Touken Matsumoto Blog

2015 Jan. 1, 2015

Last month, as my father took a step back as director of the company, I shouldered this responsibility and the tasks that come with it.

It has almost been five years since I started this journey at Touken Matsumoto, and thanks to the staff and people around me, the company and myself are growing steadily.

As a sword trader and a connoisseur, I have still a lot of things to learn before I am at an expert level. However, with the support of my father and other teachers of mine, I feel confident that one day I may realize the goals I have set for myself and for the company.

So, as the new year begins, I look forward to it with great anticipations and would like to thank you as well as wish you all a happy 2015.

Happy holidays

This year is shortly coming to an end and new one will begin in a few days. For me, 2014 has preceded my expectations and I feel very grateful to all our friends and customers. My efforts will continue both in improving our service and to further our relationships and studies. Furthermore, I am looking forward to seeing everyone in 2015. And thus, the only thing that remains is to wish you all happy holidays and a very happy 2015.


Yoshiyuki Matsumoto

The 6th Okinawa Token Ichi

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Last week, Touken Matsumoto hosted the 6th Okinawa Token Ichi in Naha, Okinawa. I saw quite a few familiar faces which warmed my heart, and also many new ones, whom I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time.

Due to a mistake in planning, I was unable to use the same location at the time as I previously used it during the December events. This time, we were 3 weeks early, and therefore, missed the bonus season which affected us and the visitors a little. However, we got to spend some time together, which I think everyone enjoyed.

I also conducted a small lecture for a number of eager enthusiasts at the beginning of their years of studying the Japanese sword, its history and culture. I was impressed by how attentively they were listening to me, which I found most inspiring.

Okinawa was originally its own nation, known as the Ryukyu kingdom. It therefore has no history with the Japanese sword before becoming part of Japan as a nation, during the Edo period. It is therefore important to me to share the knowledge and passion for this part of our culture. I’m confident that in time the interest will become a lot bigger.

Dinner with friends

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Every 6 months or so, my Czech friend comes to Japan and always takes time out of his busy schedule to come and say hello at the shop. This relationship was started 14 years ago and he is now like family to my father and I. He always seems eager to learn new things and to share news and happiness during his stay in Japan.

In the later years, he has brought some of his students to help them learn more about the traditional aspects of Japan, and we sometimes go out to eat at a nearby Sushi restaurant.

I hope that this relationship will continue for a long time and that they will continue to learn and share their knowledge.

Dai Token Ichi 2014 conclusion Nov. 8, 2014

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The Dai Token Ichi 2014 has ended, and I feel both grateful and happy that it was such a success.

I would like to express my thanks to everyone that visited us, and to the kind customers that brought us snacks and little treats, as well as the customers and friends from abroad.

Last year, the weather gods sent us a Typhoon which slowed business for most of the traders. This year, however, the weather was much better and it seems so was the business for many.

I have only attended this annual event for the last 4 years, but my father has attended each one since the beginning, and said this is the best year he can remember.

Over the years, all the sword traders that attend have taken their preparations and planning further and their efforts have improved the event and its success.

In conclusion, this year can be summed up with the words success and gratitude. And, I intend to further my efforts in the coming years to ensure the event’s quality and success.

Dai Token Ichi 2014

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The 1st of November is the start of the 3day event known as Dai Token Ichi. It is the largest sword event in Japan and a good opportunity for enthusiasts to explore and further their knowledge about the Japanese sword.

This year, Touken Matsumoto contributed to the organizing of the event by translating the catalog that showcases some of the swords, to English.
In a week or so, a simplified English version of the catalog will be downloadable from the homepage of the All Japan Sword Traders Association.

The job of translating was rather time consuming, but we hope the finished item will contribute to the experience of the event and further the enthusiasm for Japanese swords and their fittings.

The 4th Noda Token Ichi Jul. 14, 2014

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Last weekend, we hosted the 4th Noda Token Ichi at the Hotel Granbois. It was a 3 day sales event.
I had worried about the impact of the 8th Typhoon, but it seemed to grace us with its absence. Instead we had clear skis and high temperatures.

The outcome of the event was successful beyond our expectations. I attribute the success to the fact that our business is based in Noda. Lately, I have also seen a trend of new magazines on Nihonto for sale in shops. It seems to me like the increase in the business is an indication that Japanese economy may be on the rebound.

I would like to express my gratitude to all the customers and visitors, that showed up despite the heat. Some of you came and stayed until we closed for the day. Some came all of the 3 days, and some of you found items of interest that you purchased each time.

It was lovely to see so many people with such enthusiasm during the weekend, and it makes my heart warm.

The next event we will host will be the 5th Noda Token Ichi, in January 2015.

Article about the 5th Okinawa Token Ichi Jul. 04, 2014

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In last week’s issue of ‘JAPAN UPDATE WEEKLY’, there was an article about the Touken Ichi hosted in Naha by us. It made me happy to read their impressions of the event, as I am always interested in feedback and the perspective of others.
I have come to understand that it is through this paper that many of the foreigners living in Okinawa have found out about our events in the past. And, I am very grateful for the coverage and interest shown us through the efforts of many different individuals.

The 5th Okinawa Token Ichi Jul. 2, 2014

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During the weekend that passed, the 5th Okinawa Token Ichi was successfully concluded. More than 100 people visited the event during the 3 days it was held. All of them, seriously interested in the Japanese sword and its fittings. Many familiar faces were seen among the visitors, and I am grateful that people keep coming back.
On the 3rd day (Sunday), I held a basic lesson on the Japanese sword and its history, and was very happy to see many young people in the room, listening to the information I shared.

Okinawa does not have any sword dealers of its own, and traditionally, doesn’t share the culture of the Japanese sword, but shows great interest and enthusiasm for the sword and the culture surrounding it. It made my heart warm hearing people say, ‘Thank you for organizing this event’, or seeing the happiness in the eyes of someone who just purchased his first blade. It inspires me to work harder and to make the next event even better.

Though other events may be more profitable for sword dealers, I enjoy spreading enthusiasm among likeminded people, and Okinawa has a special place in my heart. Therefore, this journey of love for the Japanese sword, is something I intend to continue to bring to Okinawa in the future as well.

The 6th Ningyocho Token Ichi Jun. 2, 2014

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This weekend, we had a 3 day sales event in Ningyocho, Tokyo.

It was the 6th time since 2012. Last time, we had a lot of snow. This time however, the weather was quite warm and more people came to the event.

We had a really nice time with our friends and customers, some of which, visited twice, staying for a long time.

I was very impressed by some of the sword related conversations, and felt like I learned a lot from listening to the things mentioned by the people around me.

Sometimes, customers with whom we’ve had a long relationship will bring a snack to the event as a little treat. This time, a friend brought ‘Atsuyaki-tamago’ (a Japanese style omelet) that was so incredibly tasty, I wanted it all for myself, but was forced to share it with the others. It was one of the factors that made the event feel so much more intimate and familiar to us and the other visitors.

The next event we will host is on Okinawa at the end of June.

Apprenticeship and refinement Apr. 27, 2014

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On Apr. 27th, I finished my first 3years of apprenticeship under the highly regarded Watanabe Taeko Sensei.

It has been a pleasure to study with her and I look forward to the next year of her lessons.

On graduation day, she gave us some advice to ponder.
She said that in order to grow, we have to cultivate a deep sense of refinement. This means, that we have to become more refined in person to be able to recognize truly refined craftsmanship. It is a never ending process full of constant attention to detail and character that will eventually bare fruit, if it is conducted in the proper way.

Sword lecture in English Mar. 14, 2014

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This was the second time I held a lecture at our shop in Noda. A group of American and Irish enthusiasts showed up, listening to me.
I have held many lectures in front of Japanese groups, but this time every one attending was from abroad.

My lecture was centered on how to determine the Era, place and maker of a sword, depending on its characteristics in general shape as well as in its details.

The Japanese sword has changed size and shape at certain points in history; this was due to the practical combat demands of the specific era it was made in.

It is my hope and wish that through sharing my knowledge, the understanding and enjoyment of the Japanese sword will spread to many enthusiasts within and outside Japan.
I am very happy that we all have the love and interest for the Japanese sword in common, and that it is drawing us closer.

The 5th Ningyocho Token Ichi Feb. 11, 2014

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This weekend, we hosted the 5th Ningyocho Token Ichi.

Due to the worst snow fall in the last 45 years, a lot of the train service stopped, and the roads were more or less un-drivable for anyone without snow tires.
Still, Friday saw a lot of customers and friends arriving for the event. This made me very happy and grateful.
Understandably, many people were unable to come on Saturday and Sunday, due to the weather, but it warmed my heart that they called me on the phone, and spoke to me of why they were not able to come.
The most impressive were the people that defied the snow storm and showed up anyway, staying for a longer time waiting for others to also arrive. I felt encouraged and privileged to have these people in my life.

Despite the weather, this was a great weekend for me.

Noda Token Ichi Jan. 14, 2014

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This was the 3rd time we hosted this local event.
All of the three days, we were lucky enough to have clear blue skies, and I think this was part of the reason so many visitors showed up. Not only old friends, but there were some new enthusiasts that came and shared in the experience. I tried to inform and help as many people as I was able to, and I’m confident that keeping this event coming, every 6 months, will help further the knowledge and love for the Japanese sword.
The result was a bit better than I had first expected, and it seems like Japanese economy getting stronger, may be part of the reason why.