With their majestic appearance and elegance, Japanese swords fascinate both people in Japan and those around the world. It is no exaggeration to say that there has been an unprecedented Japanese sword boom in recent years. We in Japan are very proud of the fact that so many people are interested in and collect Japanese swords.
On the other hand, however, the modern Japanese sword-smithing industry is facing a shortage of successors, and the transmission of sword-smithing skills is in jeopardy. Despite the boom, the environment for sword making is not stable, and the cost of raw materials such as iron continues to rise across the board. In addition, Japanese swords are made not only by a single swordsmith, but also by a group of craftsmen, including a polisher, a silversmith, a sheath craftsman, a lacquerer, a metal craftsman, an engraver, and a tsuka wrapper, which requires a large up-front investment. If this situation continues, Japanese swordsmanship, having continued uninterrupted for more than 1,000 years, may become a dying art.
Gallery Tozando was established in cooperation with the All Japan Swordsmith Association, the largest organization of swordsmiths in Japan, consisting of more than 170 swordsmiths. Gallery Tozando exhibits and sells the very best in fine-art swords created by both young and world-renowned swordsmiths of the All Japan Swordsmith Association, who have ventured to create the very best examples of Japanese blades. By helping people from all over the globe learn about and purchase modern, fine-art swords, we are not only supporting the swordsmiths who continue the tradition of sword making but also helping preserve the skills that have been handed down since the Heian period.
If you are ever in Kyoto, please consider stopping by Gallery Tozando to experience first-hand these immaculate expressions of the Japanese art of sword making, forged by living embodiments of tradition continuing this great lineage in the modern age.
Tozando Co., Ltd.
Chairman & President
This year marks the 48th anniversary of the founding of the All Japan Swordsmith Association. The purpose of the association is to preserve and pass on the art of Japanese sword making, to promote and educate the public about modern Japanese swords, to promote exchange among swordsmiths, and to preserve the status of these swordsmiths. Since its foundation, the organization has been promoting exhibitions and other activities under the auspices of a larger organization.
However, due to various circumstances, the association decided to leave the umbrella of this organization in 2006 and became independent. As a swordsmith, it was difficult to work and manage the organization at the same time, but it was significant that we found new ideas ウwith the philosophy of thinking for ourselves. This event coincided with the Japanese sword boom, and thus our projects in collaboration with animation and video game characters were a great success.
The "Omamori-gatana Exhibition," held annually for the 16th time this year, has become established as a unique exhibition limited to swords known as Omamori-gatana.
For Gallery Tozando, we have decided to form a business alliance with Tozando. The opening of this gallery in the ancient capital of Kyoto will not only be a great encouragement for our swordsmiths, but also a great opportunity for many people, including lovers of new Japanese swords, tourists, and especially foreign visitors, to experience new Japanese swords.
We believe that the most important factor in a smith’s improvement of their skills is above all the result of having our works seen by many people. In addition to the permanent exhibition, we are looking forward to a variety of attractive projects such as solo exhibitions, coterie exhibitions, group exhibitions, and collaborative exhibitions between swordsmiths and other industries.
We at the All Japan Swordsmith Association would like to express our respect for Tozando's passion for the development of new Japanese swords and promise to do our best together.
Chairman of the All Japan Swordsmith Association