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Report of comments about the Japanese Sword Seminar with Nobuo Nakahara and Takuyoshi Nakano in 2019, Amsterdam

We have received many accusations and critical reactions, after publishing information about the Japanese Sword Seminar with Nobuo Nakahara and Takuyoshi Nakano, on several Japanese sword related Facebook groups.
Some of the members have been intentionally and regularly disturbing, blocking and attacking our information about the event and they also have disseminated false and malicious statements to discredit Mr. Nakahara’s reputation.

This Report is an on-going documentation of the most concerning opinions and reactions collected before and after the Seminar, from June 2019 until the present day.

The collected comments reflect many problems and misunderstandings among collector groups, dealers and leaders of the Japanese Sword societies in the West (for ex. blocking important information, circuits of false knowledge and fake information, ignorant attitude of leaders and low level of study of the Japanese sword).  
Among many negative and critical comments, the most concerning are baseless, public accusations spread without any responsibility, acting against the event, our Institute and Mr. Nakahara himself.

We hope this document will help analysing the current situation in the Japanese swords societies in the West in order to prevent the circuit of wrong information and change the interest into serious and real study of the sword.
This is also a data base for organising future Seminars.

Looking forward to the next Seminar,

March 2020,

Agata Maciak,
Secretary of Institute for Japanese Sword Craft

This Report is not for the public so the access to the pages is protected with passwords.

INDEX

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After we posted information about the fake sword with high certificate used by Nakahara sensei for the lecture as an example to learn how to recognise the fake, we received many questions about this particular sword and there were critical comments towards Nakahara sensei opinion undermining NBTHK certificate. We also wrote that the sword was bought on the Japan Expo in Utrecht, in 2018 and we heard that the organisers of the fair, were angry at us for openly stating the name of their event in the post.

In one of the comments, a member of British Token Kai wrote that Nakahara sensei was “recently taken to a court by someone who he sold a sword to”.
This comment was “liked” by few members of the FB group including Mr. P. B. who is a Chairman of the British Token Kai.
We confirmed twice with Nakahara sensei and Nakano sensei that this gossip is not true. Nakahara sensei is not on a court case. We asked the person who spread the rumour for the source of his story but we did’t get any answer. After sometime we asked again, but him and Mr. P. B. commented with some other stories, avoiding answering our inquiry.

Both man didn’t want to continue the discussion and they quit the membership in the FB group,  so it is clear they don’t want to speak about spreading and supporting malicious information.

Nevertheless, we think it is important to tell more about this case.

Since the beginning of 2019 another member of British Token Kai contacted our director, and wrote: “To be honest, our To-ken Society doesn’t teach much about sashikomi polish and other important things. The reason is there are no knowledgeable people here all the knowledge comes from books who has been translated into english and from Kenji Mishina who lived in London a long time ago.  The level of real knowledge is very poor. Some collectors are aware about the fake NBTHK certification but majority don’t. The madness about buying swords with paper is widespread. My mission is to stop this.” 
He wrote his aim is “to lift up the knowledge about Japanese swords, their values and give public and collectors truthful information, “hoping in for “future co-operation to reveal western collectors the truth about nihonto”.

Our director told him about many issues: circuit of fake swords with good papers, NBTHK scandals, acid polish, mixing study with commercial interest, no real teachers in the West showing how to recognise the fake, people changing from students, from teachers to dealers when they want, teaching Go-kaden, but they don’t teach it was created for commercial reasons, or about Japanese dealers known for selling fakes and targeting western collectors taking advantage of their limited knowledge etc..

In March, 2019 he came to Amsterdam to meet with our director and he also met the master polisher Mr. Eto Koichi, and c14 radio carbon dating specialist emeritus prof. Mr. Takuyoshi Nakamura who came to Europe at that time , to speak with museum official and conservators, about our joint research on new method of dating the swords. After discussing few swords it became clear that his level of knowledge about the Japanese sword is low. He also told us, he is (and he want to be) a Japanese sword dealer …

After few months, we started organising the Seminar with Nakahara Nobuo he said he want to be a part of the event and want help promoting it. Later he said people from his society didn’t want to come because to expensive costs and in the end he came with one more person.
After the Seminar, Nakano sensei told us that his knowledge and level is very low.

After the lectures he met with us and Nakahara and Nakano sensei, to discuss the possibilities of bringing them to England for the lecture. He was mostly concerned with negotiating money.

When he was going away Nakahara sensei, our director and Nakano sensei told him it is his responsibility to come back to UK and teach the people in England what he learned.

Few days later, after our announcement about the fake sword he called as immediately to tell about the reactions. He said the chairman of the Society contacted him (and one more person) 5 minutes after the post, very angry and upset, because of bad advertisement for the Expo which he is an organiser.
He told us we made many enemies and we should criticise the NBTHK and the dealer and not the event.

The Secretary of British Token told our director that organizers are not responsible for what the dealers are doing there and he doesn’t think the organizers should be responsible if the dealer’s make profit or not. Our director told him that, if he thinks so, than it is his policy.

When asked about if he told the other members what he have learned (on the Seminar), he said he did, but he couldn’t answer their questions.

He said that there is not enough money in their society for the Nakahara sensei to come, and it will be difficult to bring Nakahara sensei to Uk if we (he) write “such” things.

We also heard from him that the chairman said he doesn’t know and never met with the organiser of the Seminar (our director). This is not true. He came to Amsterdam few years ago to ask for his advice. Our director told him that he shouldn’t mix study meetings with the commercial activities, but the chairman didn’t like it. And about the issue of Shinsa he said he “understand the swords, so,  he don’t need paper to buy a sword, but, he need paper to sell it.”

The member who contacted us said that the chairman “has his own truth and teaches what his teacher taught him”. The member told our director that the chairman said “When I read Nakahara’s book, his (mumei) sword is not good.” It seams like the reason for disagreeing with Nakahara sensei’s opinion.

The chairman stated in his FB comment that he started the Japanese study 35 years ago, it is in 1985. This year NBTHK had lost it’s trust and there was one of the biggest scandals of NBTHK. The Juyo certificates were not cancelled so they stayed in the market (since then there were many other big scandals).
Why didn’t he teach about this to the members of his society? 

We think, him and the others who are spreading wrong information, and teaching blind worship towards certifications are doing it solely because of their own business an interest.
It is a great pity and we wish for the collectors to understand the situation, be aware of it and look for real knowledge in order to recognise the beauty of the Japanese sword (not their investment).

March 31, 2020
Agata Maciak