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Why would a Kendo club buy a real sword to use?

The sword comes to training for the first time.

Last year we embarked on a project to purchase a real sword for the club to own and use. One of the senior members of the club is a collector of Japanese swords and related militaria and he has a real eye for quality, so I was confident he would find something appropriate. We decided that we wanted a sword that was properly forged and in good polish (i.e. sharp!) but not so expensive or valuable that we would be afraid to use it for test cutting.

Below I will describe in detail the process of acquiring the sword, and then the rationale for having it.


Research

After only a few weeks of searching online a blade was found that seemed to fit the bill. It was a properly forged katana with no name (mumei) dating to the early Showa period (1930s). The temper pattern (hamon) showed care and skill but it was not overly decorative, meaning this was a sword made to be used. One theory about its provenance is that it was part of a large order of swor…

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