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Touken Matsumoto Blog

Old meets New Dec. 23, 2013

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Today is the last day of a special event aimed at attracting a younger audience’s interest in the Japanese sword at Uenomori museum in Tokyo. I have to admit that I was surprised at how many young people were found at the event, looking at the displayed items. However, maybe I shouldn’t be, as at this event, old skills are meeting young culture, and, in a progressive tradition, stretching out a hand to the fans of the Manga ‘Evangelion’, one of Japan’s most popular comics, that has spread to both Europe and the US.
Real Nihonto are fitted in replicas of the Koshirae featured in the comic, and displayed with explanations about sword smiths and their methods. When the exhibition is over in Tokyo, it will move on to France and Spain, to meet and greet enthusiasts of both sword making and Manga, and better their knowledge about the Japanese sword and the way it is made. Though this event is unusual, it is my hope that it will further the interest for the Japanese sword and its history and tradition.
Sword smiths are, contrary to what many think, highly creative and have always merged old traditions with new ideas and methods. This is but one way to keep these traditions and methods interesting to a different audience.

Okinawa sales event Dec. 12, 2013

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This was the 4th time that I attended this event in Naha, Okinawa.
In addition to the sales event, I also held a small lecture about the Japanese sword to a few select enthusiasts, and it is my hope that they enjoyed the lecture and fund the information of use to themselves. Some of the participants also bought their first Japanese sword.
The visitors to this event are increasing in numbers, and I am happy to see such interest in swords and fittings. To me, this is something that encourages me to work a little harder and become a little better at sharing my insights about the sword etc.
I’m already preparing for my next visit to Okinawa in 6 months, and looking forward to seeing some of my Okinawan friends there.

Dai Token Ichi 2013 (Oct. 29)

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This year’s big sword event, the Dai Token Ichi 2013 has come to an end. We were lucky enough that we didn’t have the full effect of Typhoon 27 hit Tokyo with full force.
The rain we had was not as bad as with #26, and so a lot of people made the journey to Tokyo.
Thanks to the previous work carried out this year at several events as well as our website, we had a lot of customers coming to our booth. These facts lead to a new record in sales. However, I still feel there some things that we can improve to become a little better. I hope to be able to see the results of these improvements next year.
I would also like to thank those who came and visited us.
It is much appreciated.

Sword lecture and dinner with foreing friends

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Oct. 14th I hosted a small basic lecture on Japanese swords at the shop in Noda for some friends and sword enthusiasts from abroad.
There were two things I wanted to convey that were especially important to me.
The first, that Japanese swords are not only weapons, but also are said to inhabit a soul, and therefore should be treated with respect when handled by anyone.
Secondly, that swords from different time periods have different shapes and features, and can therefore give us a hint as to by whom and where they were made, as well as when.
At the moment, I need an interpreter to help me with events like this. But it is my hope that I will, one day, be able to convey my thoughts and the facts about Japanese swords and thus help spread the knowledge and appreciation for this part of my culture to people that are from places other than Japan.

Later at night, I asked my friends to join me for dinner at a local Sushi restaurant. It was a pleasure to see foreigners delight over Japanese food and drink, as well as hearing their thoughts and stories mixed with our laughter.
I feel a new form of connection to my foreign friends as well as gratitude for their friendship and enthusiasm.

Translating the 2013 DAI TOKEN ICHI catalog Oct. 10

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This year, I attend my 4th annual Dai Token Ichi in Tokyo. The previous 3 years, I have felt embarrassed about how poorly the English translation of the Japanese catalog has been. It was more or less useless to English speakers and Japanese alike, so this year, I volunteered to help produce a translation that would better explain the items on display at the venue.
Though, pressured by an extremely short time to do this, we finally were able to create something that will more easily explain what, and where something, is on display.
Had we had some more time to do this job correctly, the outcome, I feel confident, would have been much better. But, all things considered, I think we did a pretty good job with the circumstances we were given.
It is my hope and wish that this catalog will further help anyone that reads it to appreciate the items at the Dai Token Ichi this year.

Dai Token Ichi 2013 (Oct. 4)

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In a few weeks, it is time for Dai Token Ichi 2013, the largest sword event in Japan.
Touken Matsumoto will partake, displaying around 80 carefully selected swords as well as a variety of fittings.
This year 74 different sword traders will display some of their best items in the Tokyo Bijutsu Club Bldg. in Shimbashi, Tokyo.
I look forward to meeting all of our friends and customers at the event. And, I am sure, this year will be especially interesting and successful for all participants and would like to encourage everyone to come, see, listen and learn about the Japanese sword and its many related items.

Yoshiyuki Matsumoto

Okinawa sales event Jun. 11, 2013

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Last weekend saw the third Okinawa Token Ichi sword event, held in Naha.
A hundred and fifty people visited and some of them came back for the third time showing the genuine interest that the visitors have for the event and Japanese swords.
Even though, Okinawa doesn’t have a sword shop I feel confident that the market for one is promising.
This will be an event reoccurring every 6 months and Touken Matsumoto intend to remain a part of it.
It seemed that many of the visitors were very appreciative of the event due to the fact that it is a little unique to have an opportunity like this to see and learn about the Japanese sword.
The event was a success for both traders and visitors alike.

Article in the Tokenkai paper May. 23, 2013

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In the latest issue of the Tokenkai paper, Touken Matsumoto was featured in a very flattering article.
I will try to interpret the article below as I feel very happy about it.

“Touken Matsumoto has been run by Matsumoto Tomio for more than 25 years, and has been successful largely due to this man’s honest and happy character. Three years ago, his son, Yoshiyuki joined the business and has added to it with his youthful character as well.

On the 19th of May, the Nodakai event was held as it always is, and as a result of constant efforts of making customers feeling welcome and satisfied, saw its greatest success thus far.
Another contributing factor may be that Japanese economy is getting stronger, and therefore is helping businesses in general with their sales and stability.”

Personally, I feel hopeful for Japan’s economic future as a depreciated yen makes Japan a cheaper market for foreign customers.

Magazine article Apr. 21, 2013

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Recently, Touken Matsumoto was featured in an article by the magazine Company Tank in an piece that was rather large and covered a lot of questions about both swords and sword trading.
The interview was conducted by Ami Tokito, a Japanese ‘talent’ often seen on TV, that seemed to have a genuine interest in the Japanese sword and its history.
For me, the article was mostly an opportunity to spread some information, and to contribute to furthering of the enthusiasm for the sword, and the Japanese sword culture.
I think many people, given a chance, would enjoy knowing more on this subject. It is a passion that I personally would love to share with more people so that our community can grow and flourish.
I enjoyed giving the interview and was impressed both by the professionalism and the result that came out of the hour we spent talking.

Hachinohe sales event Mar. 23, 2013

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In cooperation with Toyukai, Touken Matsumoto partook in an event held at Hachinohe department store that started on March 15th and will finish on the 26th.
This is the first time we share an event with Toyukai.
In the near future, we are planning on similar events in the northern part of Japan.
It is my hope that these events will further the interest and knowledge of sword collectors and enthusiasts.

Noda Token Ichi Feb. 18, 2013

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On the 16th and 17th of February, Touken Matsumoto held sales event open to the public at Hotel Granbois in Noda city. This was the first time for us to host this kind of event in our hometown.

Despite the cold northern winds of Japanese winter, quite a few customers and members of the Token-koza(sword study group) visited the event during the weekend, something for which we are very happy and grateful.

This time, we chose to advertise the event in a community paper called Noda Journal attracting mostly locals but also, through our internet site, some visitors coming from quite far away to look at some very interesting items as well as to catch up with friends while enjoying a common passion.

The next occasion for this type of event in Noda will take place on July 5th and 6th.
I will advertise this not only in the local paper, but extend it to the neighboring cities to attract more sword enthusiasts.

I hope to see you there.

Ningyocho Token Ichi Jan. 29, 2013

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On the 25th of January, we had a sales event in Ningyocho, down town Tokyo. This was the 2nd time we organized such an event in the area, and I was happy to see some familiar faces at the event. Some had come from as far as Nagoya and I was very flattered to see them there. Others had learned about the event via the internet, and had decided to show up and have a look at the items on display.

Events, like the one at Ningyocho, serve as more than an opportunity to sell and buy swords. It is also an opportunity to network, and to find time to discuss things of interest with likeminded people. Because it is a relatively small event, people seem to connect much easier with each other. To me, this is an important part of the sword world and any event like this.

I look forward to this event improving with time and experience. Providing our customers with a richer and more interesting experience as time goes by.
I intend to do my very best to make sure that improvement and inspiration is a constant part of the Ningyocho event, now as well as in the future.