Master Swordsmith Miyairi Kozaemon Yukihira Visits ASIJ

 Through the collaborative efforts of the Japan Center, ASIJ had the honor of hosting Master Japanese swordsmith, Miyairi Kozaemon Yukihira, the son of world-renowned swordsmith and National Treasure Miyairi Yukihira.

On March 6, over 160 tenth-grade science students, plus additional interested students and faculty, attended Mayairi sensei’s presentation on the sword-making process, a form of Japanese art recognized and praised around the world. Michael Bell (high school science), Mariko Yokosuka and Kyoko Takano (Japan Center co-directors) write regarding the visit. 

Students in the tenth-grade System Dynamics class have been studying chemical bonding and how the structure of matter determines much about its functioning. They used the katana, a sword invented over a thousand years ago and renowned for both its aesthetic beauty and quality of engineering, as a real-world example to understand how two different types of steel (differing carbon content), as well as the unique engineering that involves folding of metals, can create optimum qualities for durability and sharpness.

Miyairi sensei explained the sword making process and provided historical background on the Japanese sword. He brought some of his finished katana to show the students, who awed at their beauty when he unsheathed them. It was also very special for the students to learn about traditional craftsmen who dedicate their life to their work and put their soul into their craft.

The Japan Center is hopeful that this will be the start of a strong relationship with world-class master swordsmith Miyairi sensei and will open up the opportunities for students to visit his workshop in Nagano to learn more about the art of Japanese swords. We would like to offer a special thanks to Maya Moore (parent, alumna), who served as the interpreter for this presentation.