NBTHK Taikai 2001
NBTHK 2001 Kantei Kai Swords and Info Click here 


Sept 8-9 2001. Around  600 people attended the National Sword convention held by the NBTHK at the ShinKobe Oriental Hotel. In celebration for the "rebirth" of Kobe , the Japanese city that was severely damaged in a major earthquake  in 1995. This was the 41st convention held by the NBTHK, and as usual it was a great success. Many excellent swords were on display with a very rare opportunity to be able to have a "hands on" chance for study. Most of the swords that were on display ranged from Juyo-Token up to Juyo Bunkazai. To provide a better understanding of Japanese swords, there was an example of every  time period as well as School on display. Signed examples were used for the Juyo-Token, with mainline Soshu being unsigned. There were also 6 swords that were never shown in public before, giving everyone a chance to enjoy a very rare sword. To create a smooth flow of "traffic", the Koto room was divided into 2 sections with Yamashiro on one side with others, and BIzen on the opposite side. Shinto and Shinshinto had their own room on a different floor. Shinsaku-to, modern kinko-shi and koshirae makers in another room. Kodogu and Koshirae was in a special viewing room, but without "hands on" study. The Kantei kai (sword identification challenge) was held in a separate room on Saturday only.


Some of the swords in the Koto room (98 pcs in all) were: Rai Minamoto Kunitoshi - Juyo Bijutsuhin, Tegai Kanenaga - Juyo Bijutsuhin, Soshu Hiromitsu - Juyo Bijutsuhin, Nobufusa - Juyo Bunkazai, Ichimonji - Juyo Bijutsuhin, Nagamitsu - Juyo Bijutsuhin, Kagemitsu - Juyo Bijutsuhin, Katsumitsu - Juyo Bijutsuhin, Kunimitsu - Juyo Bunkazai, Sa - Juyo Bunkazai and Sa Hiroyuki - JuyoBijutsuhin. The remainder were made up of Tokubetsu Juyo-Token and Juyo-Token. All of the swords were in fantastic condition and were very healthy examples for each maker. What was very impressive to some of my friends that had attended for the first time, was the fact that many of the Koto blades were so heavy and healthy!!! They said that they have never seen such examples in America, most  that they have seen are tired worn out examples of Kamakura period blades. 

3 swords from the Minatogawa Jinja were also on display- Kurihara Nobuhide Katana, dated "Meiji San nen Juichi Gatsu Hi" possession of the Meiji Emperor, Mito Rekko Katana and a Koyama Munetsugu Katana.

In the Shinto-Shinshinto room was a dazzling display of everything that you always wanted in a Shinto/Shinshinto sword. Wide, heavy, healthy examples ranging from the famous Sukehiro to of course, Kiyomaro were on display. Shinkai, Kotetsu, a very rare Hansho, Tadayoshi, Kunikane, Nobuhide, Naotane, Masahide, Sa Yukihide....well you get the idea.

My personal favorite in the Shinto room was a 30" long, very wide Ippei Yasuyo Katana that looked like it was still on its first polish. Designated as a Tokubestu Juyo-Token, this sword had all of the class of any sword in the room. Text book in deki, this sword was so outstanding to me, it will be one of my best memories from this trip!!!.

Over 66 pieces of kodogu were on display in the fittings and koshirae room. 5 pieces of Somin, 8 pieces of Natsuo in addition to the mainline Goto masters were on display. 18 pieces of Kamakura and Nanbokucho period fittings and koshirae were also displayed which is a very rare chance to see those that survived from that time period.

In the Shinsaku and modern craftsman room, there were on display some very nice swords and koshirae made by the very best that Japan offers today. Also on display were some kodogu made by some very highly talented modern day kodogu artist. It was nice to not only see the swords themselves, but to be able to talk with the actual artist made it much more special and informative. I had a chance to talk with Gassan Sadatoshi, Yoshindo Yoshihara (Swordsmiths) and Nakata Ikuo (Habakishi- Brian Tschernega's Teacher).

The Kantei Kai was held only Saturday and had over 200 participants.

After the events for the day were over on Saturday, everyone attended the banquet which was included with the attendance fee for the Taikai. The room was filled almost to capacity, and it was great being able to talk with friends about their favorites of the day. The food was fantastic and the entertainment was a great surprise- they had a local group perform a "shishi mai" or lion dance. For those of you that have ever wanted to attend such a convention, I can personally tell you any student or collector of Japanese Swords should attend at least once in your life!!!!

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