IS JAPAN COOL? CRAFTSMANSHIP
Katana-kaji are expert makers of swords (tohken/katana), who specialize in the forging of Japanese swords (nihon-toh). The ancient origins of tohken can be traced back to the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) and Nihonshoki (Oldest Chronicles of Japan). Regarded as sacred treasures rather than weaponry, tohken were used as offerings to deities at Japanese shrines (jinja) and buried in the tombs of royalty.
Japanese craftsmanship is a way of life for artisans who continue faithfully making their traditional crafts while devoting themselves to enhancing their skills.
We at ANA focus this year’s “Is Japan Cool?” project on Japanese artisans with expert command of unusual techniques inherited from ancient times — now rare in today’s world. Feature articles spotlight the spirit of tradition that dwells in these often unknown artisans who support Japanese people’s lives and cultures with the works they make by hand. The project team wishes to reach as many people as possible and share the true stories of these artisans and their treasured craft legacies.