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Shinsakuto And The Future Of Collecting

Kam  A

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After some consideration and a large amount of emails/phone calls regarding my participation on here it has become apparent that a little perspective on my thoughts of the future of Nihonto as an art form (shinsakuto) and what I feel may seriously affect its continued survival especially outside of Japan. Disclaimer: this is just an opinion based on my observations so chances are some might disagree.

Working outside of Japan as a craftsman means that I see more oddities and questionable swords on a regular basis than most, some are obviously not Nihonto and some just leave us stumped. While it would be ideal to just see true quality Nihonto all the time the truth is outside of Japan it isnt always going to be likely :( . Instead I on a daily basis get emails with very unresearched questions and often aggressive attitudes with pictures of all sorts. . . I have also learnt that there are no definites only educated guesses. . . not every odd looking blade is a "chinese fake"! So by default I can now recognise the fakes etc relatively easy but no I dont know much on the paul chen, hanwei or what ever brand of who made what, when etc. . . . just not my thing :-?  I am however seeing some impressive fakes and they are only going to get better. . . and I would prefer to be on the top of the game. Now if you collect Koto blades chances are you are not going to have to worry to much about said issue but Gendai or even shinshinto then could be an issue as for shinsakuto . . most definately

It seems (going by memory of past threads) that this topic stirs a lot of emotions and the kind gentle folk sometimes become obnoxious bakemono :steamed: . The problem is real and it is not going away so without civil discussion and shared information it will continue its cancerous spread through the gates of ignorance :o (i should stop watching "the Tick"). I like many others like quality shinsakuto (maybe its all those years bladesmithing) they, if nurtured will one day become historical art pieces. . . I for one would hope that I have facilitated in that journey during my time in this hobby.


Just some thoughts to ponder :) so please be nice. . I have the Flu :(




One of my favourite Shinsakuto. . probably the best example from Hidehisa



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Was disappointed by Support of Markus Gendaito project. Really thought that there Are more gendaito collectors on the Board.


Before discussing the Future, think it's Necessary to know the shinsakuto market!?


Let's have a Poll to See the koto, shinto, Shin-shinto, gendaito and shinsakuto Coups.


Best Regards

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Interesting topic indeed. As for shinsakuto, those made since the war in Japan have often been really stunning examples of the craft and some even seem to have rediscovered integral qualities, such as utsuri, which were once thought lost to newer pre-war smiths. It is probably also true that with the passage of time, examples looking like Japanese made shinsakuto, but being made elsewhere, will increasingly test our ability to discern. However there is also another angle, and that is the unquestionable qualitative factor brought to a Japanese sword made for its intended use from earliest times. While all collectors appreciate the post-war sword, all of those swords are qualitatively different in their "for use" dimension. That has to have had an impact on prospective collector's interest and it is doubtless a limiting factor in the sale of shinsakuto, irrespective of where made, compared to what it might be otherwise. As sales diminish the craft itself is at risk and no clearer illustrative example can be found than the very rapid disappearance of active smiths post the Haito-rei wearing restrictions during the 1870s.

Arnold F.

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As a younger collector I've spent some time thinking about the future of sword collecting in general. My thoughts are that Nihonto & Shinsakuto will continue to fall in terms of market prices. I think gunto swords are the future of Japanese sword collecting. The availability of information in English, the availability of the swords, a well established market that is easy to look up market prices, relative affordability, and the history associated with WW2 are the contributing factors. I don't think that gunto or WW2 blade prices will rise, but I hope they do, but I do not think they will fall either. I imagine them remaining relatively constant with short term fluctuations. For example, look at Mantetsu blades. I recall 2 years ago you could buy a mint one at auction anytime and expect to pay about $1500, couple months ago if mint you were looking at around $3000, now they've seemed to fall to mid $2000s unless just mint and something out of the ordinary. The same thing can be observed with WW2 bayonets. Couple of years ago German K98s were hot and Japanese bayonets were slow, now it's the complete opposite. Japanese bayonet prices have increased and K98 bayonet prices have nearly fallen to half of what they were fetching not that long ago. As always, there are exceptions to the rule. These are just my general observations.


I've seen numerous discussions regarding the "fall of Nihonto" and agree with most of the points consistently brought up. 1) cost as a barrier to enter, 2) knowledge and information, 3) lack of a well established market to determine market values, etc etc. I don't think I need to reiterate what has been preached so many times before. I think guys will always have a general interest in samurai swords but when they step in and hear the prices they'll laugh and the only interest will be to score that huge lottery blade and retire. Problem is, who will buy it?


I personally have little to no interest in shinsakuto. If it's post war, I do not care, well I suppose if yasukuni I would be interested, but other than that if someone isn't basically giving me the blade I move on looking for the next one.


Just my $.02. Agree/disagree, that's fine. I've gotten to where I don't even want to mess with Nihonto. Too hard to move and always money losers. Plus, I can never find any that are in original condition that I want to keep. Every one I've owned has been boogered with in some form or fashion and I can't ever justify the cost of restoration. That and if they happened to be signed, everyone always cries "Gimei." With gunto, they move quick and even if I pay more than I think I should it seems like it's much easier to get most if not all of my money back and in some instances make a little to put towards the next sword. Losing money on Nihonto after Nihonto, attempting to sell month after month is not sustainable in the long-term and Nihonto ties up too much cash. Now, if I win the $600 million powerball one day, I'll buy Japanese swords indescriminately.

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