If you were to call 51-year-old Yoshihiko Usuki a makeover maestro, he'd probably just chuckle, go back to his hunched position and continue sliding the sword clasped in his hands over a polishing stone.

Yet togishi (sword-polishers) like Usuki are essential players in the process of making Japanese swords look beautiful.

The craft of polishing these fearsome weapons dates back to the Kamakura Period (1192-1333), and polishers are just one of several craftsmen involved in the completion of a sword. Others include the scabbard-maker and he who wraps the handle.