Journal of Japanese Sword Arts


A monthly magazine dealing with all aspects of Japanese sword study. 

Kim Taylor
44 Inkerman St.
Guelph, Ontario Canada
N1H 3C5

Subscribing to the 

Journal of Japanese Sword Arts Subscriptions are $36 Cdn in Canada, $36 US in USA and $48 Overseas.
Tel. 519-836-4357

The Journal of Japanese Sword Arts began life in 1989 as a monthly newsletter. More than 90 issues and almost ten years later it is still being produced. The Journal contains news, reviews, announcements, and in depth articles concerning all aspects of the Japanese sword. A sister publication, The Iaido Newsletter, is available online or in hard copy from national and local distributors.

The JJSA awards are given to websites that are of general interest to students of the Japanese sword arts. There are four categories:

Valuable Resources, are sites that have substantial information on the sword arts, Valuable Links are great "jumping off" sites for searching the martial arts, Valuable Business sites are those vendors who offer exceptional service to the Japanese sword community, and sites who earn the Site Design award are, simply, nice places to visit. A site can be recognized in more than one category.

If, after reading the detailed descriptions below, you feel your site or a site you know of qualifies for one or more of these awards, submit your nomination to Make sure the header reads AWARD and you include the full url of the site, a contact email address, and a short description of the site contents.

You may also send the nomination to a specific member of the review panel for that award if you figure that will help your case. Reviewers are listed below. If your site is not accepted for a JJSA award, and you wish to comment, please direct your comments to and again, make sure the header reads AWARD. Comments directed back to the reviewers automatically disqualify a site from consideration.


Keith Bowers Lancaster, PA, USA
Ron Fox Michigan State U. USA
Dave Green Ottawa, Ont. Canada
Kim Taylor U. Guelph, Ont. Canada
Eric Tribe Thunder Bay, Ont. Canada
The JJSA Valuable Resource Award is presented to those sites with content relevant to the Japanese Sword Arts. We're looking for something a little beyond club practice times and a couple of photos. The ideal site should be fast loading, easy to read, and contain significant amounts of information not found elsewhere, or information organized in a particularly useful manner. 

Sites that would fit into this category would be online magazines dealing with the sword arts, sites with collections of articles, reviews of books, or bibliographical entries.

Valuable Links Awards are presented to sites which provide well organized, comprehensive links to other web resources dealing with the sword arts or martial arts in general. These sites would be useful to anyone, but especially to (net or martial arts) beginners browsing for information. The best sites would provide reviews, comments, or other ways to narrow the search for specific information and good sites.
A Valuable Business Award is presented to those sites which offer items for sale to the sword arts community. These sites aren't necessarily the "top of the line" in each field but the merchandise should definitely be above the norm in quality, the service should be timely and helpful, and the products as safe as their nature allows. Price may be commented upon but will not be a major criteria in the selection of a site. We realize that quality costs. 

Examples of sites qualifying for this award might be those which offer subscriptions to martial arts magazines, books or equipment related to the sword arts.

The Site Design Award is presented to a site which is fun to visit, pleasing to look at, easy to get around, fast to load, and/or has lots of photos, graphics and bells and whistles. It must have some marginal connection with the Japanese sword arts but we're looking for a good piece of eye candy, great action photos, or a pleasing navigation idea. 

Well designed home pages, commercial sites, or any other type of site are eligible for this award.

Here are another set of lovely logos designed by Adrian Ko (editor of Sword Forum Magazine Online) which you may use if you prefer.
Valuable resources logo B Valuable links logo B
Valuable Business site logo B Design award logo B



Below is some html code you can use to place the award on your page if you wish. You should save the appropriate award gif to your disk (right click on the image and then save it as "jjsaaward.gif"), then replace YOUR-DISK-LOCATION with the appropriate file location. This code links the award back to this award page. If you have any trouble, email me and I'll try to help.

<p><a href=""><img src="YOUR-DISK-LOCATION/jjsaaward.gif" width="102" height="100" align="bottom" alt="JJSA Award" ></a>

You may size the award accordingly on your page and you do not have to link it back to our awards page if you do not wish to do so.

Award winning sites have been listed and linked on our awards page below, with the reviewer's description.




Site Description

Circle M Tsuka-maki Oct 1998 David McDonald is a handle wrapper from Montana, hence the Circle M name I suppose. Lots of good advice on this site, including a new section on home do it yourself projects for the sword owner. I read something that made me think about how to store swords in an automobile, within 30 seconds of visiting the site. -KT
Meiboku nihonto Oct 1998 Nice site. Lots of valuable information here. All of us Japanese sword swingers should at least visit this one to appreciate the complexity of sword evaluation. Keep in mind that the thrust of the site is towards appraisal, but there are very nice sections regarding the parts of the sword, hamon, etc. I especially appreciated the fact the the kanji plug-ins were not necessary for most of the site. This allows a full experience without the need to go somewhere else for the plug-in (note that a link to get the plug in is provided.) -ET 

I have no hesitation to recommend this as a valuable resource site. This site contains comprehensive information for both expert and beginner at appraising nihonto. The site map is complete enough without being exhaustively obtrusive. Navigation from point to point in the site is mostly tree structured, but each page allows you to typically go back to the site guide for long distance jumps and cross references. To make use of the dictionary of smith names, however you should have a Japanese capable web browser. -RF

Richard Stein's "The Japanese Sword" Dec 1998 This is another "must visit" site for sword swingers and collectors everywhere. The site is very well laid out with categories such as sword care, smiths, and identification. The section on identification provides tips to help you determine the antiquity (or lack thereof) of your sword. The links section provides good links to things that are of more relevance to those poor among us who don't own nihonto. Take home message... leave the rust where it is!!.. say if my car is declared a nihonto,... then rust = value ... Hmmm... -ET

I've spent enough time with books and on nihonto and token kenyu kai to 'know' Richard Stein is a true scholar of nihonto. Humble as always, he states he is not an expert, but only a humble student of the sword. From the information on the site, I'd say he's farther along than most of us in the preservation and history of the Japanese sword. Very few sites are like his; literally packed to the gills with information. -KB

Comprehensive detailed information on Japanese swords makes it invaluable for collectors of all levels. I certainly reccomend this one for a content site award. -RF

Sword Forum Magazine Online (SFMO) Jan 1999 SwordForum online is an online magazine dedicated to all things sword. The January 1999 issue which is currently at that site was interesing, although the blue text on blue marbled background resulted in a rather fatiguing read. In addition to the magazine an online discussion forum is provided to support Q&A about various aspects of sword construction esthetics etc. The presentation of the various threads was rather overwhelming, however. We'll look back in a couple of months to check out the second and third issues -RF

The Sword Forum site is an elegant looking site, filled with articles of various
aspects of the edged weapons in general. As one reviewer previously stated,
the choice of the blue black marbled background with a robin's egg blue type
does prove to be an eyestrain. The articles are well written and the inclusion
of the Discussion List and Classifieds are a nice touch. This site seems to
center on the construction, design and appreciation of the sword rather than
its application. I am eagerly awaiting the upcoming issues. -KB

Koryu Books Jan 1999 The site is well organized and informative. It's easy to tell when a link points to a picture, a page, or outside the site. The table of contents makes the site easy to navigate even if you don't know what you're looking for. The site is well organized from the browser's point of view. Quality of articles and material is uniformly high. -RF
Sword Faq Jan 1999 The Japanese Sword Arts FAQ page is a nice concise site where the answers to many common questions are provided (thus the FAQ part). This site goes beyond the answers to "entry level" questions like... why is it so hard to put your pants on? and provides suggestions for suppliers of sword arts equipment. I personally found the section on purchasing a sword quite interesting (section 15). This site provides a good overview of issues that beginners and advanced students of the sword will eventually encounter. -ET

This epitomizes simple functional web design. The content is, of course, Neil Gendzwill's Frequently Asked questions about Iaido and Kendo. An informative FAQ which I've always recommended to people looking for an introduction to what the heck we do when we bop each other on the heads with these round sticks, as we practice uh is it ken doo? -RF

Kampai Budokai Mar 1999 Definitely a Valuable Resource Award site. I particularly liked his "most visited/should be visted more than they are" list. His book reviews are pretty good. He also has some good lists of kata descriptions for some schools that you don't see everywhere. -DG

This is one of my favourite sites and I don't visit often enough. Eli is constantly updating and modifying the layout to make it easier to get around. It's a wonderful balance of personal training record and unusual information. -KT

All Japan Kendo Federation March 1999 This is the official site of the ZNKR, with descriptions of Kendo, Iaido and Jodo. It has a very nice layout but there a couple of places for improvement, I suspect the translation was done by computer, and the links to clubs around the world could be improved. I could not find an email contact on the site which, would also be useful. Perhaps someone bilingual would like to help with these points. (And tell them they won this award) -KT
Oshigata Library October 1999 McCoy's Oshigata Libary project might be a valuable resource... to signature collectors, but it is unfriendly to navigate and is one step removed from an ftp site with only listings of files.
The rest of the site is primarily a resource to enable those who are selling nihonto (and fittings), to get together with those who are interested in purchasing. The site is straight forward to navigate, and allows the visitor to view adds posted in either the "For Sale" section or the "Wanted" section. The links section is nicely organized to allow the visitor to see links based on content, eg Sword Smiths, Repair Services, etc. The links provided are certainly not the ones that you see everyday.... Not a Pamela Anderson one among them... Maybe there is something else on the net after all. -ET
Kenshinkan dojo October 1999 The site includes extensive history of Nakamura Ryu Battodo as well as many translated writings of the founder, Nakamura sensei. It also includes a short history of the Kenshinkan dojo, and many photographs of historical interest to iaido practitioners.
Good design and easy to navigate. -DG
Kyu Yanagawa Han Kobudo Shinkokai June 2000 Colin Hyakutake (Watkin) has created a site that looks full of promise. He has several good articles online dealing with traditional sword arts and says more are coming. I suspect I'll check back to this site often. -KT
Chris Gilham's Sword Wandering Site Dec 2000 Chris Gilham is a Canuk that has gone wandering about the Pacific Rim with his sword visiting iaido dojo. He's kept a diary which you can read at this site. Nice travel and technical site. -KT





Site Description

Larry Fowler's Martial Arts Website March 1999 One thing a links page needs is a good navigation interface, and Larry has used a nice piece of javascript to split his many links into sections. A very useful site, but you'll need javascript enabled on your browser. He also includes links to other links sites. -KT





Site Description

Bugei Trading Company Oct 1998 These guys have a catalogue that is worth getting just to look at the photos. Lots and lots of interesting stuff here, a sort of one-stop shopping site for the "modern samurai" -KT
Bujin Design Oct 1998 No hesitation on this site, great clothing, the best bags (for swords, bogu, gym stuff) and a real class website. Fast loading, easy to get around and uncluttered. Their catalog is always worth having too. -KT
Dragonfly Forge Oct 1998 Micheal Bell, a student of Nakajima Muneyoshi, forges tanto and full length swords. This is a small site with several photos of his work. -KT
East Coast Martial Arts Supplies Oct 1998 Frames and loads of cookies to wade through but the site concentrates on shinken for tameshigiri and iaito. They also supply other sword related equipment. -KT
Eguchi USA Oct 1998 A complete kendo supplier in California, USA -KT
Fred Lohman Co. Oct 1998 Sword fittings for restoration, cleaning kits, restoration services and much else here. Fred is a wholesale supplier to many other businesses. -KT
Journal of Asian Martial Arts Oct 1998 Perhaps the most scholarly martial arts publication available today. Quarterly. The site contains an index of past articles sorted on subject, as well as information on subscribing and author's instructions. -KT
Jukado Oct 1998 Frames and cookies abound, and the items are a bit tough to find, but they supply iaito, uniforms and other equipment. -KT
Mugendo budogu Oct 1998 A complete export store with kind of a clunky name, based in rural Japan and exporting to the West. Peter Boylan of the USA is the proprietor. -KT
Nine Circles, UK Oct 1998 Don't quote me but I suspect this site is the UK distribution company for Tozando. Iaido and kendo equipment. The entry point isn't very appealing, looks like one of those "site moved" notices. -KT
Nosyuiaido International Oct 1998 The international distributor for Nosyuiaido, an iaito and sword manufacturer in Gifu, Japan. Good service and quality, they also supply clothing and books. -KT
Samurai (Yasuyoshi Ltd.) Oct 1998 Here's a Japanese equipment store dealing with iaido, kendo, judo and karate. The site has English language pages. -KT
Tozando Oct 1998 Tozando has been supplying kendo and iaido equipment and videos to the west for decades. These pages are in English, and they have just opened a branch office in Vancouver. -KT



URL DATE Site Description
Bujin Design Oct 1998 What a beautifully simplistic site! Wonderful use of halftone scans creates a stark and clean look that screams professional establishment. The fact only three colors were used for most of the site enhances the brilliant white of each page while the blue halftones gives it a quiet, peaceful look. The Bujin splash page is excellent use of the logo on a black background. Many web sites are not well thought out. Bujin is not only well thought out in respect to design and layout, but also in content. Being a Commercial Site, they have all the required information to help their customers in making their purchases, including on-line purchasing. Several places throughout the site they ask for input from prospects and customers for suggestions and comments to make their site and products better. -KB
Kokoro Ryu Aiki Budo Nov 1998 I would have liked to see some information on Kokoro Ryu in addition to just the class times. Overall the site is very shy on information, but has a good consistent feel to it, the navigation tags at the bottom are nice to let you get to any page from any page.

An annoying thing is my browser complains every time at the main page because of an application that wants to launch. On the upside the page views fine without it. The text only pages only reflect the news items, but at least there is a no-graphics way into the page.

If you visit the page be sure to check the credits page, this is a nice bit of java code (I think ) -ET

Shakunage Cultural Foundation Dec 1998 Shakunage's Web Site is very well designed and coded. It has a certain flair and calm about it. The color scheme radiates peace and serenity. The options they have built into the design are: a Forum to submit questions and comments for discussions, a photo gallery that is fast loading with high quality scans and numerous other features that describe various functions the Shakunage Cultural Foundation is involved in. Lansing is very lucky to have such a wonderful resource in the region and we are lucky to have this resource on the Web. You can't hurry through the site, it has so much to say. The site is clear, readable and very interesting. -KB
Kyosaku March 1999 This site is wonderfully clean, crisp and intriguing. I spent a number of hours at Alta Vista's site translating page by page just to get a grip on what was being said here. The author maintains the underlying theme throughout, with sharp black and white photographs interspersed throughout. Very linear design with high contrasts makes it very pleasing to look at. The Navigation Bar is very well done, showing all the major points of interest. The only drawback is the annoying advertisements from his Internet Provider, which pop up from time to time, which really can't be helped. It is a visually pleasing site with information presenting in a logical, linear way. -KB
Aikido-Kreis Koln October1999 is an aikido site in German. The site is easy to navigate, and contains info on Aikido, the dojo affiliated with the site and has links to other Aikido sites. The site includes links to books, and has AVI shots from the dojo. Good visuals, and their logo looks like a donut, hey! whats not to like? -ET


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Last Updated Mar 28, 2001 by Kim Taylor