THE TOWN OF SEKI
The town of Seki has been a center for Japanese sword production for approximately seven hundred years, and was active as part of the Mino tradition of the Gokaden (five schools). It is sometimes said that a majority of the swords made in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1867) were The difference in price between these words, however, was very large. A high-quality sword from Yasukuni’s Nihonto Tanren Kai could sell for as much as the work of some of the best smiths from the early Edo period (about 100 to 125 yen at the time). The best Showa-To, on the other hand, might sell for about 60 yen, and lower quality Showa-to would sell for even made in Seki. It was not a large town, and by the end of the Meiji period it was estimated that about half of the population of thirty thousand were involved in some aspect of sword production. Seki had an organization called the Seki Tanren-Jo, founded in 1907, which consisted of swordsmiths and others who tried to promote and protect the craft of traditional sword-making. The group secured financial support for its Japanese swords-smiths from the Gifu prefectural government and other sources. In 1933, in an effort similar to those of the Denshujo and Yasukuni’s Nihonto Tanren Kai in Tokyo, the Nihon Token Tanren Jo was organized to train new Japanese swords-smiths in Seki.