Nihonto-Related Links & Contacts
Tragically, the creator of Yuhindo, Darcy Brockbank, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in early 2022. Yuhindo was Darcy’s meticulously crafted and maintained creation that provided a remarkable assemblage of information, research, and imagery, greatly treasured by a large and thankful audience of colleagues, clients, and friends. It is my greatest hope that it can someday be resurrected and maintained in some fashion of its original form to again provide information and promote the joy and enthusiasm that Darcy held for the magnificent art form that is Nihonto.
While we each maintained our own businesses, Darcy and I worked very closely together in Nihonto. The vast majority of imagery on his site were my photography as we worked together for over 10 years. It has been said that friends who embark on business together, frequently end with both broken, but when friends are born from business, both flourish. When Darcy Brockbank departed this world, it was shattering for me. I lost a colleague for whom I had profound respect. I lost a mentor who fervently encouraged me to reach higher and dig deeper to become better at my trade crafts than I ever thought I could. But most painfully, I lost one of the best friends I’ve ever had.
I will miss him dearly, and for all time. Goodbye my friend.
Masamune Sword Shop
Masamune Sword Shop Mike Christianson is an excellent polisher and is my polishing “mentor”. For seven years, I called it an apprenticeship, and for all intensive purposes it was. But we both look upon that frequency to his shop as a friendly exchange of his information and experiences to me, for whatever I could do for him, be it work, minding the shop, a sale for him, or just a few laughs.
Many days I had gone to polish, and instead had him hand me a sword and say, “Mmm-mm-MMM, look at this sword/polish”, or “tell me what you think of this”. Both of which are valuable lessons in polishing, without touching stones at all. His kindness, patience, and friendship leave me to thank “Okami-sama” for placing us in such close proximity.
The only constant in the universe is change with time, and “Mikey” has taken a lesser active role in Nihonto these days. He no longer has a website, and his shop which was conveniently located half-way between New York and Tokyo in Loma Linda, California, now only stands in the memory of those that visited it.
If you’d like to reach him, contact me and perhaps I can put him in touch with you.
Bushido Antique Japanese Swords
The instructor to Mr. Christianson. Mr. Robert (Bob) Benson is one of the best in the business. He is very well respected for his skill and knowledge. He is one of the first non-Japanese to learn Togi, and the first to win an award for it in competition in Japan. Mr. Benson apprenticed under a few different instructors in Japan including Onno Kokei Sensei, a Polisher elevated to National Living Treasure. He closed his shop in Honolulu many years ago, but his website is alive and well. He is among the best choices anyone should consider when seeking a top polish for a special sword. Now, he’s mentoring his son, Nicholas, in polishing and having seen Nicholas’s work in hand, I can say that he is already quite impressivly skilled. Bob also is an acting agent that can arrange submission of swords, fittings, and koshirae to shinsa at the NBTHK. If you are looking for good swords or good polishes, this is a man to see. Lead times on polishes are long, but absolutely worth the wait and the dollars. Lead times vary, so best inquired about with him.
Fred Weissberg has been collecting and studying swords for over 30 years and was a pioneer of internet based Japanese sword sites. You will find a wide variety of excellent swords, fittings, and other Japanese items in his inventory. His site has informative articles that will assist in your research and study. Fred is active in the Northern California Japanese Sword Club and a member of American Branch of the NBTHK.
Contemporary-Related Links & Contacts
Morgan Valley Forge
Howard Clark is a very talented and respected blade smith. He calls his swords “Japanese Styled” and rightfully so, because they are his work, and he is far from Japanese. He takes the opportunity to learn from Japanese sword smiths, but his swords are for the most part so “out of the box” metallurgically speaking that they are at a glance unmistakably his. His motive is to create the best sword possible, and if it isn’t a good weapon first, then it’s a worthless second. His heat treating methods produce fantastic activity in some with outstanding performance, to subtle (if any) activity with unparalleled performance, depending on the material. Howard works under the name “O Mimi”, or Big Ear. Go to his site for the explanation, it’s logical and humorous, just like Howard.
An official extension branch of the Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (Association for the Preservation of the Japanese Art Sword). I have been a member of the branch since it’s establishment in 2003. There are monthly publications and translations for the membership that are a valuable and important source of education. Studying Japanese swords is beyond a lifetime endeavor. Membership provides excellent exclusive opportunities to view some of the finest art swords know both at organized lectures at sword shows in the US and Europe, but also at organized events in Japan. If you’re not a member, you should be. If you don’t, you’re missing out on some of the best education available.
Northern California Japanese Sword Club
Northern California Japanese Sword Club (NCJSC) One of North America’s oldest clubs established with the sole intent of study of the Japanese Art Sword. I am a happy and enthusiastic member of the NCJSC. It is the organizer and promoter of North America’s largest Japanese Sword Show as well, held every August in San Francisco. The club organizes fantastic lectures and exhibitions that provide an up close and personal experience to the pinnacle examples of this art, and having the opportunity to examine them will forever change your perspective. The club also holds a monthly meeting. Check their site for application information. Very helpful folks.
Black Ship Gallery
Black Ship Gallery is owned and operated by David Bond. David lived and worked in Japan for many years and his site offers an excellent diversity of Japanese arts and crafts including swords, armor, ceramics, woodblock prints, sculpture, and more. Black Ship Gallery is his well presented and educational look at the excellence that Japanese craftsmen achieved, and also an intriguing look into the items that were once part of everyday life in feudal Japan.