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Swords, Cutting and Military History

New history of tameshigiri by Markus Sesko now available!

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Markus Sesko is a well-known specialist author and translator of Japanese texts, with a personal focus on nihonto (Japanese swords) and the many texts related to studying, classifying, appraising and collecting these weapons as art pieces.

He presently has more than 25 titles listed on on topics related to the Japanese sword, sword smiths, and the Japanese culture and language, and 65 books available through  He publishes in both German and English.

His latest work has just gone on sale, as announced yesterday on his blog, this being:  Tameshigiri – The history and development of Japanese sword testing.  As of the date of this post (July 6), the book is available via  It should be available on Amazon within a week.   Both paper and e-book versions are available.

The introduction on the entry:

The legendary sharpness of Japanese swords is Book Coverwidely known, and through the activities of various martial arts practitioner’s information on tameshigiri has also become more accessible in the recent years. But, for a large part, this information focuses on modern cutting tests and only briefly discusses the historical aspect. As far as sword collectors are concerned, the subject of tameshigiri has been approached by several experts in the past, but here too information is rather limited.

This publication systematically processes this subject for the first time to provide an overview of the historical aspect of tameshigiri. Not only are the developments from mere sword tests to systematic cutting tests are addressed, it also explains the sword testers, the various cuts and set-ups for cuts, and the practice of recording cutting test results on sword tangs for example. It is rounded-off by a reference section which provides examples of tameshi-mei.



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