Matsunaga Genrokuro - A traditional Japanese swordsmith

I got invited to visit Sensei Matsunaga Genrokuro, a traditional Japanese swordsmith at his home in Arao, Japan. 
Not only was we able to watch as he demonstrated the stages of making Katana sword but also had his students show up at his 'Genseikai dojo' (meaning pure source school) to perform his very own 'Kobudo Shodai Ryu Zanshi' (Martial art that involves the drawing of a sword, approaching a target, cutting through the target, sheafing the sword and retreating).
After the performance we was invited into his home as he showed us his very own personal collection of Samurai items, including antique armor, swords, spears, guns all used in battle.

Sensei Genrokuro Matsunaga, one of the few sword-smiths still using traditional methods.

In order to make 1 sword, about 9kg of 'Tamahagane' (melted down iron sand) is required. After the temper folding and hammering, the final weight of the sword is usually only between 800g to 1000g.


Sensei Matsunaga Genrokuro's students displaying 'Kobudo Shodai Ryu Zanshi' (drawing of a sword, approaching a target, cutting through the target, sheafing the sword and retreating)

Makiwara (straw targets) for Shodai Ryu practice are soaked in water for at least one week, rinsed and cut whilst wet. This results in a target which is tougher to cut than would otherwise be the case and is, reputedly, comparable to the resistance offered by a human neck or limb.


Group photo with Sensei Genrokuro Matsunaga and his disciples at his home Dojo, Genseikai dojo