Meet the Craftsman

  Togi-shi (Polisher)

Nakamura Yutaka was born in Shizuoka Prefecture to a family of Shinto priests.  Because he wasn't the eldest son, he had to choose a different field of work.  Perhaps due to the close association between swordmaking and the Shinto religion of Japan, Nakamura entered the workshop of the famous Living National Treasure togi-shi, Ono Kokei.  After a 10 year apprenticeship, he became an independent polisher.  He has been polishing swords for 30 years and is at the peak of his craft.



Sugiura Masayoshi lives in Toyohashi city in Aichi Prefecture.  He was originally in the lumber business where he was responsible for selecting the trees to be cut.  Through this work he was able to learn a great deal about wood.  Before he became a professional saya-shi, he selected 5 of the best honoki trees he could find and had them cut for his personal use.  Today, he uses this wood which has been seasoning for more than 35 years.  Few saya-shi have access these days to wood of this quality.  He has been making shirasaya for over 35 years and is now one of the top 2 or 3 saya-shi in Japan.  Sugiura-san is also an excellent sword polisher.



Arai Shizuo is from Nagano Prefecture.  He was originally a watch maker before becoming a professional kinko.  He has won numerous prizes in the N.B.T.H.K. sponsored yearly habaki contests, including the Yushusho, or Excellence Award, several times in recent years.  His work is absolutely top class.