View Full Version : Shinken question

9th July 2007, 21:47
Hi Everybody,

I'm looking to buy a Shinken / Shinsakuto and, by researching on line, I found few sites which offer newly made blades. My budget is around 5000$ but before spending such amount of money on line I was wondering if there is anybody who had a direct experience in buying either a Shinsakuto in Japan or a Japanese style blade.

I was checking both options but is difficult to judge japanese shinsakuto since most sites do not offer any picture nor the name of the bladesmith.

On the japanese styles bladesmith I was looking at R.H. Graham (Who is offering his blades through liveblade.com) and Antony DiCristofano's work.

If anybody could help I would greatly appreciate it.

Luca Caramellino.

10th July 2007, 00:12
I think DiCristofano is doing some amazing things and is second only to Michael Bell and Francis Boyd as an American working in the Japanese style.

10th July 2007, 04:00
I agree Walker, judging by his website DiCristofano does some awesome work. I just don't dare to inquire because I fear his prices are way above my budget.
Luca Caramellino

11th July 2007, 05:43
Maybe true.
You might keep an eye on Brandon Thell's site http://www.foreveredge.com and look out for some nice work in future from Adam Coleman who is apprenticed to Michael Bell.

The thing that is so hard to find is correct sugata or shaping. Because most American smiths don't have links back to Japan that is the one key factor they don't seem to be able to replicate and the customer base hasn't been very demanding in that area either.

11th July 2007, 13:39
DiCristofano's work looks nice I'll grant you, but for $5000 I'd be wanting a sword from someone with a proven apprenticeship in Japan. (I don't know if he has or not, but I couldn't find any claim of such on his site, and I would have thought he would be very upfront about such a thing.) That's just me mind. You mightn't care so much.

You could check out this (http://www.kendo-world.com/forum/showpost.php?p=254678&postcount=26) thread for some info on Japanese shinken. The shinken in question was completely custom made (+ spare saya, coz you now you're going to shred the koiguchi on the first one pretty quick!) for 800,000 which is about $6500 in US pesos by today's rate.

You might also consider this advice (http://www.kendo-world.com/forum/showpost.php?p=255269&postcount=37) in the same thread from an iaido 5 dan regarding shinken purchase.


12th July 2007, 19:09
Thank you Walker and ichibyoshi for your good advice,

To go to Japan to look for the good sword for me would be great, unfortunately given the actual air fares I either have the budget to buy a shinken or to go to Japan.

Obviously I'm pretty concerned about investing this amount of money without the possibility of checking in advance the sword and this is why I was considering also American Bladesmiths.

We will see. I'm not decided yet..... sometimes I feel I should just forge it myself so that I can have exactly what I want..... just kidding, I miss some years of apprentinship to do that.

15th July 2007, 21:34
... japanese shinsakuto since most sites do not offer any picture nor the name of the bladesmith... and you would be able to judge by a picture or the smith's name? Are you familiar with many current Japanese smiths? Were you looking for a particular school or style? Or copy of a historical or popular sword? Is this for the beginning of a collection? Just something you want? Or something you plan to train with and/or use?

If you want a Japanese blade, there are many options. Having one forged to order is unlikely within your stated budget, but finding one that is recently made, polished and mounted is quite possible. You might look on Aoi-Art (http://www.aoi-art.com/sword/katana/main.html) , a dealer in Japan who has a variety of items, and often has swords in that range. He is used to dealing with non-Japanese, and handles all the paperwork and shipping. Not sure what form your research has taken, but I would recommend Dr Stein's site (http://home.earthlink.net/~steinrl/nihonto.htm) as an excellent resource on nihon-to, and he also has a nice listing of commercial sites that sell nihonto.
If you are looking at Japanese-style swords, also many options, but again, having something made to order, then properly polished and nicely mounted, will likely exceed your budget. Lots of good smiths, but much depends on their workload. placing an order now may get you a blade in two years. In addition to the ones listed, you might look at Howard Clark, Rick Barrett, Walter Sorrells. Not as many folks doing really good mounting, or polish, but that is another discussion. A good place to look is the classifieds over on Swordforum (http://forums.swordforum.com/forumdisplay.php?f=41). Lots of custom blades show up there, usually for reasonable prices. I just got a nice Howard Clark L6 from there. Tosho Arts (http://www.toshoart.com/available) is a fairly recent supplier, has a variety of blades available.
If you are just looking to spend money on something nice, lots of choices.
Good luck.