image Japanese Swords of the Bizen Tradition

June 8, 2007

Bob and I are pleased to announce that after a long delay, the book Japanese Swords of the Bizen Tradition is complete and ready for purchase. It was a lot of work, as all photography, image processing, layout, design and construction of this book was done "in house" (i.e. by yours truly) with a learning curve starting at zero. The results though at the end I think are very good, and it has been a difficult but satisfying experience.

This is intended as the first book in a series, documenting Japanese swords in North American collections. Future volumes will cover all of the five koto Gokaden, as well as volumes devoted to Shinto, Shinshinto, and modern swords. We will complete the series with a volume devoted to kodogu and koshirae.

The book is organized as a study guide, with oshigata and photographs laid out on facing pages, facilitating study and appreciation of top level swords. Commentary and historical reference material, as well as translations of NBTHK zufu pages (where applicable) are included.

The book can be ordered with either a spiral binding, or a bookstore-standard perfect binding. The spiral binding is recommended for those who wish to use this as a reference and workbook. It allows the volume to be folded in half for reading in tight spaces, or to be placed on a table top while studying swords, or on a scanner. The perfect bound version is easier of course to find in your bookshelf, since it has a title printed on the spine.

This book is printed "on demand" so there is no need to reserve copies, and if you wish to order more than one there is no way to run out of stock. Printing, distribution and support are handled by You will find the ordering process to be very similar to purchasing from Amazon or other online book retailers. also offers a preview of the book.

Click here to PREVIEW and ORDER the SPIRAL BOUND edition.

Click here to PREVIEW and ORDER the PERFECT BOUND edition.

After reading, be sure to return to and rate/review the book!

Below are examples of swords that are photographed and documented in the book.

We hope you enjoy what we worked so hard to produce, and we look foreword to starting work on the following volumes. Many thanks go to the collectors who provided their swords for photography, for patient people like Rita Benson and some of the sword owners who scanned oshigata repeatedly tweaking scanner settings at my request, Harry Watson, Erol Ishikawa, and Olivier Silva for translation services, Al Bardi for his assistance to the photographer, the testers who bought advance copies to make sure things went right, to the NBTHK for allowing us to use their oshigata of Juyo Token and Tokubetsu Juyo Token swords, Tanobe sensei for his generous foreword and contribution of an article to the book, and of course my co-author Bob for pulling things together, writing setsumei and performing oshigatga for the non-Juyo pieces. Without the contributions, patience, and specific talent of such people, creating a book like this to celebrate the dedication of North American collectors is simply impossible.

Fukuoka Ichimonji, Kamakura period, NBTHK Juyo Token


Kagehide, Kamakura period, NBTHK Juyo Token


Sukemitsu, Muromachi period, NBTHK Tokubetsu Hozon


Masatsune, Heian period, NBTHK Tokubetsu Juyo Token