Lecture – Japanese Sword: A Symbol of Japan, Oct 12

Paul Martin, Japanese sword specialist

Paul Martin, Japanese sword specialist

Nibei Foundation / Japan Study Club Lecture Series

October 12 (Tuesday), 6:30 PM

Subject: The Japanese Sword: A Symbol of Japan

It is an overview of the sword from its mythical origins, the transition from straight to curved swords, and its spiritual significance to the Japanese.

Speakers: Paul Martin, Japanese sword specialist


Paul Martin is currently attending UC Berkeley Graduate School where he studies the Japanese sword as well as Kendo and Iaido.

Born in England, Martin joined The British Museum in London in 1993, eventually achieving his goal of joining the Department of Japanese Antiquities.

There he cared for and studied the Japanese sword and armor collections.

Martin has also presented swords on the BBC and BBC Radio 4, The Discovery Channel (Weapons Masters & Some Assembly Required), and The History Cannel (Warriors & Samurai).

He left the British Museum in 2003 and relocated to Los Angeles, where in 2005 he curated an exhibition of modern Japanese swords at Pacific Asia Museum. This exhibition was hailed by the Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles as “the first exhibition of its kind in America.”

In October 2006, he moved to Tokyo and became the first non-Japanese to win the NBTHK Tokyo Chapter Kantei Kai (sword appraisal meeting).

Paul Martin has also provided translations for the Japanese Sword Museum in Tokyo (Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai), the All Japan Swordsmiths Association and the All Japan Sword Traders Association.

He has also translated a publication entitled Ono Yoshimitsu’s World of Juka-Choji for the Hayashibara Museum in Okayama and has translated and adapted a best selling book on Japanese sword appraisal: The Fact & Fundamentals of Japanese Swords (Kodansha International).

Martin has also studied swords at many shrines, museums, and the workshops of eminent swordsmiths and polishers in Japan.

He made several appearances on Japanese Television.

Japan Study Club Program: Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Reception and dinner at 6:30 pm followed by presentation at 7:30 pm.

Admission including dinner: $10 per person.

Reservation required for seats and dinner.

RSVP by email japanstudies@nibei.org by Friday, October 8.


The program will be held at Terasaki Foundation Laboratory Building, 11570 Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064.