Friday, October 10, 2014
Shinken (真剣, literally meaning "real sword") is a Japanese term used to describe a Japanese sword that has a live forged blade and used for iaido (combat practice) and/or tameshigiri (cutting) practice, as opposed to an iaito or mogito (an unsharpened manufactured sword for iaido practice). "Gendaito" are hand-made shinken by one of approximately 250 swordsmiths active in Japan at the moment, members of the Japanese Swordsmith Association. These swordsmiths are limited by Japanese law to producing no more than twenty-four swords a year each. This limit, along with highly specialized skills and the need for a great deal of manual labour, accounts for the high price that a Japanese-made shinken (Nihonto) can fetch - starting from about $6,000 (US) for the blade alone, and going many times higher for genuine antique (Mukansa or Ningen Kokuho are two famous types) blades.