< Profile & Introduction >

< Introduction >

My name is Kenji Mishina. I was born in 1951 in Fukushima. After graduating from Kanagawa University, I apprenticed myself, beginning in 1974 to Kokan Nagayama who is National Living Treasure sword polisher. I served as chief instructor at the Nagayama Sword Polishing Institute for seven years beginning in 1979. Since that time, I have won the First Prize five times and many second and third prizes at the Sword Polishing Competition of the NBTHK (Japanese Art Sword Conservation Association) and was formally authorised by the Japanese government to polish swords designated as National Treasure swords in 1984. I had the honour in 1993 of polishing a guardian tanto for Princess Masako in 1993. This guardian tanto was made by National Living Treasure smith Sumitani Masamine, and presented to the future Empress on the occasion of her wedding to the Crown Prince.

I am an independent sword polisher and work for both Japanese and Western collectors. I lived in England for six years, where I worked for the British Museum and also received a request from the British royal family to polish its sword collection. I returned to Tokyo in 1992 with my wife and daughter. Since that time, in addition to my work as a sword polisher, I have also been translating sword books and magazines for Western collectors. I am very pleased to introduce my recent translation of the complete English version of Kantei Dokuhon written by my teacher, Kokan Nagayama, titled 'The Connoisseur's Book of Japanese Swords'. In fact, this translation was finished during my six-year stay in England. This time it is my great pleasure to tell you Kodansha International Ltd., the largest English publisher in Japan, has produced the book. I hope it will be of help to you in your study of the Japanese sword.

< Profile >

1974 (Mar) Graduated Kanagawa University.
1974 (Jun) Entered the Nagayama Sword Polishing Institute run by Nagayama Kokan (Living National Treasure polisher)
1979 (Apr) Became chief instructor of the Nagayama Sword Polsihing Institute.
1984 (Oct) Obtained a license to polish National Treasure swords from the Agency for Cultural Affairs.
1984 (Oct) Invited to "Japan Expo 1984" held in Los Angles and demonstrated sword polishing there.
1986 (Aug) Became an independent polsiher and moved to Essex of England and started polishing for Western sword collectors.
1988 (Sep) Visited Mallbrough House and researched the sword collections of the British Royal family.
1988 (Nov) Researched the sword collections of the Tower of London.
1989 (Jan) Researched the sword collections of the British Museum.
1989 (Mar) Started working at own workshop of the British Museum and polished swords owned by the museum.
1990 (Dec) Demonstrated sword polishing at the British Museum in the occasional of the openning exhibition of Japan Gallery.
1991 (Jan) Invited Sumitani Masamine (Living National Treasure smith) to the British Museum and the Japan Embassy. He gave a lecture and his swords were display there.
1992 (Apr) Returned to Japan and resumed sword polishing in Mitaka City.
1993 (Nov) Held " Beauty of Shinsakuto in London and 35 fine shinsakuto were broguht in for the exhibition from Japan.
1996 (Dec) Gave a lecture of the Japanese Sword "The Art of the Japanese Sword" at London University with the invitation of the Archaeology Department.
1997 (Dec) "The Connoisseur's Book of Japanese Swords" (Author : Kokan Nagayama) translated by Kenji Mishina was published by the Kodansha International.
1998 (Sep) "Yasukuni-to"(Author : Tom Kishida) translated by Kenji Mishina was published by the Japanese Sword Society of U.S.
1999 (Nov) Held a shinsakuto exhibition of Matsuda Tsuguyasu in London.
2001 (May) Gave a lecture "The Japanese Sword" for the Anglo-Japanese Association at the British Embassy in Tokyo. (Sponsored by Christie's Japan)
Initiated by Kokan Nagayama in all the misteries of the sword polishing techniques of the Hon-ami School.
2002 (Apr) "The New Generation of Japanese Swordsmiths" (Author : Tamio Tsuchiko) translated by Kenji Mishina was published by the Kodansha International.
2002 (Set) Gave a lecture "Rediscovery of the Japanese Sword" for the Asiatic Society of Japan at Seisen Univeristy.
2003 (Dec) Won the Kiya Award (Top of the First Prizes) at the Sword Polishing Competition 2003 and designated as Mukansa polisher by the NBTHK. after winning the First Prizes seven times and many Second and Third Prizes.
Polsihed a guardian tanto of newly born Prince Hisahito by the order of the Royal Household Agency and then invited to the palace and given a kup with the Imperial family crest from the emperor. 
Invited by Nara University and gave a lecture of the Japanese Sword. 
Designated as a judge of Japanese sword registration by the Tokyo Metropolitan Office. 
 Designated as a trustee member of the NBSK (Nihonto Bunka Shinko Kyokai Public Foundation).

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