Although Japanese samurai warriors were engaged in daily bloody battles, it didn’t mean that they lacked cultural sophistication and style. Some were poets and calligraphers, and many chose to have their tsuba (sword guards) decorated with intricate metal inlay, known as damascening.
Contrary to popular belief, many were well educated and knew how to appreciate art. For example, Miyamoto Musashi (1582-1645), one of the most celebrated swordsmen in Japanese history, was also skilled at ink painting. He also theorized his own aesthetics and techniques as a swordsman in a book he titled “The Book of Five Rings”; Jan. 5-March 10.
Eisei Bunko Museum; (03) 3941-0850; 1-1-1 Mejirodai, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo; Waseda Station, Arakwa Line. 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. ¥800. Closed Mon. (except Jan. 14, Feb. 11), Jan. 15, Feb. 12. www.eiseibunko.com.