Setouchi city (Okayama Prefecture) is currently embarked upon a project that is among the first of its kind in Japan. Using a number of different crowdfunding platforms both within Japan and overseas, the city is hoping to raise the capital needed to buy the famous “Yamatorige (山鳥毛)”, an art sword designated as a National Treasure of Japan, for the internationally-recognised Bizen Osafune Sword Museum.
Originally made in the 13th century in the area where the modern-day city of Setouchi now stands, the Yamatorige is the best extant Bizen masterwork and across the centuries was owned by many illustrious figures including the famed Warring-States period daimyo Uesugi Kenshin. As the only National Treasure originally made in the city to now be in private hands, this is a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the city to acquire such an important piece of its heritage.
This project also plays into Setouchi’s wider cultural education efforts to both advance public understanding of the philosophy behind Japanese swords, as well as spread awareness of the artistic value of Japanese swords. Last year, it produced a short documentary explaining the entire complex katana fabrication process which has since accrued over 30 million views across social media. The city’s aim with this project is to use the acquisition of this unrivalled masterpiece to foster this burgeoning public interest by making the museum a more attractive prospect for tourists and enthusiasts.
The international Kickstarter page will be running until January 19th and will be offering a number of rewards to backers, including oshigata of the Yamatorige and knives hand-crafted by local master swordsmiths.
Japan Times Article: https://bit.ly/2rcvUxm