The book is divided into three sections: An Overview of the Japanese Sword, The Forged Sword, and Consequences of Modification and Wear. Each section provides very specific, useful lessons by the author that serve as virtual hands-on experiences. With easily understandable examples, the author precisely instructs readers on how to discern and obtain a “healthy” blade, while avoiding fakes or potentially problematic blades. In addition, he shows not only the difference in styles and shapes of blades, but explains what the differences mean and how to interpret them from a buyer’s/collector’s point of view.
Paul Martin, a Japanese sword researcher and curator, is a former member of the Department of Japanese Antiquities at the British Museum, London. He has translated the text, drawing on his extensive experience and expertise in the field to adapt the author’s theories and discussions and make them more accessible to Western readers.