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Poll:- New collectors and ages of Nihonto enthusiasts


In what age group do you, as a Nihonto enthusiast, fall?  

472 members have voted

  1. 1. In what age group do you, as a Nihonto enthusiast, fall?

    • Under 20 years old
      7
    • 20-29
      66
    • 30-39
      127
    • 40-49
      121
    • 50-59
      91
    • 60-69
      58
    • 70+
      8


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Hi all,

I was requested to put up a poll to get an idea of the average age of Nihonto collectors and enthusiasts, and I think this is a good idea. Votes are anonymous, so you won't be revealing your age in public ;)

 

Here is the request:

During the recent Sydney Taikai/NTHK Shinsa, I was looking around the room and noticed a distinct lack of young people interested in nihontou. I discussed this with other collectors in the room and we were wondering whether this was the case around the world (I suspect it is). I have therefore asked Brian if he would mind posting a poll, so that people can record their age. I think the results will be very interesting. Thanks in advance for your participation.

Regards,

Justin

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Old guys with money = sports cars, mistress, motorcycle, Nihonto ? I guess some of us are just smarter than the other guy's ! :glee: I think it would be interesting to find out at what age the collector started. 50 years young for me.

 

Old guy - yes. sports car, mistress, motorcycle, money - no (but wouldn't

mind any of them :-) just a few old swords and tsuba.

 

rich s

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Most of the young collectors I've known have bought one sword, got bored 3 months down the line, sold it and moved on.

 

I started collecting about 5 years ago and I'm 30 now. The only serious collector I know thats younger than me is my brother :lol:

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Afternoon all,

 

1964, Christmas Steps, Bristol, Wakizashi, £4.10s, could have had its longer brother for another £6.00 but being 12 at the time, it was a small fortune.......still is in these enlightened financial times!!!

 

Cheers

 

 

Malcolm

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I was a Junior in High school, when one day while riding the bus to school, I was talking about a Japanese Bayonet that I had gotten WHEN the kid in front of me turns around and say's What you all want to hear!

" My Dad has a Japanese sword that he got from a museum during the war"

I ask If his dad would sell it.

He say's my dad in a insane asylem :crazy: But yeah He would sell it to me.

We met at a place called 5 points in Philadelphia( Not New York), Its an intersection of 5 avenues. There on that day I paid $25 bucks for a Uchigatana with a Nagasa of 80cm.The Blade was in great shape, I could see myself in the reflection. it was mounted in a saya that was maroon in color. It didn't have a tusba. But for $25 I wasn't complaining!!!!

 

I would, thru time find myself diving into every book I could get my hand on the subject of Nihonto!!!

 

And Just recently BECAUSE of this VERY SITE 30 years later

I was able to get an oshigata for MY

Shodai Bunmei Bungo Nagamori!!!!

 

Thanks GD and NMB

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I just hit 60 last month and because of Richard Stein's great site The Japanese Sword Index, i found my way here and i now know how to tell a real Nihonto from a plain steel sword, after many years of buying swords i had no real idea what i was doing before, i bought swords on looks mainly, books alone didn't do it for me, reading many threads here with pictures did the trick thank the gods and all the members here! :clap:

 

Cheers!

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Getting up to 39 here.... (DAMMIT!) LOLZ

 

Bought one sword three years back, signed minamoto masayuki ( not certain if its Gimei or not since it hasnt been to shinsa) still needs a polish, its in WWII 94 aluminium saya. Bought it for 400 EU from a WWII collector who didnt know his stuff. Its my prize posession.

 

Working as teacher of history so not that rich, and have too many hobbies... collect too many things... ie WWII aviation gear.

 

I fly on a regular basis, real planes as well as RC (warbirds) my airfleet is clogging my house LOL...

 

Practice Kendo and still want to start katori shinto ryu one day

 

Do a lot of Re-enactment, Roman mainly, some WWII some WWI, Medieval and Samurai.

 

Own one gusoku and two high end replica swords for re-enactment displays.

 

Love Japan, its culture and its history.

 

Not the youngest, and not the oldest on here LOL...

 

KM

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Hey,

I was the youngest at the Sydney NTHK Taikai.

It was excellent as I have said elsewhere.

I am currently fourteen years of age, fifteen in October.

Since I was around ten I had a dread fascination with swords and bladed weapons. I bought a couple of display swords, then some production weapons for martial arts use, and now I am moving on to Nihonto :badgrin:

 

NMB and the NTHK have really been the greatest encouragement I can get. Thanks to everyone here.

 

Thanks,

-Brett

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I just wish there was something more that could be done to expose the scammers. They are ruining our hobby by taking it to the newbies. I'd gamble, most collector's first nihonto research and purchases are done on ebay, where many get taken and lose interest (and go back to sports cars, motorcycles and mistresses).

 

Jon

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I started 36 years ago by a wakizashi (gimei) then went to aucton where I bought 2 wakizashis (a koto bitchu wakizashi and an O suriage toran-ba katana), kozuka and tsuba which went away in the raffle ..... Now I dont know what i shall do; probaly pass to other hobbies (perhaps buy from time to time a tsuba or kogatana) but before, my last move will be buy a juyo :)

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I'm at the lower end of the group with 29 coming on in May. Started out wanting to buy a 'samurai sword' on eBay. Then I decided to do some research -> wound up here and was saved from an -now- obvious fraude. They directed me to a legit seller and I've been learning and collecting ever since.

 

My pride an joy is still the 1st piece that I bought (about 2,5 years ago) : a Tango no Kami Naomichi (Kanemichi) wakizashi which is mukizu. Paid a lot more than intentionally planned (about 3x the amount I think :roll: ) but it's been well worth it. Currently I'm selling some of my pieces to invest more in my ever expanding library and I notice that I've become more and more demanding regarding possible buys - which is a killer for my budget, but better for my collection.

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I am 57, still working and will be the way the markets are for another 20 years! My father served in the Canadian Intelligence Corps in the South Pacific in 1944-45 and came back witha Japanese ariska bayonet, and a sword which he sold in San Francisco on his way home, cause it wouldnt fit in his bag! He gave me the bayonet when I was 10 and I collected them from army surplus etc till I could buy them from dealers. Over 200 bayonets and 175 military swords later, I bought a kai gunto in 1980 as an "example" of the countries military blade. That was it and here I am, nearly 30 years later having sold all the others with a main focus on nihonto, and not so much the art, although very important but I still am attracted to the side that these are first and foremost weapons - undoubtably the most effective edged weapons ever made!

 

I also had the Harley and the sports cars, still love my BMW, but nihonto is all I look at now in terms of edged weapons. I don't focus on any school, but do have examples of all the different type of nihonto blades.

 

Lot more difficult than for example than knowing a blade is an 1875 pattern british officers blade, but more study and interesting as well.

 

Boys and their toys!

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I am 45 now and found my first sword hanging in a barn i was working on in Devon in 1988.

It leapt out from the rest of the junk cluttering the place.

It was In a darkest Red/black saya with a plain Mokku gata Tsuba (signed Kunihiro) and copper habaki and seppa,The menuki were flowers and F/K were of samurai riding horses and the kashira there arms (Armour,Helmet,bow, Lance, tanto, katana,Wakizashi etc).(if i remember correctly i was told it was the 7 items of the samurai)? :dunno:

The blade had not been cleaned for many years and sawdust had settled on the Koshirae over the years from the Bench saw.(It still stood out from everything else to me though,Like a flashing beacon)

I could just make out the Hamon through the years of grime.

I asked if it was for sale and the owner said "sure,why not,how about £50?"

I paid the money and walked the 1 mile country lane home with a large smile on my face carrying the sword reverently and carefully in both hands.

Later research found the blade to have no Kizu and was almost completely flawless and tempered in Sudare Ba. After discovering how to remove the Tsuka i found the Japanese mei for Tamba no Kami Yoshi Michi.(Victor Harris Of the BM had a look and told me it was from the Mishina school of Smiths if i remember correctly)

I sold the sword a year later to a collector for a tidy profit .(It was an offer i could not refuse in my defence,but i always regreted selling it)

I never forgot how much i enjoyed owning a sword.

I did not collect again until last year when i decided to enter the Nihonto world again after seeing a WWII sword in a junk shop.

I seem to enjoy collecting at a fairly low level and like to keep purchases below £2000.

This way i get no complaints from my wife.

Of Nihonto or Tosogu,I have nothing of any considerable Value but i am inspired by everything i own in some way or another and want to know as much as i can about them.

regards

Shan

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I started 36 years ago by a wakizashi (gimei) then went to aucton where I bought 2 wakizashis (a koto bitchu wakizashi and an O suriage toran-ba katana), kozuka and tsuba which went away in the raffle ..... Now I dont know what i shall do; probaly pass to other hobbies (perhaps buy from time to time a tsuba or kogatana) but before, my last move will be buy a juyo :)

I am 67 years old and began collecting 1 year ago.......Oh, by the way I won the kozuka so generously donated by Jean, so the beginning collector tradition continues for the blade. Thanks to everyone who has helped me, especially Jean.

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I'm 37 now but have had a serious interest since I was 13 years old ad started visiting Col. Hartley every chance i had to learn more. I have gone through phases which were more passive in the studies, you know, real life getting in the way, but I always seem to return to the study of the Nihonto.

James S.

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20 years old for me! 21 in November, I always thought samurai were fascinating.. then going to an antique show in Brimfield Mass, a buddy of my dads is/was a sword dealer named Chuck Cillo(great guy)! I found myself looking over the swords he had for sale every day, I didn't really even care to look around at the other dealers! I found out he co-authored a book, "Modern Japanese Swordsmiths 1868-1945" So I bought a copy from him and kindly asked him to autograph it for me and he did! His swords are amazing and I am sure the ones he is selling are nothing compared to the ones in his personal collection. Anyway, I purchased my first blade there from another friend of my fathers(this was about a year ago) and have been buying swords and trying to find the good reference books ever since. I love it!

 

By the way, do any of you have advice for newly found Nihonto collectors and enthusiasts?

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I'm turning 22 in a few months and have been interested in Nihontô for 2 or 3 years. Although I do have a few swords, I'm not sure if I'd call myself a "collector", as the age of a sword is most important to me and I don't care much about details as hada, hamon, certain smiths or schools etc. I value swords in bad condition very much as well (so before you throw your "junk swords" into the trash can, rather give them to me :lol: ). Could be because I have been collecting european-medieval and ethnographic weapons for years, and criterias are slightly others there.

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An enthusiast, yes, but a collector, no. To rephrase, I have a small collection of almost anything Japanese, just not specifically Nihonto.

 

Two tanto and one Katana do not really a collection make, I suspect. Plus five J spears of varying lengths. And seven or eight J arrowheads. When my ship comes home, however, I may venture into deeper waters...

 

Once a month I take part in a Nihonto study group here in Japan. One or two of the members are in their 20's, a couple in their 30's, one or two in their 40's and so on up. Evenly spread, I would say. Oh, and most of them probably do not own their own blade.

 

PS Does that chart above suggest that people start selling off their collection in their 60's???

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All, I must be one of the real silver-backs. I started when I was 14, on holiday in London in 1954. At that time the curator at the V&A museum was Basil Robinson and almost all the Oriental Gallery was devoted to Japanese swords, armour and fittings. I fell in love with it all and bought a rather nasty little wakizashi from a shop in Museum Street opposite the British Museum with my week's spending money. When I got home I started making miniature armours from card and baby ribbon. I remember I used half a ping-pong ball as the helmet bowl. What was curious was that our local museum had an armour in a case by a doorway. I was so scared of it I wouldn't pass it unless my mum held my hand. As soon as I started work I started haunting the local antique shops, most swords being 30/- for katana and tachi and £1 for wakizashi and tanto. The former were of course 'executioner's swords' and the latter 'harri kiri' knives. From then on it was a slide into the abyss. I remember at one stage selling the junk end of the collection for £30 - 30 swords and a naginata -an I made a profit. When I married my mother ceremonially dumped my sword collection in the middle of the living room and informed my wife it was her problem now! As for the wine, women and song - I'm still trying to save up before I get too old to enjoy it, but I keep seeing other things and blowing my cash.

 

Ian Bottomley

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What a great story Ian! Especially the ceremony performed by your mother made me think of a samurai wedding ceremony in which the mother does the same! :lol:

 

We all know you of course from the work you do/did at the Royal Armouries and some of the Discovery/NatGeo documentaries aired worldwide.

 

Keep enlightening us with your knowledge, as well as the other "silverbacks" on here!!

 

best wishes,

 

KM

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I was born on 6th August 1945 (Hiroshima day) and bought my first sword in 1967. It was rubbish but I did also buy Yumoto's "Samurai Sword" and started serious collecting. Now I only buy very occasionaly and have sold many swords over the last few years and bought only 3 good ones with the proceeds. I have seen the best in Japan and cannot aspire to these so would rather not compromise. Rising 64 years of age, still teaching kendo and drinking good sake! A sad old bugger!

Clive

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I was born on 6th August 1945 (Hiroshima day) and bought my first sword in 1967. It was rubbish but I did also buy Yumoto's "Samurai Sword" and started serious collecting. Now I only buy very occasionaly and have sold many swords over the last few years and bought only 3 good ones with the proceeds. I have seen the best in Japan and cannot aspire to these so would rather not compromise. Rising 64 years of age, still teaching kendo and drinking good sake! A sad old bugger!

Clive

Here is another sad old bugger. Started when I was 19 in my third year of work buying a shingunto from a former schoolmate. This was a year after I began to "know" (in the Biblical sense!!) red wine - another continuing affaire (I regret I have but one liver to give my country!!). I'm 65 now, and like Clive I know what the really good stuff is and as the twilight years approach I've started selling out from the bottom and polishing down from the top. The "top" is a couple of Shinto blades around the nidai Hizen Tadahiro quality level and a smattering of other blades I like through to a Gassan Sadakatsu dated 1939. It's a very serious study and historically important as art and as a symbol of samurai culture. I could be here for hours, but will close by saying that, in general looking at the plethora of dealers in "bodged up" psuedo koshirae with blades in indifferent polish with those Westerners claiming to be "polishers", Chinese copies on the internet, and the high cost of buying books and the time necessary to put into gaining first-hand knowledge, the collecting of good quality Japanese swords in good condition and correct polish has to be one of the most difficult and challenging pastimes in the world today. Some of the best people I know collect Nihonto and this list is a great aide to continual learning for even sad old buggers. We even have fun from time to time.

Regards,

Barry Thomas.

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This has been great. Until now I was feeling like the "Old Man" but now I realise I am but a mere youth of 54!!!

I had my first sword when I was 6 years old It was a plastic excalibur but was sufficient to start the habit. I bought my first Japanese blade in 1984 but only started studying seriously from 1992.

Much the same as Clive and Barry over the past couple of years I have been attempting to reduce the quantity and improve the quality of my collection. When I analysed it I realised I was looking at perhaps 20% of what I had regularly and the remainder occassionally just to check they were ok. So I decided to move some swords on (hence the "for sale" list appearing here last year) and to try and aim at fewer and hopefully better pieces.

I also find that I am enjoyng my books a lot more than I did and am probably investing more in them currently than I am swords (like I should have done when I first started).

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I am 52 but much, much younger in sword years. I have always been fascinated with blades, and I own a few odds and ends that might be a collection. I bought myself an iaito in 2006 for a display piece and because I planned to begin studying Iaito. However, I did not own any nihonto until I was given a wakizashi in 2007 by a friend.

What an effect that very generous and completely unexpected gift had. Now I spend lots of time reading books on Japanese history, nihonto and sword-related marital arts and I check this discussion forum daily to see what I can learn. The wak is lovely and will be back in my hands soon from the polisher. I have a lot of plans for the blade once I get it back and can begin to tie together what I read in books, and see on the web, to a real blade. Ultimately I would like to build a modest collection but I have a lot to learn first.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I started collecting about 17yrs ago, I'm 56 now. My first sword was a gimei MuraMasa. For a few years I was collecting anything antique, had mostly shinto. I had a change of heart midstream through my collecting history and sold my collection. I then had another change of heart and began to concentrate on Gendai. So now Gendaito are my passion.

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I'm 31. I've always been attracted to Japanese swords from a early age some of my first memories are spending hours in the Met looking at the arms and army exhibits. The extreme level of complexity and the need for some serious study kept me on the sidelines of collecting till only recently (at 29). It was only after visiting Japan for a month or two and seeing some incredible displays that I decided that even though I'm a amateur it was time to get to an example for learning purposes.

 

I think the gods of amateur sword lovers smiled on me as I was lucky enough to buy my first sword from Sokendo.

 

It is a small wakizashi, papered, from the edo period. Perfect for someone who wants to learn. I'm working my way through Nagayamas' The Connoisseur's Book of Japanese Swords and I hope to get to a show one of these days.

 

San Fransisco is the next one?

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I'm 44 and have been admiring/collecting(?) since 1988. My first sword was the obligitory gimei wakizashi (seems to be a rite of passage) bought from a dealer in Tochigi prefecture. I still have it. I found a koshirae a couple of years ago that happened to fit the wakizashi perfectly. I should have resisted, but I ended up buying it, and now have a very average gimei wakizashi with a nice koshirae.

 

I find the complexity both daunting and fascinating. Sometimes its so daunting that I sort of go cold on the whole nihonto thing ("I'll never know as much as I'd like to know...") but then something will catch my eye and pull me back in.

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I am 38 and started collecting about 13 years ago with a wakizashi I acquired from an auction house (a real one - not eBay). As it was my first sword I had it completely restored (shirasaya, new habaki, polish) and put a lot of more money into it than it was worth. I still have the sword although it is not my favorite anymore. I have learned a lot from this and also my other swords but would still classify me as a beginner. Being from Germany and with only limited time to travel to sword meetings the Internet is the best place for me to get in touch with other collectors and to see other swords (although seeing them in hand would be far better).

 

Stephan

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I am 55 and really just took up collecting in the last year. Before that I had been collecting mineral specimens. At one point I had over 500 and a few years ago thought that was too much and sold the majority of them. I have always been interested in in antiquities (classics and archeology major in college) and both my wifre and I have always been very taken with Japanese pieces ang I have always liked swords. So it just seemed natural to gravitate toword nihonto. As I have said elsewhere on the board, I just purchased my first blade at the Chicago show (Kozuke Daijo Sukesada wak) and am very happy with it. I plan to continue and am in the process of looking for koshirae for it. I will be attending the San Francisco show to continue learning.

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