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The Sword Maker: A last Japanese sword smith forges a sword

As one of Japan’s last remaining swordsmiths, Korehira Watanabe has honed his craft for 40 years while attempting to recreate the mythical Koto sword.

Korehira Watanabe is one of the last remaining Japanese swordsmiths. He has spent 40 years honing his craft in an attempt to recreate Koto, a type of sword that dates back to the Heian and Kamakura periods (794-1333 AD). No documents remain to provide context for Watanabe’s quest, but he believes he has come close to creating a replica of this mythical samurai sword.

From’s shortlived series Handmade Portraits, this is The Sword Maker, a film by director Takeshi Fukunaga.

sword maker Korehira Watanabe, filmed by Takeshi Fukunaga
In the archives: metalsmithing.