allowing all the guest to stay relatively dry. Ohkoshi Sensei, who supervised the manga drawing of Honami Meito Hiroku (the secret record of the swords of the Honami Lineage), also had the chance to visit. I also made an advertisement poster to help increase the appeal of this event. The performance of the event was better than expected. The Third Kyobashi Token Ichi will be held on October 11th for the three days at the same location. We look forward to seeing you there.

 

Demonstration of Japanese Sword Polishing May 7, 2019

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On May 6th,  Noda City Museum held a demonstration event of sword polishing. The polisher and lecturer was Mr. Yoichiro Kawakami, who is one of Touken Matsumoto’s staff members and was supported by his student Mr. Hendricks. Despite that day being on the last day of a long holiday, there were over 50 sword enthusiasts in attendance and we didn’t even have enough chairs to go around. They were able to show the polishing process on a large screen, so all the attendants could see. Mr. Kawakami has plenty of experience giving lectures about the process and did an outstanding job. His student Mr. Hendricks, who is also a presenter and a university lecturer helped make the event a success. This Noda City Museum Event will continue until May 27th. Please come by and visit us there.

Noda-kai Sword Auction Event April 20, 2019

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Touken Matsumoto held the Noda-kai Sword Auction Event in Tsukuba. This was the third time this year to celebrate the 27th anniversary of the start of Noda-kai. More than fifty sword traders were in attendance and event space was filled with swords and sword fittings. The Event started from 10:00am and continued until 5:00pm. Throughout the Event everyone was active and enthusiastic. The overall results of the Event were more than twenty percent than the previous Event. I was very happy of this Event’s success. After the auction, we enjoyed a dinner party with a fun Bingo game instead of last Event’s performance.

First Kyobashi Touken Ichi March 11, 2019

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We had the First Kyobashi Touken Ichi at the Gallery Kubota in Kyobashi. This is a convenient location next the Tokyo station and close to Ginza. There were visitors from the Tohoku and Chubu regions who visited by Shinkansen. Okoshi Hiromichi Sensei, a writer of Feudal Japan manga, visited and enjoyed seeing the exhibit. He was kind enough to present us with one of his Manga that came out on February 15th, “Big Comic.” At the event, I was successful in creating a good atmosphere among the enthusiasts. The next event, Second Kyobashi Touken Ichi will be held in June 7, 2019 at the same location for three days.

Suwa Shrine February 27, 2019

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The Suwa Shrine was founded in the year 807 and is located in Chiba Prefecture Nagareyama City, next to our shop.  The story of the Shrine, is that Hachiman Taro Yoshiie made a visit to this shrine before he went to the battle of the Go Sannen War, also referred to as the Later Three-year War in the late 1080s in the Mutsu Province.  After defeating his enemies, he returned for another visit and presented his horse as a gift to the shrine. Because of this history is remains an revered and historical shrine in this area. This time Touken Matsumoto received an order to polish many of the swords there at the Suwa Shrine. I arrived early in the morning so I had time to walk the length of the entire shrine before meeting the customers. The shrine was very clean and was in immaculate order. A very nice visit.

Happy New Year January 1, 2019

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We wish everyone a very happy New Year.
Just as the new year’s sun rises next to Mt. Fuji, I wish everyone a refreshing and prosperous 2019.
Touken Matsumoto, myself and all of our staff, will endeavor to provide even better services to all sword enthusiasts around the world.
Let’s make it a wonderful 2019 for everyone.

NBTHK's Second National Convention November 24, 2018

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As a member of the Japan Sword Trader’s Association, I attended the NBTHK’s Second National Convention on November 24th at the Daiichi Hotel in Ryugaku where the NBTHK celebrated its 70-year anniversary and the 40th year of the NBTHK’s Tatara, the traditional Japanese furnace used for smelting iron. In attendance there were many people related to the Japanese sword, such as NBTHK branch members, sword traders, swordsmiths and polishers. The Princess Akiko of Mikasa, from the Imperial family of Japan also attended. I was impressed by the speech from a member of the Japanese Diet, who, according to him, some of the Diet members made an in-house Japanese Sword Group for the purpose of enhancing the culture relating to the Japanese sword this past June.  I look forward to hearing more about their activities.

The Dai Token Ichi 2018 November 21, 2018.

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This year’s Dai Token Ichi has concluded. Over the three-day event we welcomed over 3,300 people. This was a 10 percent increase from last year, showing an increase in interest in Japanese swords. We, Touken Matsumoto, did our best to boost our sales and activities this year. We were able to sell many pieces of Menuki, kata-menuki, and hanare-fuchi as well as larger sword sales. It was a very busy three-day event not allowing much time for even a rest. but I am very happy to have been involved in this year’s event and to meet many sword enthusiasts. Next year’s event has been scheduled for three days from November 1st at the same locations, the Tokyo Art Club. My staff and I will try hard again next year.

Tsukamakishi in Ohanajaya October 1, 2018

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I visited and ineterviewed Mr. Takashi Iiyama who is a Tsukamakishi, handle wrapper, in Ohanajaya, Tokyo. The interview was for an article in the Token-kai. Mr. Iiyama is an expert in the traditional skill of handle wrapping and has even won the Excellence Award rank 1 for Contemporary Sword and Artworks this year. During my visit, he took the time to teach me about the variations of Tsukamaki from the various provinces and eras. I enjoyed my time and had a good study with Mr. Iiyama.

Joichi, Sword Trader-Cyclist, visited our shop September 28, 2018

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Joichi Tsunatori form Fukuryu Bijutsu Kogei visited our shop in his riding gear by bicycle to conduct an interview for the newspaper ‘Tokenkai’ published by All Japan Sword Trader’s Association.
It was a fine Autum day between the several rainy weather. Joichi rode from Ginza for his visit to Noda, over 50 km, taking two and a half hours. His day was a hard-core ride traveling 100 km for visiting and returning home.
It was impressed that even after turning 60, he is still so youthful!

First Meeting for the Dai Token Ichi Catalog September 10, 2018

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The first editing meeting for the Dai Token Ichi catalog was held. 13 memers of the catalog committee joined reading each page and giving their advice. It took until late in the evening.
After we finished the meeting, we all went to an Izakaya restaurant near closing time. We are really hoping for this year’s successful Dai Token Ichi Event, with everyone’s cooperation, from the young to the seasoned Japanease sword traders.
This year’s Dai Token Ichi will be held at the Tokyo Art Club from November 16 (Friday) for three days.

The 19th (Final) Ningyocho Token Ichi September 9, 2018

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From Friday, September 7 for three days, we held the 19th Ningyocho Token Ichi at the Callery Shimuco. We started sword events at this location since Septermber 2012. However, this time is the final events since this Gallery will close for rebuilding. Although it was a small venue, we had a good relationship with the owner so we could continue the events for 6 years with many sword enthusiasts visiting. I was able to learn a lot from the customers and I greatly appreciate the opportunities to study and use the place. Next year, we will be moving the event to a gallery in Kyobashi, where we hold the 1st Kyobashi Token Ichi. I really hope to see everyone at this new location.

 

Japanese Sword Class July 21, 2018

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This year as well we have started the Japanese sword class from July 2018.
We will hold the class once a month until April next year for a total of 10 classes to learn the basics of Japanese sword knowledge.
For every class, it will start with 1) basic explanation of that day’s theme, 2) sword appreciation, 3) explanation about the appreciation of each sword, 4) second appreciation by students of each sword after hearing the details.
This will be repeated each month for the 10 times for the students to increase their experience and overall knowledge. I will do my best to make certain all students will improve their skills in sword appreciation.

International Staff Returns to Visit July 7, 2018

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A former staff, Roger, who supported me for four years from 2012 for English-related support for my business came to Japan with his student for his Iai training.
I remember well the days when we worked together and had a lot of fun talking about it. I was able to set up a meeting with him at an izakaya before he returns home.

The 4th Annual Overseas Trip June 28, 2018

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June is the end of the fiscal year for Touken Matsumoto. Every year as a way of expressing my gratitude to my staff and business partners and to wish for the next successful year we take an overseas trip. This year, we went to Taipei, Taiwan. We visited many famous places and enjoyed these attractions; Jiufen, where we saw the paper lantern night view, Longshan temple, which is the oldest temple in Taipei and famous for receiving power, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall where we saw the guard change ceremony, and the most impressive sight was the Gugong, where there were many national treasures. The tour guide, Mr. To, was 85 years old. He was very energetic and did not appear his age at all. He explained many things with abundant knowledge including Taiwan’s history, culture and economy. I learned of the strong connection between Japan and Taiwan, and even to Mr. To who was born who was born in 1933 and seemed even prouder of the Japanese people more than us. From now, refreshed with this great trip, I will do my best for another year and will look forward to our next overseas adventure in 2019!

Passing the Tokubetsu Juyo Token Shinsa May 21, 2018

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The result of the 25th Tokubetsu Juyo Token Shinsa were received and my application for the “Tachi made by Jitsua” passed the exam!
This time, 41 swords items, 3 sword koshirae and 4 sword fittings were able to pass. These items will be exhibited at the sword museum as designated Tokubestu-juyo items from May 26 to July 16, 2018.
I purchased the Tachi made by Jitsua from a family with links to the ancient Daimiyo. Then I had made the shira-saya, habaki, and had it polished. After all this work I applied for the Hozon token and the Tokubetsu-hozon token together. After it passed, I applied for the Juyo token and when it passed two years ago I applied for the Tokubetsu-juyo token and it passed. It was a long process but as a sword trader, it was also a very enjoyable process to discover a potentially good sword and making it a great sword and passing the highest rank of the NBTHK. I will do my best to find many more.

Czech Republic friends April 14, 2018

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I had a gathering with my friend from the Czech Republic and his ten students. He started visiting our shop more than twenty years ago. Every time he and his students are close, they would stop by and say hello. English is both of our second language, so we did our best to communicate and enjoyed our time together. They asked me “When will I visit Prague?” and I answered “Next Year.” However, they said that last year and two years ago I had said the same thing but did not go. I would like to try to make a trip sometime in the near future.

5th Chiba Token Ichi March 26, 2018

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We held the 5th Chiba Token Ichi at the Keiyo Bank Cultural Plaza in Chiba City from March 23rd to 25th. We were blessed with many visitors mostly becouse of the great efforts with the advertisement publicity, the wounderful weather for the blooming of the cherry blossoms.
There were customers that could say “I will buy a Japanese sword for the first time” and this made me very happy since they became an enthusiast.
Unfortunately, the Keiyo Bank Cultural Plaza was closed in March. The 6th Chiba Token Ichi will be held in October and is scheduled to be located in “Chiba Seminar Room” that is 3 minutes on foot from the Chiba Station North Exit.

Swordsmith Lecture March 19, 2018

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This month’s Japanese sword class, we invited the swordsmith, Mr. Ozawa Shigenori, who is a diciple of Takano Yukimitsu, who was diciple of Ohno Yoshimitsu.
Mr. Ozawa gave a lecture on how to forge Japanese sword. His unique tempering is referred to as “Hadaka-yaki” which mean he doesn’t place Tsuchioki on the edge of the blade. Using this process, he has been awarded many prizes recently. Because this was Mr. Ozawa’s 4th year with us, the question and answer session with the students was very active. His experience and lectures that are based on actural practice were very valuable stories that we would not be able to get by just reading books.

All Japan Sword Traders' 30 Year Anniversary Event March 18, 2018

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In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the All Japan Sword Traders’ Assosiation, auction was held at the Tokyo Art Club, on March 17. On the same day, there was a party to celebrate the tremendous success that was 4 times higher than usual. We took a great photo of the event.
After the Auction, we had a social gathering at Shinkyotei restaurant in Shimbashi, and deepened our friendship.
For me, it was a busy day after being appointed the afternoon auctioneer at the auction and then I was nominated to be the MC at the Party.