|Our Samurai with their swords|
Emperor Meiji abolished the Samurai class during the reformation of Japan in favour of a Western style military. In the summer of 1869 the population was formally reclassified as Nobles, former Samurai and Commoners.
By 1876 ex-warriors were even deprived of the right to carry swords. The effect of this shift was far reaching. The craftsmen who supplied the many thousands of Samurai with swords were left without customers and this in turn affected a number of professions. These included the suppliers of all the various component parts such as the silk braid weavers, the fish skin suppliers as well as the metal workers all of whom suffered.
|The skin of a Stingray wrapped around a sword handle|
|A sword handle wrapped with silk braid|
Here in the studio there is a reminder of this proud tradition. Hammered onto the surface of a modern kogatana is an interesting pattern. It has been put there by a family who still use today the visual ray skin reference to remind everyone that they were traditional metal workers whose ancestors made swords for Samurai.