Japanese Swords HTML version

127, New Bond Street, London.
April, 1913.
[Pg 1]
MONGST the numberless articles of Japanese attire, works of art or
mere household objects which the Restoration of 1868 compelled the
Japanese to cast upon the market, none has met with such wide
fame and yet with such a limited study as the Sword. When, in 1877,
the Government prohibited the Samurai from wearing any longer the
two swords which had been the privilege and distinctive mark of their
martial caste, the Imperial wish was obeyed, notwithstanding the
feeling that something was snapping in the life of the nation. Blades
had been treasured for centuries, handed from father to son, looked
upon as the soul of the owner for the sake of which he would refrain
from any deed unbecoming a gentleman; some possessed histories
going far back into the eleventh and twelfth centuries, when the
country was at war within itself, around others were entwined
romances, and above all, the sword was the faithful friend with which
the Samurai might honourably end his life, either in the field or on the
mats. A blade given by a father to his daughter on her wedding day
was the emblem of that purity of life which the woman was expected