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Japanese Swords | Join the New Emperor Gotoba Historic Sword Making Project

Watch Here: On October 16 see the inaugural sword making ceremony and be part of the Crowdfunding Project for the first modern Emperor Gotoba Shin-Gobankaji since 1939.



Emperor Gotoba Shin-Gobankaji Logo


Important Cultural Property Tachi. (Chrysanthemum Mon) Kiku Ichimonji Tokugawa Art Museum. 13th century, Kamakura period

Join some of the greatest swordsmiths of this era, all of whom have been designated as master smiths, as they raise the first modern Gobankaji since 1939. 

WATCH the SHIN-GOBANKAJI Inaugural Ceremony LIVE STREAM here from 1:00 P.M. JST on October 16.

The project is brought together with the aim of celebrating Emperor Gotoba’s contributions to the Japanese art of sword making and supporting the related sword crafts.  

FOR THE HISTORY: Japanese Swords | Bringing the Historic Sword Making of Emperor Gotoba Back to Life

Oki Shrine, Ama Town (Paul Martin collection)

How You Can Participate

The sword forging demonstration will be streamed live on the day of the event, and uploaded permanently afterward on YouTube

You can be part of the event by participating in the crowdfunding project to support it here (live from 5:30 P.M. JST on October 16.) 

The organizers are hoping to raise enough money to purchase twelve swords by twelve modern master smiths ーthe same number as the original Gobankaji of Emperor Gotoba. 

Moreover, you can participate by purchasing original limited-edition goods while making donations to support the Emperor Gotoba Shin-Gobankaji landing page here

Emperor Gotoba Grave (Paul Martin collection)

Why It’s an Important Project

The greatest swordsmiths of this era, along with Japanese sword experts, are forming a new Gobankaji to preserve the crafts, skills and associated arts involved in bringing Japanese swords to life.

There is a sense of urgency about the project as the number of licensed swordsmiths declines, along with scabbard craftsmen, and habaki (important collar fitting) craftsmen, with very few new apprentices entering the crafts. 


Shin-Gobankaji Project founder, Japanese sword specialist Paul Martin (56) explained: 

As we are the current generation, we bear the responsibility of ensuring support and the passing of these treasures of intangible crafts, history, and culture onto future generations. 
If we leave it to someone else, it may never happen, and all might be lost.

Master Swordsmith Sadatoshi Gassan (Paul Martin collection)

On this occasion, master smith Sadatoshi Gassan is returning with his own son, Sadanobu, to perform a ceremonial forging demonstration in front of the shrine to launch the Shin-Gobankaji and crowdfunding project on October 16, 2021. 

His family name can be traced back to the 13th century. Sadatoshi’s father was the Living National Treasure swordsmith, Sadaichi Gassan, a member of the Showa Gobankaji (1939) who devoted a sword to Oki shrine at that time under the name of Sadamitsu. He returned to Okinoshima in 1975 with his apprentice son, Sadatoshi, where they performed a sword making demonstration in front of Oki shrine, close to the site of Emperor Gotoba’s funeral pyre and grave. Sadatoshi commented on the new project, saying:

It is an honor to be able to participate in such a project. Just like Emperor Gotoba inspired the original Gobankaji, a project like this associated with the memory of the Emperor continues to inspire future generations of smiths. 


What: Inaugural ceremony of the Emperor Gotoba Shin-Gobankaji sword making project

Where: Oki Shrine on the Oki Islands in Shimane Prefecture

Live Event: from 1:00 P.M. on October 16, 2021

Watch it Live or Later: At this link

Purchase Related Goods, Make Donations: At this link

Be Part of the Crowdfunding: At this link

or at this QR code: 



There is a sword attributed to the hand of Emperor Gotoba currently on Display at the Tokugawa Art Museum in Nagoya until December 12, 2021.

The sword was owned by Tadanaga. the third son of Tokugawa Hidetada. It was then passed to the 1st Generation head of the Owari Tokugawa clan, Yoshinao, and became a prize possession of the Owari Branch Family.  It was later devoted to the mausoleum of the 4th Generation head, Yoshimichi, in Kenchuji Temple on the event of his death by his son, the 5th Generation head, Gorota. The sword later came back into the Owari Tokugawa family in the Meiji period.. 

Important Cultural Property Tachi.  (Chrysanthemum Mon) Kiku Ichimonji Tokugawa Art Museum. 


Author: JAPAN Forward

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