The origins of Japanese swords are not widely known, however the present-day form of Japanese swords originated around a thousand years ago. Nowadays, Japanese swords no longer serve as weapons, rather they are appreciated both in Japan and overseas as items of beauty or symbolic protection. Setouchi city, Osafune in Okayama Prefecture, a region with one of the longest histories in sword production, is considered to be the home of Japanese swords. Almost half of Japanese swords designated as national treasures and cultural properties are from this area. The Bizen Osafune Japanese Sword Museum is the only museum in Japan where visitors can observe all the artisans necessary to make a sword at work.
In this talk, former diplomat Kaori Sato gave an overview of “Bizen Osafune Japanese Swords” as well as the Japanese spirit through the art of sword making. She also discussed the city’s challenge to revitalise the local economy through Japanese sword making.
This event was organised in collaboration with Setouchi City.
About the contributors
Kaori Sato was a diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan from 2004 to 2014. Here, she served as a Spanish-Japanese interpreter for top level figures including the Emperor of Japan and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Currently, Kaori is a coordinator of the promotion of tourism of Setouchi city, and is a lecturer at International Pacific University in Japan. She promotes Setouchi city’s craft arts to the world. In 2017, she initiated and coordinated the city’s production of a short video on Japanese sword artisans, “Bizen Osafune Japanese Sword”. The video was posted on the Japanese Embassy in the USA’s ‘Japan Information & Culture Center’s Facebook page, reaching over 21 million views so far.