Question about "fake" katanas in japan

Joined
Apr 26, 2005
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I've been trying to do some research on Japan's sword making policies and the NTHK. On the NTHK website, they imply that a swordsmith has to be certified by the NTHK to make a katana, and the katana has to apply to their restrictions. Is the NTHK's regulations backed by the japanese government?
Also, this makes it sound like it is illegal to make any sword in japan unless it is a true katana made by a certified swordsmith. No mass produced cheapies?
 
Joined
Mar 13, 2005
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I don't fully understand it myself but FWIW (hopefully someone will come along later and add to or correct my thoughts).
Any object that could be used to kill/maim is essentially illegal. Nihonto get around this by being part of the cultural heritage and are thus considered cultural/art objects.

Certified smiths must have trained a number of years under a qualified smith and then receive a license (not sure how the testing works - my guess is the teacher handles it but with official oversight). The blades must be made in as traditional a manner as possible (though there are certainly modern conveniences) including use of tamehagane smelted in NBHTK tatara. There is another term (I don't remember it) for steel smelted by the smith which can also be included.

Swordsmithing is a VERY unprofitable business which is why so many smiths now and centuries ago produce other tools, from gardening utensils to kitchen knives. Many smiths are rather unknown and there are swords intended more for martial arts use (or at least less as an art object) which hover around the 200,000 to 500,000 yen mark....
Recent SFI thread: Where to buy shinken/shinsakuto?

So yes, no mass-produced cheapies, that's for China :D. P.S. I do believe there were quite a few tourist swords made (and likely STILL made) in just about every culture that had them (from the Victorian overly heavy reproductions of presentation two-handers to the recent 33 lb Kukri :jerkit:).

Edit: pay attention to the Rich S and not me.
 
Joined
Sep 23, 2005
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It is the Japanese gov't that regulates swordsmiths, not the NTHK or NBTHK.
Only two swords a month (katana) per smith. The only other type of
swords permitted in Japan are non-sharpenable alloy blades. There is a lot
of speculation that more swords are made and sold "under the table",
but I can't verify that.

Rich S
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2004
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senoBDEC said:
So yes, no mass-produced cheapies, that's for China :D. P.S. I do believe there were quite a few tourist swords made (and likely STILL made) in just about every culture that had them (from the Victorian overly heavy reproductions of presentation two-handers to the recent 33 lb Kukri :jerkit:).

Not to hijack the thread, but a 33 lb. khukuri? Holy crap! Got a pic of that?
 
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