The special exhibition "Pinnacle of Elegance: Sword Fittings of the Mitsumura Collection" at the Nezu Museum offers a fascinating look at the collection that Toshimo Mitsumura (1877-1955), a wealthy businessman, amassed at the end of the Meiji Era (1868-1912). Mitsumura's passion for swords is reflected in the portion of his collection that the museum acquired — an array of 1,200 sword fittings and blades from the 13th to the 19th centuries.

For this exhibition, a total of 130 fittings and other items are on display, including sword blades and lacquered wooden scabbards. Nezu Kaichiro (1860-1940), founder of the museum, purchased much of the Mitsumura collection in 1909, resulting in this repository becoming part of the museum's holdings.

As Japan modernized in the late 19th century, the country witnessed the dismantling of the samurai social class. Legislation forbidding the wearing of swords in public was passed and guns began to replace them. Mitsumura's patronage, curation and amassing of his collection was a labor of love that ensured that exemplary works of sword making and sword fittings survived to be cherished by future generations.