Monday, August 22, 2016


Greetings once again from the Nihonto Netherworld.  Here's a quick report on the Japanese sword show last week in San Francisco.  The show got off to a slow start as the dealers could not get access to the show room to set up until late Friday afternoon. Once setup was complete and the show open to the public things went along nicely.  Most of the usual suspects turned up and all the tables were occupied.  As always there was a dazzling array of treasures for sale ranging from rusty WWII showatos to eye watering Juyo blades a thousand years old and going for several hundred thousand dollars.  Most of the money changing hands was between the dealers which is par for the course.  Saturday saw a pretty good attendance by the general public and there were demonstrations in sword etiquette and displays of important sword fittings.  Here are a few pictures of the show floor and Sabaku Samurai's table.
Bottom line, had a great time, drank too much (so what else is new), sold a few things, told tall tales with some OLD sword buddies and got out of the Phoenix heat for a few days.  Am I going back next year?  YOU BETCHA!  Be sure to check out our website

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Greetings again from the nihonto netherworld.  Sabaku Samurai as we all know is a glutton for all things Gassan, particularly all things Gassan Sadakatsu (and all things bourbon and chocolate etc. etc. etc.) (we're just gluttons).  For the uninitiated, Gassan Sadakatsu was the sword maker to the Japanese Imperial household in the Early part of the twentieth century.  He made swords for the Emperor, the Emperor's family, high ranking military Officers and dignitaries.  One of his swords is on display in the Tower of London (where the crown jewels are kept) and is part of the Royal collection of Queen Elizabeth.  I've heard rumors that there is also one of his swords on display at Windsor Castle that was made for King George V.  He is regarded by many to be THE top Japanese sword smith of the twentieth century.  Recently we treated you to a couple of world class examples of his work but at Sabaku Samurai the hits just keep coming.  Here is yet another.  This one is a little gem housed in it's original presentation box,  it's original shirasaya and sword bag, original gold foil habaki (probably made by Sadakatsu) and it looks like it's original polish.  The hakogaki (writing on the box lid)  was done by Sadakatsu himself and says the blade was made in May of 1925 and made in the style of Masamune (the greatest Japanese sword smith of all times).  ~Sadakatsu was amazingly talented and versatile.  Most sword makers labor their entire career to perfect one or maybe two styles or schools of workmanship.  Sadakatsu was a master of the Bizen, Yamato, Yamashiro and Soshu traditions of sword making as well as his family's secret ayasugi style.  This puppy is done in exquisite Soshu style with itame hada forged so tight as to be almost muji.  The nagasa (length of the cutting edge) is just 6 1/2 inches ( I use inches because I'm American and not smart enough to figure out that metric crap).  The icing on the cake is that the N.B.T.H.K awarded this blade a Tokubetsu Kicho certificate which is one step below the coveted Juyo rating. Sadakatsu is clearly destined to be the first 20th century sword smith to go Juyo and this little guy might be a contender.  I'll have another brilliantly erudite post on another fascinating Japanese sword along with eye watering pictures in a few days so check back. (check out our website )