As you have surely noticed, the period in between articles got longer over the last months, and I don´t feel comfortable about that because what I want is that this page provides new aspects and interesting insights into the subject each time a nihontô enthusiasts decides to take a look what´s going on at Markus´ blog. This would be the ideal but yet in practice things are different though. Those who know me, personal and via the internet, know that I am never resting in my mission to make information on Japanese swords and everything around it accessible to those who don´t read Japanese. It was about ten years ago when I decided that this will be my way to follow and six years ago I put that decision into practice and went into business for myself. (Well, the Japanese sword accompanies my since I was eighteen but I remember having a book on edged weapons whose title escapes my mind when I was in High School, of which the – if I remember correctly – one or two pages on Japanse swords blew my mind.) In these six years, I was basically driven by personal feedback. That means, I took suggestions on necessary books to heart each time I attended a sword meeting. And at this point, I can´t emphasize enough the trust placed in me amongst (back then entirely German) collectors who gave me the opportunity to study hands-on their priced swords and fittings, even those masterpieces which are usually hidden away and hardly make it into public. I have to pay tribute to these men without whom I don´t know where the journey would have taken me… In other words, my oeuvre reflects the input and feedback I got and I am not going to change this.
When I started this blog in February 2013, I was well aware that I will receive even more feedback, and this was quite intentional. Well, starting signal for this blog was that I got an offer to contribute on a regular basis articles to a blog of a very kind art dealer. Thinking about this offer I decided that instead of continuously publishing somewhere else, I better create my own blog. This is the 2010s and a free, pleasing, and easily findable blog is set up in less than an hour. In a nutshell, friends and interested parties should be able to reach my at my own place and not somewhere else. But what I didn´t consider, or rather underestimated, is the private feedback from this blog. Over the last year and still going, almost a third of my daily work consists of answering questions, giving tips, and referring to further information, publications, and links. Please don´t misunderstand me: This is what I want to do and it is certainly a great pleasure to me to be of help and it was anyway one of the initial aims to create a place of my own. However, I feel like running for years incessantly at full power and now the the blog requires some extra. This causes some minor delays and I apologize at this moment to some of my colleagues and customers for that some things take a little longer than planned.
Anyway, with this I want to come to the forecast and want to inform you what´s going on. A considerable part of the feedback I get is about as follows: “Markus, you provided us with tons of information over the last years. Due to your work, we have now a better than ever starting position to do secondary and advanced studies on our own. But what we now need is references as a picture is worth a thousand words. There are references out there but not collected and verified.” To respond to this demand, I will publish some Taikan-style books in the future, like for example my book on Kanô Natsuo. Planned is in the near future a book on Umetada Myoju, followed at irregular intervals by Nobuie, Kaneie, Kotetsu, Kiyomaro, Masamune and so on. And yes, these books should contain all the relevant works of these artists for you to just look at and appreciate them, or to use them for advanced studies and to get an ever deeper understanding of the subject. Apart from that, I will still write a book on gendaitô, although feedback is still reserved. Well, I got a lot of material from those who told me right from the beginning they will support this project, but to be honest, I thought I would receive far more data by now. Anyway, a book on this subject will be written and it will be a useful book, I promise. Apart from that, I am still working on a project on tsuba and kodôgu that, when finished, will probably the best reference on sword fittings ever published. My proof-reader and I work hard on this and all major non-Japanese sword associations are involved. So this, and it looks like it will be three volumes, will be for decades the thing you have to have in your library when studying tsuba!
Apart from that, the impact of Momoyama culture on swords and, first and foremost, on tsuba absorbed me for years and this will be covered in the upcoming Taikan-style book on Umetada Myôju and his school. What I also plan to write is a book on meitô, i.e. Famous Swords, with all their provenance and so on. And another project on my list is to write a book on the Who´s Who of post Edo sword world. I often have to dig deep to find information on not so well known auhors and experts on swords and sword fittings and I want to dedicate them a book of their own.
So far the updates and forecast and some interesting articles are in progresss. Thank you!