1867 the samurai class was abolished in Japan. The Meiji Restoration
redefined the class system and brought Japan into the modern era. To
most people the Samurai are a footnote in history or larger than life
figures on the cinema screen. Nihonzashi is the Japanese name for
a samurai who wears two swords. They wore two swords as a badge of their
office and while the samurai are gone - their history and their legacy
remain. We at Nihonzashi are dedicated to keeping that legacy alive.
We teach Toyama Ryu Japanese
Swordsmanship in St Petersburg Florida and our online shop offers the
same samurai swords we use in the dojo. There are plenty of
internet sword shops out there, but we bring practical knowledge that
comes from years of studying swordsmanship.
Even in an age of advanced weapons there is still a fascination with
the sword. Japanese swordsmanship is no longer a matter of life
and death. Those who study swordsmanship today are drawn into the
art for various reasons. We dedicate ourselves to keep an ancient
art alive in a world were it has no use. The nature of the samurai
changed after the battle of Sekigahara in 1600 when Tokugawa Ieyasu
defeated his rivals. It was the beginning of the Edo period and
the unification of the country. The highly tuned combat skills of
the samurai were redirected in other directions. The skills of the
battlefield were changed into martial arts. Toyama Ryu is based on
the training regime created in 1925 for the Japanese military academy.
The long tradition of carrying the samurai sword into battle continued
Nihonzashi offers hand forged high carbon steel samurai swords and
other weapons from CAS Hanwei. They are made in the Paul Chen Hanwei
Forge in China. They are all differentially tempered using the
traditional clay method perfected by the Japanese. Differential
tempering creates a hard edge that stays sharp and leaves a softer spine
that keeps the sword from breaking. These are not the stainless steel
decorative swords you find in the mall or at the flea market. These are
real swords that we use in our dojo. We cut over 1000 tatami and
bamboo targets a year in the dojo. We can not afford to have a
sword break. With that much tameshigiri (test cutting) we need
swords that keep an good edge week after week. You may not need
that kind of performance in a samurai sword, but don't you want the real
thing? Everyone seems to be making full tang, functional or battle
ready swords, but you will never find most of those in our dojo.
It is not about the latest sword marketing buzz words.
Swordsmanship is dangerous enough without having to worry about your
equipment failing you.
CAS Hanwei Tsunami Samurai Sword (Katana)
The two main Japanese samurai swords that we used are called the
Katana and Wakizashi. The matched pair of Katana (long sword) and
Wakizashi (short sword) is called a Daisho
We are excited that CAS Hanwei /Hanwei Forge offers matched sets of
Katana, Wakizashi, and Tanto. The fittings and even the character
of the blades match. If you are interested, please go to our
Daisho Set page. The
katana is a long sword worn edge up in the obi (Japanese belt). The
wakizashi is a short sword worn as a companion to the katana. There were
many situations where a Samurai was expected to leave his katana behind,
but he would always keep the wakizashi. The Katana and Wakizashi
can be used as a slashing or stabbing weapon. The Katana can be
used with one or two hands while the Wakizashi is made for one hand.
We teach students how to wear, use, and maintain Katana and Wakizashi.
This is not something you fully learn in a few classes or even a few
months of training. If you have any questions just email us at
will be happy to answer them or point you in the right direction.
Wind and Thunder Katana, Wakizashi, and Tanto
So why don't we offer Japanese made samurai swords? At a
starting price of about $10,000 these Japanese swords are well out of
the budget for most collectors. We certainly would not be using
these costly pieces of art for practicing martial arts. Real
swords made in Japan are highly regulated by the Japanese government.
The Government controls both the swords and their production. Each
sword is licensed and smiths are restricting to making only a set
number. This assures that each is a work of art but drives the
price up beyond the reach of normal people.
is a strange mix of peaceful moving meditation and efficient bloody
harsh reality in Japanese Swordsmanship. It is an art of life and death.
Its origins are 300 years of bloody Japanese battlefields in an era of
constant war. It was refined in the 300 years of rigid social hierarchy
that followed. For most a brief exposure to Swordsmanship that satisfies
their curiosity. For a few it becomes a life long pursuit. Most students
move on within a few months. There is no fire in their eyes and no
immediate reward to keep them motivated. They will soon be off pursuing
the next thing that catches their interest. Only a few rare students
remain to carry on the tradition. Are you one of them?