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Best books to start with


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Hey all,

 

I am sure this topic has been covered numerous times, but I cannot find anything while using the search bar. 

 

So what would you all recommend as some good starter books?

 

Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.

 

Cheers

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Facts and fundamentals of Japanese swords and the art of the Japanese sword by Kapp and Yoshihara are a must have for beginners. Connoisseurs is cheap on ebay at the moment, last I saw it was $98 Australian dollars. Not many years ago it was around $300 if I remember correctly.

 

Greg

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Facts and fundamentals of Japanese swords and the art of the Japanese sword by Kapp and Yoshihara are a must have for beginners. Connoisseurs is cheap on ebay at the moment, last I saw it was $98 Australian dollars. Not many years ago it was around $300 if I remember correctly.

 

Greg

Connoisseur’s got a reprint not too long ago and is readily available for the cover price from Amazon (hurray).

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I totally agree with Stephen . If you can , also get yourself a copy of the Arts of the Japanese sword by Robinson . These two are essential reading for beginners . They will help you to learn how to read signatures which is an essential skill to have in this hobby.

Ian Brooks

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Which came first, the book or the blade?

 

In my case I resisted purchasing any traditional Japanese blade for years but suddenly took the plunge and bought a wakizashi in full black koshirae for a mere 80,000 JPY. I took it home, happily thinking, yes, this is MINE! Each day I pulled it open and performed an elaborate cleaning ceremony, luxuriating in the perfume of the clove oil, and the magical gleam of the polished steel.

 

After a week, I suddenly realized that this blade which has been alive for hundreds of years will continue for hundreds more, if I continue to perform these services for it. If I default on my duties, and forget it in a drawer somewhere, the blade will rust and corrode, and it will be my fault for destroying something that could never actually have been 100% truly all mine. My temporary custodianship was never more that that, and the weight of the duty became too heavy to bear. I took it back to the shop and asked for a refund.

 

One of the customers sitting in the sword shop commented, "If you bought it for 80,000 and learned your lessons from it, then you should sell it back expecting no more than 30,000 JPY. That is the way this works."

 

Actually the store gave me 70,000 JPY, which was in retrospect extra kind of them. I had learned many lessons, but about myself more than about the history or appreciation of Japanese swords in general. I have also learned you hardly need to use uchiko and oil anywhere near so frequently!

 

In light of that I would say even as you read books, sure, buy a blade if you like, but keep the first one cheap!  :laughing: And pass it around for as many learned comments as possible.

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The Connoisseur's is not easy or light reading, but it is fairly comprehensive, i.e. it covers most things that you need to know, reminding me sometimes of a telephone directory. Great for reference, and I carry mine around to sword meetings, but it would take a certain type of brain to sit down and read through, cover to cover. Not impossible if you have photographic memory.

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The Connoisseur's is not easy or light reading, but it is fairly comprehensive, i.e. it covers most things that you need to know, reminding me sometimes of a telephone directory. Great for reference, and I carry mine around to sword meetings, but it would take a certain type of brain to sit down and read through, cover to cover. Not impossible if you have photographic memory.

 

I can attest to the fact that I refer to this book constantly! Its one of the few that I keep off the shelf and in arms reach!

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