Welcome to the Japanese Sword Guide. I started this site several years ago to share my enjoyment of the art of the Japanese sword and to aid others in understanding this complex topic. I have been a student of the Japanese sword for about 35 years although I've been studying antique knives and swords of various types including 19th Century English and American bowie knives, kris (keris), Nordic knives (esp. Finnish puukko), antique pocket knives, Swiss army knives, bronze age weapons and early English cutlery for over 60 years. I have also been a knife maker and customizer for many years. I enjoy all types of fine cutlery.
My formal training is in the field of chemistry in which I earned B.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Chemistry helped stimulate my interest in metallurgy, of which the Japanese sword is perhaps the finest example of the art and craft of ancient sword smithing. I have published numerous articles on antique knives, swords, chemistry and chemical education in various scholarly and collector journals. I have been a staff or contributing writer for several magazines. I taught college chemistry and other subjects for over thirty years before retiring to devote myself more to my wife, our dogs Po (now deceased) and Sophie, the study of Nihonto and other sharp pointy things (although not necessarily in that order :-) I am a Life Member of the National Knife Collectors Association and have been a member of numerous antique cutlery collector groups. I do not pretend to be an expert in Japanese swords. With perhaps another hundred years of study, I might be considered a beginner. I hope you find this site useful as an aid in the study and understanding of the art, history and beauty of Japanese swords.
This site is dedicated to the late George Moody, my friend and sword mentor who stimulated my interest in the study of Nihonto and freely shared his knowledge and enthusiasm for the subject.
Many individuals have contributed material to this site.
My heartfelt thanks to all for sharing their knowledge and wisdom.
I hope you enjoy your visit.
Richard Stein, Ph.D., F.A.I.C.
Professor Emeritus of Chemistry
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