Jump to content

Berlin, Berlin, Berlin

Recommended Posts

The great Samurai Art Museum Berlin has hosted the official meeting of the NBTHK (the Society for the Preservation of the Japanese Sword).

It was a pleasure to meet experts from Russia, Finland, England, Austria, Switzerland and of course from Germany!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear members,


last Saturday the meeting of the NBTHK-EB was in Berlin at the Samurai Art Museum. Members from the Italin Branch, Sweden, Finland, Austria and Switzerland attended the meeting.

Guests from Russia were also there. Members of Token Society of Great Britain, members from the Katchu Society and some Germans. That was really a huge meeting.

Nearly sixty people.


First we had the chance to know each other. Then Prof. Kremers introduced Mr. Peter Janssen, the private owner of the Museum and Ms. Martyna Lesniewska M.A..

Ms Lesniewska studied Japanese and East Asian art history and is a scientific researcher at the museum.


After that the doors were opened and we all together had the chance to see the exhibition.


After a short lecture about handle and care by Mr. Paul Bowman and Uwe Heinz 4 blades were provided for an appraisal.


Rai Kunitoshi  - Juyo token

Rai Kunitoshi  - Juyo token with a sayagaki by Tanobe-san for Ryokai

Rai Kunimitsu - Tokubetso Juyo token    and

Bizen Unji       - Juyo token


All blades are unsigned. The Rai Kunimitsu bears a kinzogan mei.


A fifth blade you could study and give your opinion. It was a  signed Nobukuni katana and the second Tokubetso Juyo token.


So, the blades together with the armor made this one of the highlights this year. At 6.00 pm we all went to a restaurant nearby. It was a long evening.



Once again I want to thank Mr. Peter Janssen and Ms. Martyna Lesniewska for this oportunity, the friendly welcome and for the organisation af this meeting.



Uwe G.












  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We would like to thank Mr Peter Janssen for hosting and introducing us to his collection of treasures, Mr Eckhard Kremers for coordinating the day with great efficiency and courtesy, Mr Paul Bowman and Mr Uwe Heinz for leading an interesting kansho, Miss Martyna Lesniewska and all the participants for their kind hospitality. 




  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just returned from a delightful few days in Berlin. Even the temperatures of -5 to -7C failed to dampen the warmth and enthusiasm shown by all those who attended. It was an excellent event hosted with great modesty and friendliness by Mr. Janssen. One should also remember the great effort put in by Eckhard Kremers, the president of the NBTHK EU and his team for making the event happen and run so smoothly. 

It was an excellent day not only was there an extensive display of armour (which I confess to know nothing about but thoroughly enjoyed studying) But the swords we were able to view were amongst the best examples of their type I have had the privilege to hold and study in hand

It was great to meet so many friends from throughout Europe and to make some new ones

Thanks to all for making it a memorable day.


  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A good point to make here is that the Samurai Art Museum is the personal collection of Peter Janssen. He is basically allowing access for all to enjoy.
He also is a great host, the Armour and Sword Societies have been able to make use of his venue to host events. It is without a doubt a special place.

Since last year I have been spending more time working with the Token Societies in GB. My aim is to bridge the gap between armour and sword collectors. What sparked this was the fact that I have a number of Sansai armours which were used by the Hosokawa clan, I have no knowledge of Higo fittings or what swords the Hosokawa used. In a way, this made me a one-dimensional collector paying focus to just armour. 

The samurai valued their swords, then their armour. Yet as collectors, we are worlds apart.

The Samurai Arts Museum delivers the message that both swords and armour are complementary but integral to understanding the warrior culture.

The forthcoming Samurai Arts Expo also features arms and armour. I hope that this can become the way forward for every sword collector owning an armour and every armour collector owning a nihonto.


  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great thanks to Peter Janssen for hosting this wonderful event for us, and to all others involved in organizing this.


It was wonderful to meet old friends and new people, especially to get to meet some NMB members for the first time after knowing them by online for a long time.


The lineup of swords was simply stunning. Rai Kunimitsu and Nobukuni tachi were pretty much perfect swords. However I am not a total "art sword" guy as definately my heart chose a different sword. Brain kept telling me that one of the 3 Tokubetsu Jūyō swords (there was also the Kageyasu in display case) in amazing state of preservation should be the pick. For me it was the signed and dated (1338) tachi by Osafune Nagashige that won my heart in a close race with the Nobukuni.


Also there is an array of splendid armours all over the museum. Some of the armours were breathtaking and truely masterpieces. Even though I do not know anything about armours I can say they are top notch.


To be noted for lovers of sword fittings the museum houses extremely impressive tsuba collection as well as other fittings too. I believe the tsuba are arranged by school/tradition basis. Even though I am not a tsuba guy I still could identify some traditions and guess some others. The good part in having a meeting with a bunch like this is you can just ask and someone can most likely answer to your question. So for example if some tsuba was giving you a headache then tsuba dudes could help with it and Martyna Lesniewska also offered her help and explained about the items.


The funny thing is with so many items in display room I think I did not even notice nearly every item that was for display even though spending the day at looking at the items. There were so many items positioned in display cases, and now by looking at the few pictures I snapped on my phone I can see the many items I didn't notice.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

With the Japanese Armor Society, we had the chance to visit this remarcable museum. The owner, Peter Janssen, received 34 members from all over the world, including 9 members , boardmembers and the President of the NKBKHK.

And, one of our members, Aymeric Antien, discovered a true Joshu Yawada kabuto, the third known till now!

If you go to Berlin, this museum is worth your visit.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This  museum  is a great  oppotunity to learn. I have  been pleased  severals  days  before  to select the  blades which would be shown. I have  never been  before  in the  museum.   I can  only say  great,  mindblowing. I m  listend  to  Mr  Bowman carefully. He gave  an great  lecture. My heart  was  pounding while listing. Did  I explain nonsens  to Peter Janssen  before hand ? ? For  god I did not. 

It was also  also  a great  pleasure for me to see and  to meet several  people, some  old  friends, and  some  new friends  so I do  hope.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites



I was one of the "katchu guys" at the meeting. You are definitely right and it doesn't make me wonder. Although I visit/work at the museum since a year, on a sporadically basis. I still didn't notice every piece in this amazing collection. Believe me, it is simply impossible to appreciate each armor, sword, tosogu ....etc, in such a short time!

Wonderful event! Big thanks goes to the organizers of the NBTHK and, of course, to Peter and Martyna!

The only thing I regret is, not shaking hands with all the fellow members of this forum. Maybe because there was no introduction round, to put faces to names?! On the other hand Jussi, you are quite easy to recognize ;-) Shame on me.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I am glad you enjoyed the discussion about the swords. I have to admit that excitement and a raised heart beat are not what I normally achieve when I am talking (More often I help people catch up on their sleep :) )

It is easy to be enthusiastic when the material you are talking about is of such high quality and I have not seen better Rai swords than the Kunimitsu. He remains my favourite Rai smith and all the examples I have seen have been of very high and consistent quality. This blade however was one step higher than the norm and I can understand how it achieved its Tokubetsu Juyo certification. It is worth the trip om its own.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one, unless your post is really relevant and adds to the topic..

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...