The Japanese Sword

In Japan, the sword has been regarded as a sacred item since ancient times.
The fact that the sword is one of the three sacred treasures which are the tools of the gods, suggests the awe which it has inspired for the Japanese people.
In addition to its role as a weapon of war and struggle, the sword also has a religious nuance of cutting through chaos and bringing order to the world. Many swords are regarded as national treasures in Japan, some are from over 1,000 years ago and exhibit a high level of sword smithing technology.


*** Although katana is often referred to as the Japanese Sword, but in fact is a saber. The difference being that a saber has a single edge and is curved while a sword’s blade is straight and double-edged.

The Japanese Sword

日本刀について

太古の昔より、日本では剣というものを神聖なものとして捉えてきた。
三種の神器と呼ばれる神の道具にも剣があることからも、人々が剣というものに畏怖と畏敬の念を持っていたことが伺える。
剣というものは、戦争や闘争の兵器としての側面と、≪混沌を断ち切り、この世に秩序をもたらす≫という宗教的なニュアンスを含んでいる。
日本の国宝として現存する日本刀には、1000年前のものがあり、高度な鍛鉄技術を窺い知ることが出来る。

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Bushido

Although its manifestation is fragmented, Bushido continually exists in the hearts of the Japanese people. It has and continues to influence Japanese culture in the form of an unspoken understanding.
Nearly 900 years ago Oeno Masafusa, a Japanese war strategist, advocated a code of war following Japanese values in opposition to Sun Tsu’s “Art of War” which was imported from China long before then. The ideals that he preached were recorded in a text called the Tousenkyou, which still influences Japanese culture today.
It can be said that the origin of the Japanese people’s Bushido Spirit is this Tousenkyou. It states that it is superior to fight with courage and valor, using every last bit of strength and lose than to gain victory through cowardly scheming. It lists many maxims such as “fight with the skills that you have now without desiring that which you do not possess.”

武士道について

武士道は日本人の心の中に、断片的ではあるが常に存在している。それは、暗黙の了解という形で日本文化に現在も大きく影響している。
今から900年ほど前、それより昔に中国から輸入されてきた孫子の兵法に対し日本人的な価値観で独自の兵法を唱えた大江匡房(おおえの まさふさ)という兵法家がいた。
彼の説く教えは≪闘戦経 とうせんきょう≫という書物となって現代に残っている。日本人の武士道精神はこの闘戦経から生まれたと言える。
内容としては、卑怯な手を使って勝利するよりも正々堂々と実力を出し切って負けることの方が良い。無いものねだりをせずに、今の自分自身の能力で勝負しろ。といった言葉が書き連ねられている。

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Religious values

In Japan, the main religions are Buddhism and Shintoism with Japanese Buddhism being unique to other forms due to the influence of the earlier religion of Shintoism upon it. There exists a type of polytheism called Yaoyorozu in which it is believed that every thing is inhabited by the gods.
For many Japanese people there is a belief that all forms of life have their own tenmei, which is a type of destiny. It is a belief that no life is without value and that all lives are one in the Omoto, or great source.
The image of the great source is of a great pool of water with each drop splashed forth from it becoming a living thing such as a tree, a cat, or a person. Each life upon its death returns to the great source as a drop of water evaporates and returns to the sea. That is to say a belief that there is no difference between oneself and every other living thing, and causing harm to any living thing is the same as harming oneself, therefore is meaningless.
In Japanese, thank you is expressed with the word arigatou whose original meaning is truly rare and was a word used only toward the gods. The Japanese people have respect for God and the many living creatures in the world. These religious values have also had a great impact upon Bushido.

宗教観について

日本には仏教の他に神道(しんとう)という宗教が根付いている。
日本人には、天命(てんめい)というそれぞれの生命に課せられた使命があるという考え方がある。
無駄な命は何一つ存在せず、命の大本は一緒であるという考え方である。
例えるならば、大きな水瓶に入った水が生命の源泉であり、そこから水滴の様に生命が弾け、木や犬や猫や人間に姿を変え各々の寿命を与えられて全うし、死後はまた再び生命の源泉に返るという考え方である。
即ち、生きとし生けるもの全てに自己との何ら違いは無く、他を害することは己を傷つけることと同義であり、無意味であるという考え方だ。
日本は八百万(やおよろず)と呼ばれる多神教の文化であり、全ての物に神が宿っているという考えがある。
日本語でTHANK YOUを意味する≪ありがとう≫は本来は滅多に無いという意味であり、神に対してしか使われない言葉であった。
日本人は神を敬い、様々な生命を尊重する国民性でありその宗教観も武士道に大きく反映されている。

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Founder, Abe Yoshihiro

Founder, Abe Yoshihiro

Abe Yoshihiro is a samurai continuing the over 1000 year history of the Japanese sword. A seeker of the true spirit of Bushido entrusted with the technique of Harugasumi, which is taught from master to apprentice.
For as long as he can remember, he has been drawn to the Japanese sword and at the age of 14 when he read an article on Kabutowari, or helmet-splitting, he started his pursuit of the Way of the sword. At the age of 20 he started training in Iaido, however its lack of emphasis on actual cutting left him craving something more. At the age of 26 he learned of, and started training in Battodo but for 2 years days without victory continued.
He later became the apprentice of a Battodo Master who would come to the dojo where he had been training. Soon after, Mr. Abe learned that serendipitously, his new teacher was the swordsman who had split a samurai helmet with a sword whom he had read about years before. It is from this teacher that he was entrusted with the secret technique of Harugasumi and went on to win the Japan National competition.
His motto is Kenshin Ichi nyo, or One sword, one mind, meaning a true sword fosters a true heart. It is with this motto that he endeavors to spread Bushido every day.
In 2016, Abe Yoshihiro’s Samurai Experience was selected by Yamagata city as a reward for Furusato nouzei. For the first time in 150 years the samurai has returned and is promoting Bushido together with government administration.


*** Furusato nozei is a system in Japan where residents can choose to pay resident tax to other municipalities in addition to where they live. As a reward these people are able to receive local famous local products such as rice or crab legs.


宗家 阿部吉宏について

日本刀の持つ1000年の歴史を引き継ぐ侍。
一子相伝の技≪春霞≫を託された武士道の探究者。
物心ついた時から日本刀に憧れ、14歳の時に見た兜割りの記事で抜刀道を志す。
20歳の時に居合道を開始。しかし実際に斬ることを重視しない居合道では物足りなかった。
26歳の時に抜刀道に出会い、入門。
しかしながら2年間全く勝てない日々が続いた。
入門した道場へ出入りしていた神奈川県の抜刀道家に新たに師事し、偶然にもその抜刀道家こそ兜割りを成し遂げた剣士であることを知る。
その師より、≪春霞≫の秘剣を授かり全国大会で優勝。
剣心一如、正しい剣は正しい心を養うをモットーに日々、武士道の普及に努めている。


2016年、山形市のふるさと納税の返礼品として抜刀道体験が採用され、150年振りに日本に復活した侍として行政とともに活動している。

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Access

Abe Faction Saber School

To spread bushido throughout the world, Abe Yoshihiro Sensei works day and night teaching fighting methods of the samurai, rules of etiquette, target cutting, and his original mindfulness method called suburi zen.
His ultimate goal is to spread the seven bushido ideals of righteousness, courage, benevolence, respect, sincerity, honor, loyalty and self-control throughout the world in the hopes of replacing conflict with peace.

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