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Sword presented after Emperor's birth to be displayed at Kyoto shrine

JIJI

A short sword linked to the so-called amulet sword, a ceremonial sword that was presented to the Imperial family when Emperor Akihito was born, will be displayed at a shrine in Yawata, Kyoto Prefecture, from Friday.

With his abdication approaching on April 30, the Iwashimizu Hachimangu shrine wants visitors to “feel the closeness and nobility of the Imperial family,” an official said.

The sword, which has a 28-centimeter blade and is made of leftover iron from the amulet sword, is not generally on public display.

The late master swordsmith Sadakatsu Gassan, who made many swords for the Imperial family including the amulet sword, forged the short sword in December 1933, when the Emperor was born.

Gassan made several short swords during this period after being urged to produce “something similar to the amulet sword” by sword aficionados. One of these was offered to Iwashimizu Hachimangu around 1960.

On the hilt is an inscription describing the sword as being made of leftover iron from the amulet sword.

“The amulet sword’s leftover iron is in the sword, so it’s extremely valuable,” said Sadatoshi Gassan, a grandson of Sadakatsu and a master swordsmith himself. Sadatoshi Gassan, 72, is designated as an intangible cultural property by Nara Prefecture.

The exhibition will end on May 6.

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