The Samurai sword of Japan is probably the finest edged weapon ever made. This volume by leading Samurai expert Stephen Turnbull reveals the story of how and why it achieved this distinction. Particular attention is paid to the development of the familiar curved blade from the original straight blades, the associated development of Japan's famous steel-making techniques and the challenges from contemporary warfare. Together with the technical details of forging, polishing, mounting and testing; this volume is brought to life with details of the great swordmakers themselves. Moreover, history of the sword would be complete without a detailed examination of its use in combat, from the greatest Samurai armies to individual duels and revenge killings. Personal accounts allow the reader to discover the art of Japanese swordsmanship in the hands of masters such as Miyamoto Musashi to the unnamed Japanese warrior defending his family's hour. This lively text is perfectly complemented by artwork reconstructions of the sword in use and colour photographs of the swords in use.
Stephen Turnbull took his first degree at Cambridge University, and has two MAs (in Theology and Military History) from Leeds University. In 1996 he received a PhD from Leeds for his work on Japanese religious history. He travels extensively in Europe and the Far East and also runs a well-used picture library. His work has been recognized by the awarding of the Canon Prize of the British Association for Japanese Studies and a Japan Festival Literary Award. In 2008 he was appointed Visiting Professor of Japanese Studies at Akita International University in Japan. Stephen Turnbull currently divides his time between lecturing in Japanese Religion and History at Leeds University and freelance writing.