Osafune Sword Museum Gift Shop

Need authentic hand crafted weapons made for samurai

By Kenji Chida    - 2 min read

I had a fantasy. I dreamt of showing up at the Bizen Osafune Sword Museum on a Suzuki Katana motorcycle and buying a katana (sword) from the gift shop.I woke up when I realized that the sword would cost as much as the bike. That said, there are so many other things that you can buy from the museum’s gift shop without putting a huge dent in your pocketbook.

For example, they sell nails. I don’t mean the ones you find in hardware stores, I mean handmade nails that are thick enough to run a chain through and become a key ring. Or you can buy a hand forged letter opener or a pocket knife. There are, of course, the standard t-shirts, but you can also buy short swords, antique and new. Even curry is for sale. I am not sure what the relationship is to sword making but you can buy it nonetheless.

Every time I visit the gift shop at the sword museum they seem to have found something else that they can make by hand. That is what it is all about isn’t it? Craftsmanship is not readily available to most of us these days. Everything tends to be made in the cheapest way and in the cheapest place possible. Yet, when you see young people who have clearly dedicated themselves to learning how to produce something that has been handed down through the generations, you can’t help but feel a bit of envy at not being able to produce something that you can use for yourself.

I asked the clerk if something that interested me was handmade, knowing full well that it was. Hand forged steel produced and iron pounded into steel on an anvil right in this craft village. In fact, I could go and see an anvil being used for something other than slapstick comedy if I liked.

I want to buy an antique sword although a new one would suffice. I could sling it on my back or on the side of my Katana motorcycle like a scene from Kill Bill. The kid in me wants an anvil. Is there an anvil for sale?

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Kenji Chida

Kenji Chida @kenji.chida

I was born and raised in Baltimore City, Maryland in the USA after which I moved to New York City at the age of 21. I lived, studied and worked in New York for five years then moved to Okayama in 1998 at the age of 26. After living in Japan for 5 years I decided to try to naturalize. I was granted Japanese citizenship at the age of 33. I am interested in education, political philosophy, and Japanese society. I enjoy playing softball with my kids, driving and motorcycles. I can't say I enjoy running but I often join local 5k races. I want more people from abroad to come to Japan for a visit and I hope that some portion of that group decides to stay. Japan is for everyone!

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