The shocking work of Japanese modern knife forging skills? What are the secrets of traditional knives?


The Meiji era (AD 1868-1912)

Generally speaking, the knives made from the Meiji Restoration (1868 AD) have all belonged to the “Gendaito”.

In 1876, the new government of Emperor Meiji issued a “hairtorei” to prohibit the people from wearing knives in public. This decree makes it difficult for the knifemith to make a living, and in the end, only a few knivers can continue to engage in this work. Since then, most of the value of traditional Japanese knives is only to be artworks, not actual combat weapons.

During the Meiji Restoration, the new government began to implement the modernization of the Japanese Army and the Navy. Traditional Japanese knives are no longer a practical weapon for modern warfare. Although the officers will still wear a knife, the Japanese have been trying to make the knife adapt to the modern war environment. In 1886, Japan introduced the war knife (GUNTO). The knife of this military knife is very similar to the knife used by the European army, but there are long knife handles and D -shaped hands. It is usually relatively short, with a length of about 60-65 cm. In 1899, Japan began to produce a large number of knives for military use. However, in order to control costs and time, the steel used by these knives was smelted by modern steelmaking factories and forged with modern machines. The blade is quenched with oil, not water. These knives are also called “Murata-TO”, which is one of the heroes to commemorate the establishment of a modern Japanese army.

In 1906, in order to support the traditional Japanese swordsters, Emperor Meiji appointed Yueshan Yueyi and Miyamoto Bao as the “Emperor Room Artist”, that is, the Royal Royal Craftsman. The government has also implemented another measure to nominate and recognize important Japanese knives as national treasures to maintain the public’s interest and understanding of Japanese knives. This measure was implemented since 1897. It was only intended to recognize the Japanese knife collected by the shrine or temple, but in 1929, it expanded the scope of implementation. No matter who the owner is, as long as it is an important Japanese knife, it will be commended.


Modern (so far 1912)

By the early 1920s, the knifemith could no longer be relying on the knife to live, and only a small number of knifers were still engaged in this skill. However, because the technology and knowledge have not been lost, and a few knivers who are still making knives at this time are still inherited by traditional knifers, there are still ways to create a complete traditional Japanese knife at this stage.

In the middle of the Meiji era, Japan expanded sharply in Japan. The Japanese felt that the officers should still wear a hand -made knife created in a traditional way to create a demand for the Japanese knife. In order to rejuvenate the knife technology, Japan has established several organizations, including the “Nihonto Denshujo” and “Nihonto Tanren Kai”. The goals of these organizations are to train new knivers to expand the talent pool of traditional Japanese knives. Another goal is to provide a large number of traditional knives in response to the needs of the Japanese Army and the Navy. At this time, the knife craftsman in Guan City was very actively engaged in the production of Japanese knives.

Japanese knife exercise meeting


In 1933, a group of swordsters forged a Japanese knife forging association in Tokyo called the “Japanese Knife Exercise”. Their purpose is to use traditional materials and 100 % traditional methods to create Japanese knives, and no modern tools such as electric tools are never used.

The association requires members to use the swords created by Nagamitsu in the Kamakura era (1185-1333 AD). The specifications of these knives are very detailed, so that Japanese knives exercise will develop very clear styles, and they can be recognized from appearance and details. This group of “Yasukuni” knifers may be said to be the last traditional knife -making genre. They develop their own unique styles and high -level process quality. According to the records, between 1933 and 1945, these knife craftsmen created 8,100 knives to train about 30 knives and related craftsmen.

The qualified knives trained by the Japanese knife exercise will be the name “Jing”, including “YASUTOKU”, “YASUNORI” and “YASUOKI”.

Japanese knife

Another important organization “Japanese Knife Biography”, which preserves the Japanese knife, was established in 1933. This organization is also located in Tokyo, the founder is Kurihara Yoshiro. The Japanese Parliament (House of Representatives) requested that Kurihara as a member of the Council took action to save the Japanese knife, so he organized the “Japanese Knife Training Institute” in the House in Tokyo, and obviously also contributed to provide funds; You can use this organization to train about 1,000 knivers. Li Yuan, who worked hard for this, became a key figure in preserving the Japanese knife skills movement. He trained about 150 knivers at the Xi Xi, and then opened the “Japanese Knife Academy”, who was also aimed at the purpose of trainer. After the war, most of the knifemiths who have won the title of “National Treasure on the World” are trained by the presence of Xi, or a person who has learned from the arts in the practice to fully show the important position of these organizations established by Li Yuan.

There was no trainee when the Xi was just opened, and Li Yuan advertised in the newspaper to solicit new students. The first person who responded to the advertisement entered the preaching office was Yoshiyuan country. He was the grandfather of Yoshiyuan Yoshiya and Yoshiyuanzhuang. The country was not only the first student, but also later became the head of the Japanese Knife Academy.

The trainees live in the preaching house and are also making knives. When the trainees are recognized and obtained the qualifications of the knife craftsman, the practice institution will give the name containing a name in the name of Li Yuan. Most of the trainees of the practice settlement settled in the name of “Aki”, such as “Akihiro”, “Akitomo”, “Akifusa”, and so on.

Shortly after the establishment of the Xi, it was planned to launch a new knife exhibition in Tokyo, but it could not find a sufficient new sword exhibition. At this time (1934), there were less than 50 traditional swordsters in Japan, but by 1942, the number of swordsmiths had grown. In the list of Japan’s most popular active knife craftsmen published every year, Yueshan Zhenguang was named the most popular knife craftsman in Japan in 1942, while East Japan’s most influential knivesmith

It is Yoshiyuan State


This figure lists many stamps on the Japanese knife during the Second World War. According to the regulations, as long as it is not adopted by traditional jade steel, any knife made of scrap iron or other steel must be added to the knife stems. The stamps listed here often appeared on the knife forgly for the Japanese military people before 1945

Guan Shi has always been the center of the production of Japanese knives, which lasted about 700 years, and belongs to the branch of Mido Chuanzhong. Some people say that most of the knives produced in Japan (1603-1867 AD) are from Guanshi. Guanshi is not large, but at the end of the Meiji period, it is estimated that about half of the 30,000 residents are engaged in the industry -related industries. Guanshi has an institution called “Guanshi Training Institute”. Founded in 1907, it consists of a knifemith and other people who want to promote and protect the traditional knife -making skills. support. In 1933, it was similar to the purpose of the “Japanese Knife Inspection Association” of the “Biography Institute” and the Tokyo Yasukuni Shrine. Guan City also set up a “Japanese Sword Exercise” to train new knifers.


One of the main results caused by the Japanese knife’s large demand for the Japanese army is the production of Showa-TO. Many Japanese knives forging in the Showa period (1926-1989) were called Showa Knife, especially since the early 1930 AD. These knives look like a traditional Japanese knife, but they are forged by the steel of modern steelmaking factories, not jade steel that uses traditional melting. Although the Showa Knife has the shape of a traditional Japanese knife, there may also be blade or hard blade, but anyone who is familiar with the Japanese knife knows that these knives do not have the peculiar knife surface and surface pattern (ground muscle) unique to the Japanese knife. In addition, even if there is a blade text, the quality is different from the traditional Japanese knife forged by Yugang.

Create a Japanese knife with modern steel is much cheaper than using the new jade steel (as far as artificial and materials), these steels are structural steel taken from worn rails or abandoned buildings. Because soldiers must pay for their own money, many people need cheaper alternatives than expensive modern knives forging in traditional ways. A large number of martial arts Showa knives are often excellent quality. They are not those who are deeply involved in Japanese knives. They usually cannot distinguish the difference between a large number of production of Showa knives and traditional forging Japanese knives.

However, the price difference between these knives is very large. A high-quality Japanese knife from the Japanese knife exercise is comparable to the works of some of the best knifers in the early Edo period (the price was about 100-125 yuan at the time). On the other hand, the most sophisticated Showa Knife is about 60 yen of yen, and the price of poor Mohardona is still lower, as long as it is about 25 yuan. In order to make it easier for buyers to identify the Showa knife, the government decided that all non -jade steel forging knives in 1937 must add stamps to the knife stems to indicate non -traditional forging knives. The government also requires that the Showa Knife must complete the actions of the knife stalks on the knife stems by 1940.


The Japanese knife output of Guanshi is the best example of the production scale of the Showa knife during the war. From the end of 1930 to the mid -1940s, Guanshi was shipped out of about 18,000 knives every month to the Japanese Army and the Navy, of which about 17,000 were a large number of Showa knives, and the rest were forged by Yugang Traditional Japanese knife.

Because the Showa knife is a large number of production, in the awareness of ordinary people, the sword made by Japan during the war is not as good as the ancient knife forged in ancient times. In fact, the Japanese knife forged in the war was exquisite in the war, and the ancient knife before the Meiji Restoration was flat.


Japanese knife after World War II

After the end of World War II in 1945, Japan banned the manufacture of any weapons. In addition, the foreign troops who took over began to confiscate all weapons including Japanese knives. The action of confiscating traditional Japanese knives lasted for nearly a year until the US authorities found that traditional swords were not modern weapons, but items with cultural and artistic value. However, during this period, the occupation of the military authorities deposited a considerable number of Japanese knives in the Japanese weapons. Any soldier could bring a knife home as a souvenir. Many soldiers did bring the Japanese knife back to the United States and Europe. Therefore, in the 1950s, the number of Japanese knives in the United States may be much more than Japan.

Because the manufacturing weapon was completely banned, there was no Japanese knife production from 1945 to 1951. Kurihara Saburo, the founder of the “Japanese Knife Boarding Institute”, began to organize a plan, intending to forge 300 new knives to commemorate the end of the end of World War II and the establishment of the United Nations, and these knives will be dedicated to leaders in the world. In 1952, the Japanese government’s quasi -Yan Yan Saburo began this plan. He traveled to Japan in a month to meet with the knifemith and asked them to participate. The plan was to start, and he also completed a few new knives, but Li Yuan died of illness in 1954.

Although the plan ended because of the death of Kurita, it was re -promoted that the swordsmiths forged the Japanese knife in a completely traditional way. Therefore, this plan has extraordinary significance. Many knives began to make knives at the time, including Yoshiyuan’s grandfather Yoshihara, etc., and they said that if it was not Kai Tianyan Saburo prepared this plan, he would not be able to go back to make a knife at all. Yoshihara began to make a knife with his grandfather at that time to help him build a new knife for Li Yuan’s plan.

Since then, although the political and economic situation involved in it is very different from the past, Japan has begun to restore knife -making activities. Nevertheless, the reason why Japan can do in 1952 can also do the Japanese knife, because of all traditional technologies and the knowledge and skills of refining Yugang, they have been preserved intact from the feudal era.