Japanese sword making is a tradition that goes back centuries, and one that's carried on to this day. Each sword can take over 18 months to create, requiring an astonishing degree of dedication and skill. The resulting blades can be worth thousands of dollars.
Ninjas (AKA shinobi) were covert mercenaries in feudal Japan who were trained in the arts of espionage, sabotage and guerrilla warfare. In the 1980s and early '90s they became a popular subject matter in Western entertainment, with countless masked assassins popping up in movies, TV shows and comics.
For some reason, this freaked the hell out of the UK government.
Master Akihira has been making swords for 21 years. He was inspired by a sword made by the legendary 13th century swordsmith Masamune. And after a 5 year apprenticeship and years of training he became one of the 180 sword smiths working across Japan.
Japanese swords have always been more than just weapons, they were artworks, status symbols, and throughout history had a huge spiritual importance.
Each sword is a unique artwork, and one that is made to be admired as you would a painting. As sheets of steel are folded into each other again and again wood grain like patterns form, and these patterns coupled with the skill of the sword master create a completely unique blade.
Knowing what to look for in each sword is important, characteristics like the angle of the blade and the way the metal is folded could give away the era in which it was made, and even who made it. Every small detail is treated as equally important.
Looking at the months of work that go into creating each blade, it's easy to see why these swords command such a high price. And as less and less sword masters across Japan these works of art are only going to become more valuable.
You can find out more about this fascinating craft in the video below: