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The Best Holiday Gifts for Samurai Sword Collectors

We all have that one person on our list who’s hard to shop for. Whether it’s a friend who loves 1800s literature or one who collects weaponry, it can be difficult to figure out what gifts to get them for the holidays. If you have someone in your life that collects samurai swords, you may wonder what would make a good gift for them. Do swords have accessories? Is there something historical that was worn along with the sword, perhaps? Can you just get them a gift card? Keep reading to learn what the best holiday gifts are for someone who collects samurai swords.

A Brief History of Samurai Swords

First, it’s important to understand the cultural significance of the samurai sword. These swords date back as early as 1000s Japan, known as the Kamakura period. With a distinctive curved blade and long grip, they became exclusively a symbol of the samurai class in the 1600s.The samurais would name their swords, because they considered their blades extensions of their souls. Samurai swords are one of the three sacred Shinto relics that make up the Japanese imperial regalia. They feature prominently in much of Japanese mythology. The swordsmiths who made them were greatly admired, enjoyed a high social class, and considered their craft a spiritual undertaking. Essentially, these swords are highly regarded as the weapons of a master swordsman. As such, gifts to complement a sword collection should be respectful and take into consideration their long and honorable history.

The Best Gifts for a Sword Collector

Display Stands or Wall Mounts

Chances are, your collector isn’t going to be finished acquiring swords any time soon. Even if they have display stands now, they’ll likely need more in the future. Rather like a book lover always needs more shelves, you can’t have enough stands or mounts. For an extra special gift, consider attempting to find a handmade or traditionally made display stand or mount. Doing so adds a level of honor to an otherwise functional gift. You can also get creative with your gift wrap by tying an obi, a traditional Japanese sash, as a bow.

Sword Cleaning Kit

Any sword collector worth their blade will keep their collection clean. Find a samurai sword-specific kit for a gift your collector will love and use often. Look for kits with an awl to dismantle the sword, rice papers for cleaning skin or other oils from the blade (gentler than other types of paper), an uchiko powder ball for polishing, and sword oil to prevent rusting. Eventually, every collector will run out of these essential items and need to replenish their stock. Gifting them a kit will help them care for their swords without interruption.

A Wakizashi

Traditionally, samurai wore two swords: the katana that is most common in the media today, and another blade called a wakizashi. The katana is a longer sword with a blade of about two feet. The wakizashi is shorter, approximately one foot in length. This was the sword worn indoors. Together, the pair is known as a daisho, or “great and small.” The two blades were designed to match in terms of decoration and color. If your collector has a lot of katanas, see if you can get a custom wakizashi to match one of them. Any samurai sword collector will absolutely love having a matched set. Or, if you can’t match up a wakizashi, you could try to find a tanto. Tantos were even shorter daggers samurais would use as a last resort. They did not have to match the other blades the warrior carried.

Kimono

Japanese traditional kimono

Purchasing a kimono for your collector can be an excellent addition to their life. A kimono can make a very special gift, especially if their love of samurai swords extends into the rest of traditional Japanese culture. Kimonos date back to about the same time period as samurai swords, making them an apt present. Today, they come in practically endless color and pattern options, and are enjoying a moment in the trend spotlight. If you know your collector’s favorite color or symbol, see if you can find one incorporating those elements. Again, bonus points if you can find a traditional or handmade kimono to honor this ancient piece of clothing.

Gift Cards

Yes, they actually do make gift cards for samurai sword lovers. If all else fails and you can’t find the absolute perfect gift for your collector, consider a gift card.

Some people think that gift cards are a thoughtless gift. On the contrary, your sword collector probably has very specific styles or particular swordsmiths that they prefer. Giving them a gift card to their favorite smith lets them know you pay attention to their wants. It also enables them to order the custom sword they’ve been dreaming about.

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Written by Aaron Smith

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