On Sunday, July 4th, the Sakaki Katana Museum held a special knife making event where visitors could learn how to fashion a 210mm carpentry nail into a small knife using ancient samurai sword-making techniques.
Both children and adults alike participated, signing up at the community hall adjacent to the Sakaki Katana Museum in Sakaki. There were several anvils and a number of hammers which people used to pound the steel nails flat, slowly, one pound at a time, taking on the shape of a knife. Several katana makers and apprentices were on hand to advise, correct and touch up the knives visitors were making.
Aside from pounding the nails flat on an anvil, the visitors used a grinding machine to sharpen the knives, cleaned the blades, wrapped cord around the unsharpened end to create a grip, and made a sheath out of newspaper.
In the end, what was once a nail turned into a small knife, much like a letter opener, but with a blade probably sharp enough for shaving! A nice thing to take home at the end of the event, but definitely not something to give to your kids!
The Sakaki Katana Museum, located just up the road from Sakaki Station, features displays of samurai swords (katana) crafted by several different swordmakers, including one foreign-born master. Almost all of the swords on display are without grips, guards or sheaths, and the blades range in sized from around 25cm to as long as 80cm.
Admission to the museum is 400 yen for adults.