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Japanese to English: The History of Japanese Swords General field: Other Detailed field: History
Source text - Japanese 刀の歴史
Translation - English The History of Japanese Swords
Swords which are referred to as Japanese swords (nihonto) are the kind of curved single-edged swords that came into existence toward the end of the Heian period (794-1185).
The sword-smith Yasutsuna from the land of Hoki (in the western part of modern-day Tottori prefecture) forged the oldest of these curved swords, a sword called Dojigiri Yasutsuna (a national treasure, part of the collection of Tokyo National Museum).
Before that, swords made in Japan were straight, double-edged swords similar to those made in the rest of the world.
High-quality iron sand was mined in the land of Izumo (in the eastern part of present-day Shimane-prefecture), and in areas such as Yamashiro (in the southern part of present-day Kyoto prefecture), which was the center of politics, several schools of sword-making appeared.
In the late Kamukura era (1185-1333) sword-smithing techniques from the five lands of Yamashiro, Yamato, Bizen, Mino, and Soshu became collectively known as gokaden (the five traditions).
It is believed that Japanese swords drive away evil spirits, so people have carried them as a talisman since ancient times.
While today Japanese swords are mainly considered works of art, they continue to be part of people's lives, for instance through martial arts such as battodo, and in religion, through worship of the gods using ceremonial swords.
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I'm a native speaker of English as well as Dutch (dual UK/The Netherlands citizenship) and have been living permanently in Japan since 2004.
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I have graduated from The Netherlands Film in Television Academy in Amsterdam specializing in multimedia production. I have also have studied Japanese Language and Culture at Leiden University in The Netherlands for four years.
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