Welcome to Nihonto Club!
The site is dedicated to authentic Japanese swords (Nihonto) and sword makers of the last 1300 years. I hope you may find it useful when you're looking for more information about your Japanese sword or swords in general.
People often ask me how to become a club member, if it's free to join and what do members actually do. If you have a genuine interest in history, development and artistic qualities of the Japanese sword, then you are almost a member of Nihonto Club. Just one more step is required, that is registration (free). At its current state the Club is totally virtual, we don't hold annual meetings and there are no membership fees involved. It's more like a library, a lab, a notebook, a playground, and a meeting place.
This site was originally planned as a blog + photo gallery where I could post my Nihonto related findings, put my humble collection on display, use the site for occasional sales/purchases and let other collectors/hobbyists/enthusiasts to do the same thing. Some ideas worked out, some ideas didn't. There are still many things to be polished out. The site also evolved with my own understanding of the complex subject of Nihonto.
I also hoped to convert more people into appreciation of Japanese sword as an art form and cultural phenomena rather than just seeing it as exotic and fearsome weapon. This is probably the most difficult part and I still can't quite manage to formulate why one would prefer studying Nihonto to appreciation of more conventional art forms and other hobbies and passions. Maybe because I just don't know it myself yet. There's something special about it as the sword and its fittings were traditionally made of and with the help of basic elements, earth (sand), water, fire, stone, wood, bone and with human skill and perfection taken to the extreme. And it takes a lot of time, effort and dedication (especially for non-Japanese person) to get into this field. It's indeed a very difficult (and expensive, but extremely enjoyable) undertaking.
Being a mathematician myself and working with knowledge management professionally, I'm trying to find a way to expose Nihonto knowledge in a manner which is well structured, unambiguous, traceable, easy to maintain and (very important) accessible to everyone. After 6 years so far it's just the beginning. I've learned (still learning) how the data was represented and passed over traditionally, leveraged on the experience of earlier works, Meikan, Hawley, JSS/US, To-Show databases etc. Quality and traceability of data is my primary concern. This is one of the reasons why there is a frame put in place with glossary, bibliography, directory of all the major smiths and smith schools ever existed, but there isn't much 'meat', very limited amount of information about history, background, styles etc. I'm very grateful to those of you who contributed information and gave valuable advice on site organization.
As it stands now the primary audience of club's resources would be people who are already familiar with the subject of authentic Japanese swords. There is no (not yet) any introductory articles. We, members, occasionally help with signature readings (see Boards).
The site is non-commercial so far and produces no revenue. It is funded from my own pocket. Except where otherwise noted, this site is licensed under Creative Commons License which allows to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt the work freely as long as appropriate attribution is made, the use is non-commercial and any derivative works are licensed under similar terms (for more details see here). Any of the above conditions can be waived if proper arrangements are made (contact me if unsure). Nihonto Club owner and members will not be held responsible for any loss, damage or inconvenience caused as a result of any inaccuracy or error within this website.
Enjoy your stay. I wish you all the best in your Nihonto studies.
Stan Nazarenko (Dublin, 2013)