List of swordsmiths and schools published

Swordsmith Index is now available on 12212 swordsmith records have been initially uploaded. With the initial data import being quite modest, the final goal is to provide a record structure giving a comprehensive view of smith’s background and features of his works in a way which allows easy data aggregation and filtering.

Basic data cleansing and correction of typos and obvious errors has been performed on the data before the initial import. Another important goal was to reduce (to certain degree) a level of ambiguity when referring to names (e.g. fathers, students, teachers), schools, places and times which often accompanies Nihonto sources. However, due to bulk operations and massive data transformations done using Excel files and SQL database, mistakes were unavoidable. Therefore all the imported records are marked as 'unverified' using a verification flag. They would need to be verified manually over next months (years? decades?) to fill the gaps and increase the data quality.

The following fields are available for viewing (with full public access) and modification (registered users only):


  • Name
  • ID
  • Real Name
  • Name (Kanji)
  • Other name(s)
  • Province
  • Other residence
  • Start Era
  • End Era
  • Start Year
  • End Year


  • Generation
  • School/Group
  • School/Group Name
  • Father
  • Father Name
  • Teacher
  • Teacher Name


  • Hawley Rating
  • Toko Taikan Rating
  • Fujishiro Rating


  • Fujishiro Page
  • Toko Taikan Page


  • Signature examples (kanji/romaji)
  • Comments

Also, a list of smith groups and schools of sword-making is available (being almost empty at the moment, to be filled gradually by members). If a smith is attributed to a particular school or group, the smith record will be visible in the list inside the school record. Also, there is a feature to establish a relationship between a school and its period branches (e.g. between Aoe school and Ko-Aoe, Chu-Aoe and Sue-Aoe schools) to ensure the most informed attribution of a smith to a particular school without losing the context in the tradition.

Multiple sources were used to produce the lists: Hawley’s Japanese Swordsmiths with references to Fujishiro’s Nihon Toko Jiten and Tokuno Kazuo’s Toko Taikan, data cleansing and record correction done using The Connoisseur’s Book of Japanese Swords by Kokan Nagayama, Nihon Koto Shi,, indispensable Dr. Stein’s The Japanese Sword Index and many other sources.

Currently the display features of smith and school records are quite simplistic. Records are displayed as lists of properties as recorded in the database. When the data model is proven to be working and delivering a fair representation of the data, the look & feel an d usability or the records will be improved.

As any other resource on, smith and school records allow rich text formatting, attachment of images, files and links. Commenting is enabled to provide a room for discussions and feedback. Also, smith records can be found using site search (see on the left hand side).

To Do:

  1. Bibliography with the possibility to leave a record of sources being used to compile the description of a particular smith or school.
  2. Better styling and formatting of smith records

To visit the Swordsmith Index, use the site menu on the left. While on the Index page, a switch between smith and school list is available at the top of the page.


Smith record styling is finished

Smith records are now properly styled. See a record for Shintogo Kunimitsu as an example.

Primary & Secondary records

I've removed the field Other Name(s) from swordsmith records and added a new field Primary Record.

I noticed there wasn't much sense in splitting other smith names into a separate text field. It didn't improve search or make smith records any clearer. Also, I encountered some difficulties editing the records in case when a smith had multiple records in Hawley's (e.g. put by mistake or under different names). For instance if some smith A had few sons and one of the sons appeared in Hawley's under 2 different names, it was an open question whether to put a reference to smith A's record as a father for both records or not and how to document the relationship between 2 records.

In order to remove this level of ambiguity one of the records could be set as primary, and all others as secondary. E.g. Kunitomo (primary), the 1st son of Kuniie, also referred in Hawley's as Fujimori (secondary). All secondary records should have the new field Primary Record to be pointing to the main record. In this case we can always have just one full record with references to school, father and teacher and leave auxiliary details to secondary records. This approach will remove a great deal of duplication.