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Touken Matsumoto Blog

Japanese Sword Lecture. December 18, 2016

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We held the monthly sword lecture at the shop.This time we invited Myoga Sensei.

 

The first half of the lecture, Myoga Sensei explained the difference between Koto and Shinto.
Koto are old swords made before the Edo Period.
Shinto are swords made during the Edo Period.
Koto were made in production areas with the materials to make them (Bizen and others). By contrast Shinto were made in the area where demand was high (Osaka, Edo, Hizen, Satsuma, Kaga etc).

 

The last part of  the lecture, we were able to appreciate six outstanding swords.
These swords were all made during the Muromachi Period in Osafune, Bizen Province.

 

Number 1: Made by Norimitsu from Osafune, Bizen Province on a day in August 1430.
Number 2: Made by Sukemitsu from Osafune Bizen Procince on a day in August 1444.
Number 3: Made by Tadamitsu from Osafune Bizen Province on a day in February 1486.
Number 4: Made by Sukesada from Osafune Bizen Province on an auspicious day in February 1513.
Number 5: Made by Shinjuro Sukesada from Osafune Bizen Province on a day in August 1582.
Number 6: Made by Jiumon no Jo Kiyomitus from Osafune Bizen Province on an auspicious day in August 1572.

 

Aftre the time for the sword appreciation we enjoyed dinner bento together .We discusssed the Dai Token Ichi Event and Myoga Sensei told us stories about his teacher Shibata Mitsuo Sensei.
We all enjoyed aur time very much.

Adding a new category. December 11, 2016

Touken Matsumoto would like to announce that we have recently added a new category entitled “Other” under the “Fittings” tag on our website.

We will start posting various goods for sale under “Other” such as jutte, small knives, tsukamae, hanging scrolls, armor and so on. Here, we will endeavor to create a comprehensive product lineup by providing images and simple comments for each product.

 

Thank you very much for your continued support.

The Lecture of Sword Polishing. November 28, 2016

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The theme of the 6th Token Lecture was sword polishing.
As the same as last year, the lecturer was the polisher named Kawakami Yoichiro.

He explained how to polish and the process of using sharpening stones “toishi’. He used seven different sharpening stones appropriate for various conditions of the blade.
The students who participated enjoyed his lecture and asked many questions.

During the second half of the class was about sword appreciation.
Udagawa Sensei carefully explained about kataochi-gunome hamon of Kanemitsu, Sudareba-hamon by Yoshimichi, and Imozuru of Satsuma blades.

 

The students all appeared to be satisfied with the explanations and class.

 

The Dai Token Ichi 2016 successfully Finished. November 21, 2016.

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The Dai Token Ichi of this year has been successfully completed. The number of visitors was nearly 3,000 people. This number is slightly increased compared to the year before. I feel a lot of the sword traders were smiling with the large turnout. As a member of the organizing group, this time we changed the rules where instead of a couple requiring two separate tickets to enter the event, we allowed couples to enter with only one ticket. We also changed the lottery system where before the items that could be won were of lower value, but this year it was budgeted to include better and more expensive items that could be won. These changes were much appreciated by the visitors. At this year’s event there were three TV crews walking around and conducting interviews with the visitors. Next year’s Event will be November 17-19 and is scheduled the same place, the Tokyo Bijutsu Club.

English translation of Dai Token Ichi catalog October 31, 2016

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On October 31st I submitted the English translation of the Dai Token Ichi catalog. I grew worried about how I could translate all of it because our international staff returned to his country. However, my American friend agreed to support my efforts. Some international visitors have been waiting for the English translation of this catalog. Because of my friends huge support I was able to complete the work on time. Please take a look at the catalog and I hope the English translation will help international visitors to better understand all the items. Please see the link below;
http://www.zentosho.com/daitokenichi/pdf/the_annual_dai_token_ichi_2016.pdf

 

26th Annual Jyuyo Examination Nov. 8, 2016

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The result of the 26th Jyuyo Examination arrived. This year one Tachi which was Mei ‘Jitsua’ passed the examination. I remember when I purchased this blade about 5 years ago. The previous owner was related to an old Feudal Daimiyo family and I overpriced the blade otherwise he would not have sold it to me.  This year 888 blades were submitted to the Examination but only 149 blades were able to pass. Only 14 of the blades that passed were made after the Shinto Era. As a sword trader, finding a good sword that might pass a high examination is a good feeling of success.

Chiba Token Ichi has successfully completed October 11, 2016

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This Event was announced to over 1.4 million subscribers through the Yomiuri and Chiiki Shimbun. Although I expected a fine day, unfortunately the weather was raining. When I left my hotel that morning I started to worry about the oncoming bad weather. However, despite the rain many visitors came to the event, even more than I had anticipated. I did not have much time to say thank you to all the friends who visited from far away. I found myself busy with greeting oncoming visitors. Since the Event location was only 2 minutes from the Chiba train station and provided ample parking, and our ad agency did an outstanding job, we had a great turn out. I really appreciate the assistance of the ad agency. I would like to hold the Chiba Token Ichi periodically and make every effort to ensure it continues being successful.

We will schedule the next Event April 2017, on the 7th, 8th, and 9th at the same location, Keiyo Ginko Bunka Plaza in Chiba City.

Japanese sword course September 18, 2016

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For the Sword Course this month, we invited Myouga Sensei to attend as the instructor. We were able to appreciate some well noted swords; 4 swords of Hizen Koku Tadayoshi, aka ”Goji Tadayoshi “ and 1 sword of “Mutsu no Kami Tadayoshi, aka “Sandai Mutsu”.
One sword had been evaluated as an important piece of art (recognized by the government), one sword had been evaluated as Tokubetsu Juyo Token, and the others were Juyo Token.

It was a great opportunity to appreciate these great works. Awesome!!

Ningyocho Token Ichi September 25, 2016

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This weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the 13th Event for the Ninjyocho Token Ichi was held. Despite of the bad weather and rain, a lot of patrons visited the Event. One visitor said to me that “the items that are displayed are getting better each time, and this time was the best so far. I am happy to visit today.” I was happy to hear that.

We will schedule the New Year’s Sales Event next.
I hope that the next event will be even better yet. 

Dai Token Ichi 2016 Annual Event Sep. 14, 2016

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Yesterday the staff members of the Dai Token Ichi had a meeting to check the first edition of the 2016 catalog for the event that will be held in November.We carefully checked the catalog item by item in order to make sure everything is correct and to ensure no mistake were made. The staff members are very busy during this season in the behind-the-scenes work in order to be successful. Last night after the long meeting, we went to Izakaya to celebrate. I really hope for a big turn out for this year’s event.

⭐️ Order system fixed Aug. 15, 2016

We became aware that a program error on our order page was preventing orders from being processed properly between August 1-15. This error has now been fixed. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused to our customers.

The 9th Okinawa Sword Show July 11, 2016

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The 9th Okinawa Sword Show was held over a three-day weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. First of all, I was concerned with the approach of the violent typhoon but fortunately the weather diverted its course toward Taiwan.

This event has taken place every 6 months for the past 4 years with Mr. Yamada of Santoryu. Also this time Mr. Fijita of Kanda Tokodo joined us in cheer. We did our best in trying to find and increase people who loves Japanese swords in Okinawa.
The number of visitors set a record high and I was happy to see many familiar faces including the repeat customers who made some purchases.

Also I help consult with a local Japanese sword enthusiast. He plans to open a Japanese sword shop in Naha City near the event place, Okinawa Culture & Entertainment Museum, Tenbusu Naha. I hope to be able to continue contributing to him.

Kachushi Tsuba Jun. 30, 2016

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When I put “Muromachi Era” for the “Era” in the explanation of the “Hozon Tosogu Tsuba Mumei (Kachushi)” shown on our website, a customer pointed out that “If it’s Muromachi Era, it should say ‘Ko-Kachushi’ on the NBTHK certificate”, and so I checked with an NBTHK screening committee member.

It seems that not all pre-Edo Era works are sure to have “Ko-” attached to them, but (in principle) it seems that they apply “Ko-Kachushi” for Murumachi Era works and “Kachushi” for Edo Era works.

Incidentally, it seems that the default assumption is that “Owari” and “Kyozukashi” are  Muromachi Era. When a work is through thought to be from the Edo Era, they assign “Owari (Edo Era)” and “Kyozukashi (Edo Era)”, respectively.

This was a learning experience. I’m grateful that it was pointed out to me.

 

Interview for J:Com TV Program Jun. 20, 2016

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I was interviewed for a TV program by J:COM (Jupiter Telecom, Inc.).

This program discovers local spots while strolling around, where local-born entertainer / compass and model Mao Takizawa-san says, “Matsudo  @ Nagareyama @ Noda DO-local Line ~ local-love TV~”. They appeared suddenly, without notice, so it was a spontaneous interview. My shoulders tensed strongly as I tried to convey the beauty of the Japanese sword in an unplanned interview.
I’m told it will broadcast in August.

http://www.myjcom.jp/tv/channel/kanto/doro_karu.html

6th Annual Japanese Sword Lectures Jun. 19, 2016

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The 6th annual (10 times total) Japanese Sword Lectures have started.

With many attendees such as women fascinated with Japanese swords and those who enjoy Iai, as well as repeat attendees who also attended last year, the number exceeded our capacity for 15 people. Our shop meeting room, but I’ll make my best efforts to help you understand the splendour of the Japanese sword.

Shinsaku Meito Awards Ceremony Jun. 14, 2016

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Today, we all went on an information-gathering trip to the 2016 Shinsaku Meito Awards Ceremony of The Society for Preservation of Japanese Art Swords.

I’m happy to have had the opportunity to meet the most prominent modern swordsmiths (those of Mukansa rank and those aspiring to Mukansa rank) gathered for the occasion. Screening committee member Swordsmith Miyairi gave a review, which was very informative in terms of giving a good understanding of the perspective on sword making in each of the works reviewed.

Also, Swordsmith Shigenori Ozawa, who gives swordsmithing lectures in the lectures held at our office, received an award for his efforts in the Tanto / Ken Division this year.
Swordsmith Takano, a teacher to whom we’re constantly indebted, was present as well, making it a very familiar awards ceremony.

The works will be on display at the Japanese Sword Museum until July 24.

 

Website Programmer Apr. 11, 2016

Our staff held a welcome dinner party with Gray-san, who we are contracting for development of our company’s website and who was visiting Japan with his family.

It’s already now 4 years since we first requested Gray-san for system development. He’s an excellent programmer who meets nearly all of our demands and who has skilfully transformed our internet order system. 2 years ago, we were at a loss when we heard that he would move to New Zealand due to the birth of his child, but using Skype we’ve been able to proceed with business as usual.

The other day, there was a serious problem with the website due to the delay in renewal of the Symantec security certificate, which he handled respectfully. He’s a diligent person who made the utmost effort to respond to the issue as soon as possible.

We’ll continue to move forward working together to develop an even more functional website.

Apology for difficulty accessing our site Apr. 9, 2016

Visitors to our site today saw the following warning message appear in their browsers.

The cause of this message was an error in responding to the expiry of the Symantec SSL security certificate that was installed on the server on Apr 9, 2015. Please be assured that the reason for the warning message was not suspicious. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and concern that this caused to our customers.

We installed the server security certificate with the intention of strengthening the security of our website and to lead the sword trade in the encryption of authentication and data transmission, but experienced an error related to the expiration of the security certificate, which has been an embarrassment. We are currently making our utmost efforts to resolve this situation. We sincerely apologize for any temporary inconvenience this may cause and thank you very much for your patience and understanding.

Warning message that appeared to site users:

There is a problem with the security certificate for this website. The security certificate that has been presented by this web page has expired or is invalid. The security certificate that has been presented by this web page was issued for another website address. The problem with the security certificate could indicate fraud or the intention to steal information sent from the computer you are using to the server. It is recommended that you close this web page and do not view this website.

11th Sales Event in Ningyocho, Tokyo Mar. 14, 2016

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Our 11th sales event in Ningyocho, Tokyo was held on a 3-day weekend, beginning Friday, March 11.

Due to our past February sales events being frequently hit by snow, we moved this year’s event to March in anticipation of a cheerful Spring. Despite this, unfortunately, the weather reverted to midwinter cold. However, this didn’t affect our customers’ feet as the event was a bustling success from start to finish.

There were customers who came for the first time after having seen the advertisements on our website, an energetic regular customer from far away who comes to every event in Ningyocho and is always the first one in the door, an avid regular customer who put in 12 consecutive days at work in order to take all 3 days off and come to the event each day, regular customers who always bring delicious cakes, etc. It was a congenial Japanese sword salon event despite the confined space at the venue.

The Ningyocho sales event being packed with things to learn, the next one will be held over three days from Friday, September 23. I’d love to see you all there!

Lecture by S. Ozawa, Swordsmith Feb. 27, 2016

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This month’s lecture on Japanese swords was given by the swordsmith Shigenori Ozawa.

Mr. Ozawa, age 48, lives in Ashigarayama, Kanagawa Prefecture, and is a disciple of Yukimitsu Takano. He became certified as a swordsmith in 2005 and has been chosen as the winner at many modern Japanese sword exhibitions. He works with a new modern method of tempering swords which does not involve Tsuchioki (putting earth on the blade during the tempering process).
This was his second lecture, following his February lecture of last year, so there was a very relaxed, at-home atmosphere, and he explained about sword smithing while exchanging stories of daily struggles. Questions flew one after the other, and the allotted time of 1 hour was over in a flash.

The second half of the time was given to sword appreciation. Participants listened attentively to the explanations of Udagawa Sensei and they appear to have absorbed new knowledge.

A Visit to Kyoto Feb. 24, 2016

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I went to visit Kyoto this winter.

This makes the third consecutive year that I’ve visited Kyoto at this season, February, with my great mentor in the sword business, Mochida-san. Since it has a deep sword culture related to Japanese history, I wanted to see this with my own eyes rather than only boast about having visited on a school trip in my youth. Mochida-san, being very knowledgeable, explains things to me that deepen my understanding.

This year, among other places, we visited “Uji Byodoin Shrine”, which is depicted on the back side of the 10-yen coin, “Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine”, which has 1,000 red Torii gates and was chosen as Japan’s Number 1 tourist spot for foreigners in 2014, as well as “Nanzenji Temple” and “Kyoto Gyoen Park”.

We also visited the “Tamayama Meishi-to Kyoto Branch” sword trader in Kyoto Higashiyama, and that night we enjoyed the delicious Kyoto cuisine with the young shop owner Tamayama-san.

I returned home greatly refreshed.

Setsubun greetings Feb. 4, 2016

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Yesterday was a day known as Setsubun in Japan. To celebrate this, we have a ritual where we throw beans into the rooms of our houses and shout ‘Demons out, fortune in’.

We also stick an ornament made of the head of a sardine and the leaf of a Hiiragi, holly to door posts or gate ways.

This year, to further improve our luck and prosperity, we also put up an Omamori, lucky charm, on the wall facing south in our office. These Omamori can only be attached to the wall, at midnight, of 3 different days. These are known as Toji (the shortest day of the year), Omisoka (the last day of the year) and on Setsubun (3rd of February).

The Omamori in our office comes from Ana Hachimangu shrine, in Tokyo. It is said that when they broke the ground to build this shrine, a cave was discovered, in which they found a statue of Amida-buddha. This was seen as a good omen and thus the shrine was named ‘Ana; cave, Hachimangu. To this day many people still come to this shrine to pray for luck and prosperity.

With this, I would like to wish all our subscribers, friends and customers the best of luck and good health for the remainder of the year.

 

 

The 7th Noda Token Ichi Jan. 20, 2016

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On the 15th January we hosted the 7th Noda Token Ichi at Hotel Granbois. It was a 3 day event and all 3 days offered a beautiful weather to the visitors. On the following Monday, however, there was a heavy snow fall covering the city in a white blanket. I felt very fortunate that we managed to conclude the event before the snow started covering the roads.

 

Noda is our hometown as well as the place where some of our most skilled customers reside. Many of them have, over many years, developed an impressive level of skill at appraisal. They seem to have developed a special fondness for items over the Josaku level. As we were able to provide them with some interesting items to their taste, this event became the most successful to date.

I was especially happy to receive a telephone call from a valued customer expressing his happiness with a purchase of a sword.

 

It is my feeling that these events will continuously increase in popularity, as we are able to provide items that pleases our customers.

 

Happy New Year! January 1, 2016

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I would like to express my gratitude to everyone for the year that has passed.
Through your support, we continue to evolve and grow.
We will continue to do our at most to keep you enthusiastic and satisfied with our services during the year of 2016 as well.
We pray for your support during this year and into the future.

The pictures attached to this New Year’s message are taken in Yamanashi and depict the first sunrise of the year and Mt. Fuji as well as the first cloudless sky at Yatsugatake mountains.

All the best for 2016.

 

Yoshiyuki Matsumoto and all the staff at Touken Matsumoto