swords

i-katana? Apple designer collaborates with traditional craftsmen to create Japanese sword set

Marc Newson’s versatile talents have led the industrial designer to work in a number of fields. While he first garnered critical acclaim for longue chairs and other pieces of furniture, the Australian native has also created watches, shoes, and cameras.

Since 2014, Newson has been providing his services to Apple, being involved with the design of the iPhone 6. For his latest project, though, he’s shifting from the cutting edge of consumer electronics to the cutting edge of bladed weaponry, as Newson is part of a collaborative team producing a set of traditional Japanese swords.

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Japanese “History Geek Girls” snapping up copies of mega-popular book about Japanese swords

I think we can all agree that it doesn’t take much to convince people that Japanese swords are all-around pretty cool. The sweet, curved blade of the katana just has a natural artistic beauty, plus we hear they’re pretty good at slicing fruit.

But apparently Japanese teen and 20-something boys these days just aren’t that into it. Girls, on the other hand, seem to be driving a renewed interest in the historical weapons, if sales of a new series of books are any indication.

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Historical Japanese swords turn into hot and battle-hardened Blade Boys in new video game

These days, one of the quickest and most popular methods for stocking a video game with a cast of attractive anime-style characters is to pick a class of item and anthropomorphize the heck out of it. There’s currently no hotter mobile game than Kantai Collection, in which players command a fleet of pretty girls who’re all modeled after World War II-era Japanese warships. If naval history isn’t your thing, you can also find titles featuring comely cars and moe mushrooms.

There’s a new entry in the subgenre though, and judging from its all-pretty boy roster of characters, it’s been designed with female otaku gamers in mind. As such, it’s no surprise that the men of Touken Ranbu are all based on something long and hard…plus sharp, as they’re all anthropomorphized swords.

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Samurai tennis! Professional Kei Nishikori trades racquet for a sword in this awesome new ad

Last year, Nissin, makers of Cup Noodle instant ramen, created the awesome Samurai in Brazil ad, in which a soccer player clad in Japanese armor travelled to South America to show off his footwork to the locals. The company later caught up with the freestyle soccer expert in Europe with a sequel, Samurai in Manchester .

In its newest commercial, Nissin isn’t just switching venues, but sports, too, as Samurai in New York features one of the best tennis players in the world, who proves just how talented he is by leaving behind his racquet and delivering powerful forehands, backhands, and serves using a wooden sword.

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Make studying violent with these Legendary Weapon pencil toppers

When I was in junior high school, for a couple of weeks it seemed like whenever the teacher’s back was turned, all the kids in the classroom were engaged in pencil fighting. One combatant would hold his pencil lengthwise, his opponent would try to shatter it with his own, and then they’d switch, taking turns until only one pencil was left intact.

When you stop and think about it, it’s kind of a dumb game. Sure, destruction being a critical component gives it an undeniable appeal. No matter how talented you are though, in the end, you’re just swinging around a writing instrument, and not an awesome foe-cleaving weapon.

Unless, of course, you have one of these cool Legendary Weapon pencil caps.

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“2D vs. Katana” exhibition shows off recreations of swords from anime and video games in Osaka

Last year, Tokyo’s Ueno Royal Museum held an exhibition of Japanese swords inspired by the mechanical and character designs of landmark anime Evangelion. As cool as some of the pieces looked, though, you won’t find any scenes in the giant robot franchise where someone actually fights using a katana.

On the other hand, right now the Osaka Museum of History is holding an event that goes even further in bridging the gap between fantasy and reality, by displaying recreations of amazing blades seen in anime, manga, and light novel illustrations.

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Zelda hero Link’s other blade, the Fierce Deity Sword, brought to life in awesome video

While every game in Nintendo’s long-running Zelda franchise stars an elfish boy named Link who goes on a quest to save the world, each installment puts its own signature wrinkle on the formula. Wind Waker is the one with cel-shaded, storybook-like visuals. Twilight Princess is the one where Link can turn into a wolf.

And Majora’s Mask is the weird, dark one that would give little kids nightmares.

That’s not the sole distinction for title, though. Majora’s Mask is also the only place where you can see the awesome Fierce Deity Sword. Well, more accurately, it was the only place, since the awesome blade now exists in real life, too.

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Who needs scissors? Stylist in Vietnam slices customers’ hair with samurai sword

About a month after I moved to Japan in college, my hair was getting pretty shaggy, so I asked my host dad where I could get a trim. The place he took me to was an old-school barbershop, and I remember being surprised when instead of using electric clippers on the back of my neck, the barber used a straight razor.

Still, that wasn’t nearly as big as the shock some customers get when they walk into this hairdresser’s in Vietnam and see the stylist slicing people’s hair with a Japanese sword.

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Scholars confirm first discovery of Japanese sword from master bladesmith Masamune in 150 years

Should you visit a history museum in Japan, and, like I do, make an immediate beeline for the collections of samurai armor and weaponry, you might be surprised to notice that Japanese swords are customarily displayed with the stitching removed from the hilt. Visually, it sort of dampens the impact, since the remaining skinny slab of metal is a lot less evocative of it actually being gripped and wielded by one of Japan’s warriors of ages past.

The reason this is done, though, is because many Japanese swordsmiths would “sign” their works by etching their names into the metal of the hilt. Some craftsmen achieved almost legendary status, becoming folk heroes whose names are widely known even today.

The most respected of all, though, was Masamune, whose reluctance to sign his blades has made identifying them difficult. But difficult and impossible are two different things, and for the first time in over a century, a sword has been confirmed by historians as being the creation of the master himself.

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Real, functional Attack on Titan swords: This man’s year-long project will blow your mind

As popular as Attack on Titan is, it’s hardly surprising how many great cosplay outfits have been made by fans. And with a live action movie in the works, we wouldn’t be surprised if the level of pure awesome of AoT cosplay explodes a few hundredfold.

But it’s going to be tough to top these real, functional swords one university student made in his free time over the course of a year. The best part is, he might even make a pair for you!

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700-year-old swordcrafting ceremony lives on in Gifu Prefecture【Video】

While many people immediately think of samurai when Japan is mentioned, you might not expect to find many swordcrafters still working in the modern-day. And certainly not out in public for everyone to see!

However, the start of every year sees a gathering of swordcrafters in Gifu Prefecture where they ceremonially pound a piece of steel in a centuries old traditional ceremony. It looks cool and must be great exercise to work off all the osechi calories too!

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