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Publications about, it's features and services, announcements.

Nihonto Club Features

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Become a site contributor (free) and publish your own articles. Rich-text editor enabled - no HTML knowledge required.

Web Directory

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Create your personal profile and share your interests, hobbies and business details. Set up a restricted access to your profile.

Personal Image Galleries

Registered users can upload full-size images and embed them into published content

Private Collections

Share your own collection with the community

Buy/Sell Nihonto Items

Mark items in your collection as FOR SALE / Buy from the catalogue. Shopping card, automatic checkout - coming soon

Japanese Sword Glossary

Category-based glossary. Terms of the day. Fast search

Forum, Blogs, Mailing Lists, etc

More can be done if there is a demand

New Member's Guide to Nihonto Club published

I have published New Member's Guide to Nihonto Club. It's a brief introduction to Nihonto Club resources. Your feedback is welcome!

Registration by invitation only

Dear Members and Visitors,

Due to recent increase in the number of spurious user account registrations and spam attacks, Nihonto Club will no longer be auto-accepting registration requests.

Please use Contact Form to apply for an account.

Apologies for the inconvenience. This policy is aimed at protecting you from unsolicited marketing and keeping the site's content clean.

Stan Nazarenko

Swordsmith Index verification finished

Dear Members and Friends,

Nihonto Club has reached a major milestone today. All records in Swordsmith Index have been verified against at least one swordsmith directory. All related databases and services have a solid foundation now, upon which Nihonto Club will grow. From now onwards you’ll never see the message ‘Warning! This record hasn't been verified yet’ again. It took more than 5 years to:

  • validate 12306 smith records (new and existing) and transform to Nihonto Club format
  • clean up, add missing characters to 2418 existing signatures
  • add 4769 new signatures in Kanji and Romaji

What's next? With all the holes in the existing data addressed, I'll be able to spend more time expanding swordsmith records with more in-depth information and continue working on the Sword Database, starting with Juyō class swords. Eventually I'm also planning to add more data on somewhat under-represented modern smiths, subject to time and resource constraints.

Many thanks to all the contributors who supplied Swordsmith Index with additional information. Your participation is always valued and appreciated.

Stan Nazarenko

New image publishing system released

Publication of Japanese sword related materials in a systematic and coherent way is the main mission of Nihonto Club. Uploading images and other media and attaching them to the main content is one of its most important components. Over last 4 years a number of solutions for handling images were used in different parts of the website (boards, galleries, collections etc) trying to find one which is best fit for the purpose. Personally I had serious reservations about all of them and was simply waiting for 'the right one' before committing to posting any image-heavy content.

Also I needed to know how you use it. Images seemed to be mostly used in Discussion Boards to ask questions about particular blades and fittings, as well as providing answers. In addition, Image Gallery and Private Collections areas were actively used to share images of the items you own.

Ability to expose images in Sword Database was another important area to be addressed.

The time has now come to roll out the new image handling system based on a very promising Node Gallery module for Nihonto Club software.

The new solution is treating pages of certain types (forum topic, collection item, sword record) as galleries with the possibility of attaching a number of images. Once added, they are available at the bottom of the page. If you click any image, it brings you to the gallery view where you can browse through images, view their enlarged versions (if available) and leave your comments.

It also allows maintaining information about ownership, copyright and licensing restrictions. It will help us to be fair to people who share their work, as well as open possibilities of using publically available image repositories such as Wikimedia Commons and Flickr without breaching their Terms & Conditions. This may not be a concern for a classic style message board, but Nihonto Club is (or hoping to be) more like a research tool and we need to think long term.

Being currently exposed in the most basic form, it provides brilliant prospects for future development. I'm hoping that you'll find it more consistent, intuitive and convenient than the older solutions.

Sword Database released

I’m pleased to announce the rollout of a new feature which hopefully will become one of the most important components of this website. Sword Database (accessible from the Club Resources menu on the left hand side) is a collection of sword records, from the most prominent to the most humble ones. It starts from the list of Kokuho – Japanese National Treasures and it’s going to expand in the coming years. Information on more than 2000 swords is ready to be published in the future.

The first version of the Sword Database contains only basic metrics of the blade, attribution and references to public sources, e.g. sword books, magazines and articles. It will be eventually enhanced with photos, thorough description and other information. It’s totally integrated with Swordsmith Index and allows searching both smiths and individual swords by signature. Swordsmith records display a list of extant works (if registered in the database). See Sukemitsu or Tōshirō Yoshimitsu as examples.

Site maintenance

Due to essential web site maintenance Nihonto Club may intermittently go offline between Jun 11, 23:00 GMT and June 12 03:00 GMT.

Apologies for any inconvenience it may cause.

Swordsmith Index: changes coming soon

As some of you may have noticed, there have already been some changes in the Swordsmith Index in recent weeks. This announcement provides details on the ongoing and planned updates for the Index.

Macrons for long vowels

When the first version of the Index was released nearly 3 years ago, a decision was made to give the ability to search and maintain data the highest priority. In order to facilitate that, all the names and terms were transformed to plain ASCII format (given the overall state of the internet technology at the time). There was some research done recently by Google which shows that Unicode is now widely adapted and supported across the Internet. This gave me reassurance that it's time to revise this decision. Since we migrated to a new platform 6 months ago, it is technologically feasible now to take another step forward and review the way Japanese names and terms are presented in Swordsmith Index and throughout the site. The proposed changes are also based on feedback from visitors and members of Nihonto Club.

Most importantly names of smiths, schools, provinces, eras as well as signatures will now be presented using macrons (ō and ū) for long o and u. Submission guidelines for Japan-related articles in Wikipedia are worth to be adapted: Manual of Style (Japan-related articles).

This change won't affect searching as both internal search and Google search can process macrons correctly (e.g. if we search for 'Bishu Osafune' it will find both 'Bishu Osafune' and 'Bishū Osafune'). This should make it easier to reconcile Rōmaji with Kanji, and also help non-Japanese readers with pronunciation. As this is (mostly) manual process, it will take a while to migrate the whole site with tens of thousands records into the new format.

Archaic pronunciations

Rōmaji for iye and suye (家, 末 and alternatives) will be replaced by modern forms ie and sue. E.g. Masaiye and Iyetsugu will be displayed and Masaie and Ietsugu.

New Filter Options for Swordsmith Index

Swordsmith Index now allows filtering by Province and Era.

Note: when filtering by Era, only traditional Nengō are available. It's currently not possible to filter by historical periods (e.g. Nanbokucho) or sword periods (Koto, Shinto etc). This is due to the fact that filtering works off the specified Start Era field in the smith record. Therefore filtering by Koto period will only show records with Start Era = Koto, and not any Koto smiths as one would expect.

Software upgrade planned 11-13 Sep 2009

Dear Members and Visitors,

Major software upgrade is planned for the coming weekend. Nihonto Club web site will be available in read-only mode between Friday, 11 September 2009 19:00 GMT and Sunday, 13 September 2009 22:00 GMT. You won’t be able to post comments or add new content. Image Gallery will be unavailable. Smith search is not affected.

This is a big step forward which took almost a year and a half to prepare. It opens up possibilities for adding new features and services.

More detailed list of changes to follow.

Apologies for any inconvenience it may have caused.


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