At Bugei, our interest is in the swords of the ancient Samurai. The shapes, lengths, nakago, tsuka, etc. reflect an era when swords were still used for combat. Our swords are used by more modern sword styles and our Wave koshirae blades can be custom designed to fit more modern styles that are currently practiced in Japan, however this is not our prime directive. Most of the modern swords produced in Japan would not be practical for the uses that the Samurai required of their blades. The majority of currently produced blades are too thin and flat ground to stand up to the rigors of actual battle use. In real world terms a broken sword often meant death. In the 1850's in Japan two samurai were killed in different incidents because their swords broke during fights. One of these samurai was Nakai Shogoro killed at the Teradaya Inn and the other, named Arima, was killed at the Tenmanya Inn. All cultures tend to rewrite history and the Japanese are no exception. Some modern styles for instance do not want to see things like tameshigiri become a more practical training for combative type of cutting and a more realistic test of blade performance. Modern Japan and the vast majority of modern Japanese martial arts, with some exceptions, do not reflect combat intent or function and only partially reflect the military arts of the Samurai. With this in mind we are drawn to the styles of blade and the military arts that reflect the Samurai when they were masters of their own fate.
The Edo period was the beginning of the end for Samurai martial culture, the Meiji restoration put nails in the coffin, and World War Two with a few notable exceptions put the coffin in the ground. In ancient Japan the size, shape, and styles of blades had a wonderful diversity that is missing in the present. We are interested in reproducing some of this swords for both the collector and the practitioner. Our desire is to produce, at the best possible prices, swords that reflect those ancient traditions that fire our imagination with the skill and courage of the Samurai in battle. Our most recent introduction is a shobu-zukuri sword of the type that was used to great effect by the Samurai when battling the Mongol invasions during the 14th century. Modern Japan may value form more than function however for their distant ancestors form had to follow function, it was a question of survival and warriors are nothing if not pragmatic. Our long nakago and two mekugi provide both strength and safety. Our choice of tsuka lengths from 9" to 16" provide for styles both ancient and modern. Our exclusive use of the superior and difficult to come by Swedish Powdered Steel assures you our customer that your sword is made from the very best material available. Some of the best sword smiths in Japan use this steel on blades costing in excess of ten thousand dollars. Paul Chen, because of his knowledge and integrity, is one of the few to have access to this steel.
Rockwell C hardness testing results: Swedish Powdered Steel Katana
Ha (edge) 62-60
Ji to Mune 35-32
Pictured are old sepia photographs of 19th century Samurai, notice the two swords and the length of the tsuka.