Recreating a 19th century Japanese Tsuba

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

3991 Articles

By Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

3991 Articles

One of our readers, Jimy Soprano, sent us the links to this incredibly inspiring short documentary of classical Japanese metal artist Ford Hallam recreating a lost masterpiece by the 19th century Mito tsuba artist Hagia Katsuhira. Years ago, I went off on a Samurai sword/Iaido kick and obsessed over every detail of Japanese sword construction, maintenance, and the “moving Zen” of the Iaido form. This video touched that obsession again.

The “tsuba” is the decorative sword guard, and like every other piece of a samurai sword, it’s work of art in and of itself. This video documents Ford Hallam being commissioned to create a tsuba for a Katana (long) sword to match an existing tsuba created by Hagia Katsuhira for a wakazashi (short sword). The painstaking, precise nature of the work is dizzying. [Thanks, Jimy!]

More about Ford Hallam can be found on his blog Postcards from the Path