Yamatorige project

This post is published on behalf of Setouchi City Council (Okayama Prefecture). The city is running a campaign via Kickstarter from Tuesday 20th November–Saturday 22nd December as part of our efforts to raise the 5,000,000USD in capital needed to buy the National Treasure art sword, the ‘Yamatorige’, for their leading sword gallery, the Bizen Osafune Japanese Sword Museum.

This 13th century tachi is considered the most significant extant masterpiece from the Bizen area, where modern Setouchi now stands. This feat is all the more impressive as, of the 2.8 million registered blades in Japan, half were made in this one small region, including an impressive 47 of the 111 designated as National Treasures. Not only is it an exquisite work of art, but the sword is also of great historical importance, having been the favoured blade of Uesugi Kenshin, among the most powerful warlords of the 16th century and national traditional icons.

While many Bizen masterworks currently reside in prominent museums such as the USA’s Metropolitan Museum and the UK’s British Museum, not one is presently in the very museum that bears the area’s name. As such, and due to its singular cultural significance, the city jumped on the chance to purchase the sword when, in January 2018, the sword’s owner gave the city a once-in-a-lifetime sales offer.

Due to severe flooding in Okayama in July the amount of available funding domestically has been, understandably, limited. Both due to these unfortunate circumstances and also as part of their mission to spread awareness and learning about Japanese art swords, we have decided to expand our funding efforts.

This project is not simply about the purchase of a sword. Japan currently exemplifies many of the problems facing developed nations around the world, including countryside population drain and the resulting loss of generations-old traditions. They believe that Japan can set an example, using its ancient philosophy, art and crafts to draw interest away from the big cities and back towards these small communities, helping to rejuvenate them through tourism and culture.

Project links

Bizen Osafune Promotional Video: https://bit.ly/2AxfW6z
Yamatorige Project, Japan Times Article: https://bit.ly/2qfQE6Z
Kickstarter Profile: https://kck.st/2PCmYjp
Project Facebook Page: https://bit.ly/2KdcIbq