Japanese sword-making is a tradition that goes back centuries, and one that’s carried on to this day. Each sword takes dedication, skill and can take over 18 months to create. The resulting blades can be worth thousands of dollars. So what makes them so expensive?
Becoming a swordsmith in Japan takes a 5-year apprenticeship, and there are only around 180 working smiths today. Master Akihira has been making these swords for 21 years at his studio just outside of Tokyo, Japan.
Japanese swords have always been more than just weapons, they were artworks, status symbols, and throughout history had a huge spiritual importance.
Each sword is a unique artwork and one that is made to be admired as you would a painting. As sheets of steel are folded into each other again and again wood grain-like patterns form, and these patterns coupled with the skill of the swordmaster create a completely unique blade.
Knowing what to look for in each sword is important, characteristics like the angle of the blade and the way the metal is folded could give away the era in which it was made, and even who made it. Every small detail is treated as equally important.
Looking at the months of work that go into creating each blade, it’s easy to see why these swords command such a high price. And as there are less and less sword masters across Japan, these works of art are only going to become more valuable.
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