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Japanese Swords Japanese Swords: Cultural Icons of a Nation Cultural Icons of a Nation
Synopses & Reviews
andlt;bandgt;Historically, Japanese warriors considered their swords to be far greater than simple weaponry.andlt;/bandgt; Their swords were both lethal tools and divine companions and#8212; social and religious icons. Traditionally worn by the samurai as a sign of social status, the Japanese sword represented the junction between the reigning military class and those whom they ruled. Moreover, the samurai sword was a technological and artistic marvel. Many scholars consider it to be the finest sword ever constructed.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;In terms of symbolism and historical importance, no other blade comes close to the Japanese sword. With a historical, iconographical, and technological perspective, author Cohn M. Roach provides an in-depth study of these magnificent weapons in andlt;iandgt;Japanese Swords.andlt;/iandgt;andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt; This richly illustrated sword book weaves the blade's primary influences together, tracking its history and illuminating its progress from infancy to grandeur. By studying the evolution of the Japanese sword from this perspective, we better understand Japan and its warrior archetype.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Combining research materials from multiple disciplines, Roach uses his expertise as an educator to guide readers through the sword's rise to greatness in a unique way. This book discusses the history, development, and spiritual symbolism of the sword, as well as the esoteric metallurgical techniques used in making it. It also covers the difficult training practices used by skilled swordsmen.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;Through exhaustive research, Roach has collaborated with several top-level artisans, historians, and martial arts experts in completing andlt;iandgt;Japanese Swordsandlt;/iandgt;. In addition to a foreword by acclaimed martial arts teacher and author Nicklaus Suino and a sidebar by Mukansa-level polisher Abe Kazunori, andlt;iandgt;Japanese Swordsandlt;/iandgt; includes rare looks into the world of Mukansa-level Japanese swordsmiths Kawachi Kunihira and Gassan Sadatoshi. Hundreds of stunning high-resolution photos complement Japanese Swords, and the book also includes a companion DVD featuring a beautifully-filmed documentary that explores the traditional swordmaker's craft. The DVD also contains an introduction to the Japanese sword at a sword shop in Kyoto and a visit to a dojo for a beginner's class in the medieval sword-drawing art called iaido.
"Roach, a student of both iaido and aikido and a dedicated sword-enthusiast, passionately dissects the symbolic essence of the sword throughout history, emphasizing changes in social significance, technological influence, and iconography. The erudite prose is ameliorated by design, modern swordsmanship, traditional artwork, illustrative photos, and etiquette. Historical periods are elegantly punctuated with ornate depictions, highlighting shifts in katana design and value from early periods to the current interpretation of ancient disciplines. Roach's own deep-rooted interest and involvement in the subject ensures a seamless blend of historical and religious themes, as well as much 'sword appreciation' (the author champions his comrades in promoting traditional craftsmanship and confronts the contemporary dilemma of commercial fraud and shameless profiteering). In order to truly understand the Japanese sword in its entirety one must, Roach suggests, appreciate the 'unique sociological, spiritual, and metallurgical environment in which it evolved.' With this at the core of his book, he vividly tracks the fundamental transition from the sword as a mythological instrument to a functional tool for war, and finally to the display art commodity it is today. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Book News Annotation:
With stunning color illustrations, Roach, a Utah educator who is an avid student of Japanese culture and martial arts, introduces the traditional Japanese sword and swordsmanship in historical, technological, and cultural context. With a passion for preserving this tradition, he covers swords in the early, Nara, medieval, Edo, and modern periods. The book includes poems, a bibliography, and a DVD featuring a documentary on traditional sword making, scenes from an iaido (martial art) class, and a Kyoto's shop introduction to the Japanese sword. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The History, Metallurgy and Iconography of the Samurai Sword
Author Colin M. Roach collaborated with top-level artisans, historians, and martial arts experts to create a unique, in-depth study of these magnificent weapons from a historical, iconographical, and technological perspective. In addition to a foreword by seventh degree iaido black belt Nicklaus Suino and a sidebar by Mukansa-level polisher Abe Kazunori, Japanese Swords includes rare looks into the world of Mukansa-level swordsmiths Kawachi Kunihira and Gassan Sadatoshi. Complemented by hundreds of stunning high-resolution photos and a DVD, Japanese Swords is a must-have addition to any Japanophile's library.
Author Colin M. Roach collaborated with top-level artisans, historians, and martial arts experts to create a unique, in-depth study of these magnificent weapons from a historical, iconographical, and technological perspective. In addition to a foreword by seventh degree iaido black belt Nicklaus Suino and a sidebar by Mukansa-level polisher Abe Kazunori, andlt;iandgt;Japanese Swordsandlt;/Iandgt; includes rare looks into the world of Mukansa-level swordsmiths Kawachi Kunihira and Gassan Sadatoshi. Complemented by hundreds of stunning high-resolution photos and a DVD, andlt;iandgt;Japanese Swordsandlt;/Iandgt; is a must-have addition to any Japanophile's library.
About the Author
Colin M. Roach, M. Ed. lives in the high mountains of Utah with his wife and three sons. He is a private school administrator at Wasatch Academy. Four generations of familial connection to Japan have fueled Mr. RoachÆs passionate study of JapanÆs archetypal warrior culture. In addition to his academic study of sword-related symbolism, he has trained with some of the top teachers of aikido and iaido in Japan and America. His previous publications include: Katsujin Ken, The Sword of Compassion, Why Do Wise Old Men Whittle Sticks?, and The Yama Oroshi Dojo and the art of Traditional Japanese Swordsmanship.
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