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Japanese Swords
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With over 300 stunning photographs and woodblock prints along with extensive historical and cultural commentary, Japanese Swords is the ultimate authority on Samurai weaponry. Historically, Japanese warriors considered their swords to be far greater than simple weaponry. Their swords were both lethal tools and divine companions -- social and religious icons. Traditionally worn by the samurai as a sign of social status, the Japanese sword represented the junction between the reigning military class and those whom they ruled. Moreover, the samurai sword was a technological and artistic marvel. Many scholars consider it to be the finest sword ever constructed. In terms of symbolism and historical importance, no other blade comes close to the Japanese sword. With a historical, iconographical, and technological perspective, author Cohn M. Roach provides an in-depth study of these magnificent weapons in Japanese Swords. This richly illustrated sword book weaves the blade's primary influences together, tracking its history and illuminating its progress from infancy to grandeur. By studying the evolution of the Japanese sword from this perspective, we better understand Japan and its warrior archetype. Combining research materials from multiple disciplines, Roach uses his expertise as an educator to guide readers through the sword's rise to greatness in a unique way. This book discusses the history, development, and spiritual symbolism of the sword, as well as the esoteric metallurgical techniques used in making it. It also covers the difficult training practices used by skilled swordsmen. Japanese Swords also includes a companion DVD featuring a beautifully-filmed documentary that explores the traditional swordmaker's craft. The DVD also contains an introduction to the Japanese sword at a sword shop in Kyoto and a visit to a dojo for a beginner's class in the medieval sword-drawing art called iaido.
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About the Author

Colin M. Roach, M.Ed. lives in the high mountains of Utah with his wife and three sons. He is a private school administrator with expertise in the areas of differentiated teaching and learning, and a member of the All Kinds of Minds Institute's national teaching faculty. Mr. Roach is an avid student of Japanese history, culture, and martial arts. Four generations of familial connection to Japan have fueled Mr. Roach's passionate study of Japan's archetypal warrior culture. In addition to his academic study of sword-related symbolism, he has trained with some of the top teachers of aikido and iaido in Japan and America. He holds the ranks of Youdan (4th degree) in iado and Sandan (3rd degree) in aikido. He also holds the teaching title ""Shidoin" in both arts. Mr. Roach often travels to teach sword-related symbolism, traditional Japanese swordsmanship, the etiquette involved when handling a Japanese sword, and iado's role in cultural preservation.

Reviews

"The imagery here is the real selling point. To me, you've got to show me as well as tell me about Japan. Trust me, if you've wanted to see some historical artifacts, detailed descriptions of Japanese swords, and a little glimpse into the world of Iaido, then you're in for a treat. "-Japan Finds blog "Beautiful photographs of swords, pictures of sword craftsmen at work, and illustrations of Japanese art and artifacts complement the thorough, scholarly text."-Maine Antique Digest "This oversized 176-page hardcover is overflowing with color and black-and-white photographs." -Black Belt Magazine "In order to truly understand the Japanese sword in its entirety one must, Roach suggests, appreciate the 'unique sociological, spiritual, and metallurgical environment in which it evolved.' With this at the core of his book, he vividly tracks the fundamental transition from the sword as a mythological instrument to a functional tool for war, and finally, to the display art commodity it is today." -Publishers Weekly

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