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Thief Notice in Japan of Important Japanese Swords


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8 hours ago, Bugyotsuji said:

Undated, but can we assume this is a recent event?

 

Hello Piers D.,

 

In answer to your question I think so. I was notified by a mutual friend of Mr. Masami Kodama a Mr. James McElhinney. Mr. Masami Kogama at one time lived in New York city for over fifth years and was a longtime member of the New York Token Kai before I joined in 2016. He has since moved back to Japan to live in Higashi, Hiroshima. I hope this additional information is helpful.

    

 

 

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This is absolutely horrible news! 

 

I was very lucky some years ago to be introduced to Kodama-san by Jim McElhinney, and Kodama-san was kind enough to give me and my mentor a private viewing of his spectacular collection. 

 

Kodama-san and his wife were incredibly gracious host and some of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. 

 

Absolutely disgraceful to take away a collection he spent a lifetime putting together. I certainly hope he is ok and the police find the crooks who did this and put them behind bars and return this collection to its rightful owner.  

 

Thank you David for positing this, as it is important that the wider collector community is aware of this. 

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Always horrible to hear when these thefts occur. It does raise a question in regards to collectors in Japan: how security conscious are they? In a documentary on Togishi he had a large high quality safe to store clients swords but also had quite a few on display. Does this carry through with collectors as well?

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Since swords are licensed in Japan, I expect theft of, and possession of an illegal sword would be a serious crime?

Or are they fairly blase about it? Maybe @Guido has some info on how seriously this is treated? Is there a big trade in unregistered swords? I know at the markets I saw a lot without torokusho. Surprised me. Would these be easy to difficult to "fence"?

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Brian - what do you mean? The torokusho is not issued in a person’s name (well, not when ownership changes anyway). These are small rectangular cards that people usually tape or attach to the shirasaya and stay with the sword. So, these swords might well be registered as antiques, etc but if they have changed hands many times, the relevant ministry would not have a record of the latest owner in any case.  

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I'm under the belief that when ownership changes, the relevant authorities have to be notified to do change of ownership.
I'm not saying it happens that way often, but someone correct me if I'm wrong. The law states you have to register the owner and change of ownership? I think you have X amount of days to do this when you purchase.

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Brian is correct. If you buy a legally registered blade or a gun, you see written on the back of the registration card a set of conditions among which it states clearly that you must send off notice of ownership to the Education Authority in your area ‘within 20 days’. (Just checked)

 

PS It is true that many do not follow this rule, but the penalties are there in principle and under the invisible threat most people feel slightly pressured to comply.

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  • 1 month later...

I think his best place to start is to get all the camera footage of all the places he goes most.

also all the parking lots he uses.

they probably put gps under his car 

tailed him for a week 

got his average time table and habits 

then robbed him when they knew he was headed to the furthest place he goes to when then seen the route he started to take.

He should pay hackers to take all the camera footage everywhere and then run it against people he knows and then a criminal database

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1 hour ago, Sunny said:

I think his best place to start is to get all the camera footage of all the places he goes most.

also all the parking lots he uses.

they probably put gps under his car 

tailed him for a week 

got his average time table and habits 

then robbed him when they knew he was headed to the furthest place he goes to when then seen the route he started to take.

He should pay hackers to take all the camera footage everywhere and then run it against people he knows and then a criminal database

Sunny, I like your vivid imagination on this but I think it was probably more prosaic: the narrative on that website that David Stiles linked (describes in detail what was stolen and when and from whom) mentioned Kodama san was in hospital during the burglary. It must have been orchestrated by people who knew well what he had, so might have been in his wider circle of acquaintances. 

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47 minutes ago, Gakusee said:

Sunny, I like your vivid imagination on this but I think it was probably more prosaic: the narrative on that website that David Stiles linked (describes in detail what was stolen and when and from whom) mentioned Kodama san was in hospital during the burglary. It must have been orchestrated by people who knew well what he had, so might have been in his wider circle of acquaintances. 

It's very unfortunate and my heart goes out to him.

One may turn up sooner or later but i doubt it..like you say..someone wanted those swords....greedy people who do this will usually make one small mistake .....or the people they hired......if he can find that one small weak link in the chain and break it ......find out what he needs ..... and then let the whole circle know he broke that link .....well ...usually that chain will loosen up a little more....sometimes it will cause a kink when another link tries to move in another direction quickly.

This is when the chain is more vulnerable. 

Which leads back to the cameras...intersections ect.....find the weakest link in the crew .....break it .....make it public.....the chain will freeze for a moment ....then.....

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With so many high-profile swords involved in the thief in Japan I am still surprised police haven't done much. This might be just my perception as I am not even indirectly involved in the investigation and do not know Kodama-san directly. I only know of him from my friendship with Mr. McElhinney and well as other Japanese sword collectors in the greater New York metro area.      

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Unfortunately this is usually the case 

they will do some fingerprinting , check the cameras in the building or around outside on the block

look into a few places, and that’s it unless someone comes forward 

That’s why so many people hire privately now a days.

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