Introduction and Contents

The stories presented here are from by two books Legends and Stories Around the Japanese Sword and Legends and Stories Around the Japanese Sword 2, published in 2011 and 2012 respectively. With these books, I tried to bring the reader closer to the role of the Japanese sword – the nihontō (日本刀) – it played in the warrior class and the Japanese society, namely by the means of legends, stories, and anecdotes about famous swords and their swordsmiths, embedded in an explanation of the backgrounds and other relevant facts. In the end, the reader should have an idea about the high value that was placed on this proverbial legendary weapon over more than thousand years of Japanese history (and even still today as an object of art). It was tried to perform a balancing act between an easy access to beginners and detailed facts for confirmed enthusiasts. It must be noted that many of the legends described here are as the name already suggests legends, that means there are mostly several versions going round. Also the historical sources and records are often more or less divided but this was mentioned when required for the understanding of a certain handed down legend. Have fun!

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The Dōjigiri-Yasutsuna

Onimaru, Hizamaru, Higekiri, and the big “sword renaming”

Tokugawa Ieyasu and the sohaya no tsuruki

The maladies healing Ōtenta-Mitsuyo

Tegai Kanenaga and the Bodhisattva Monju

The “demonic” Yukihira

Ishida Mitsunari and two Masamune less

Kannagiri and Daihannya-Nagamitsu

Tōshirō Yoshimitsu

Gō Yoshihiro

The lost writing-box lid

The thousand spears of the Kikuchi

Fireflies and swords?

Thou shalt not shorten me

The Nikkari-Aoe

The expulsion of two kasha

A giant snake as swordsmith

The Yamaubagiri-Kunihiro

The daily problems of the giant snakes

The Kogitsune-maru

Juzumaru-Tsunetsugu and Ichigo-Hitofuri Yoshimitsu

Detective work on the Tenkyūwari-Kunimune

The Heshikiri-Hasebe

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak …

The legendary sharpness of Kotetsu´s blades

The Tsubokiri no tsurugi

The Kogarasu-maru

From women, geese, and naginata

The curse of Muramasa

Divination on the basis of sword blades

The life of a royalist swordsmith

The swords of Takeda Shingen

The Yoshimoto-Samonji

The Takemata-Kanemitsu

The bean matter

The Gokotai-Yoshimitsu

The tragic love story of Hosokawa Tadamasa

The Kuronbogiri-Kagehide and other Date swords

The Furiwakegami-Masamune

The Tsurumaru-Kuninaga

The spears of Katō Kiyomasa

The tantō Uraku Rai Kunimitsu

The Tsuriganekiri-Kuniyuki

The Nagashino and other Ichimonji

 

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