This season in the Chugoku area of Japan there are numerous sword shows in the calendar.
This weekend was the annual NBTHK exhibition below Tsuyama Castle, a first for me personally, by car about 90 minutes away on the low road.
It was interesting to see how they had lined up their blades. At first it seemed pretty random. Number 1 was a Hosokawa Masayoshi, then some other Hosokawas, followed by a new blade or two, and then suddenly a line of Kamakura, Namboku Cho and Muromachi blades, finally ending with 10 Edo blades. Huh???
Gradually it became clear. Pride of place was given to the outstanding Juyo blade and koshirae by Hosokawa Masayoshi , (a famous smith from the Tsuyama Sakuyo/Mimasaka fief) and then a Juyo by his son Masamori, and some fine examples from his other disciples Masaaki, Masanori, and Masatoshi.
Next they were showing two present-day blades by smiths continuing the old tradition. (The people of Tsuyama are very proud of thier history.)
The rest of the blades along the wall followed the normal old-to-new pattern representing different ages from around the country.
They added variety to their sword display by hanging one wall with Ukiyo-e by Utamaro. There were some central tables, with a) iron tsuba on one, some old Edo maps on another, c) a glass display case of Hansatsu paper money, and d) another filled with Koban gold coins. In the far corner was a teppo section with some pistols and two or three large-bore O-zutsu.
As an NBTHK member I was made welcome with a bento lunch.
For me the exhibits were fascinating, but equally so was the interaction between the brother and sisterhood.