Famous Swords Paper Knives: An astoundingly successful crowdfunding project

As Japanese history buffs and sword collectors know too well, authentic Japanese swords made by master craftsmen are prohibitively expensive and only available to the very wealthy or to those who are fortunate enough to have inherited them as family heirlooms. The next best thing is owning a replica sword, but these still require enough space to display them.

But what if you could own a replica made by master craftsmen of swords owned by famous Japanese warriors but in miniature size, in the form of a paper knife? As we reported last year, this was the idea behind the Famous Swords Paper Knives crowdfunding project by Nikken Cutlery Co., Ltd. Miniature versions of meito (famous swords) owned by Hijikata Toshizō, Sakamoto Ryōma and Oda Nobunaga, these paper knives were beautifully designed and the blades meticulously crafted. The project not only achieved its funding goal within the first 24 hours of announcement, but went on to reach 16 times that amount.

New in Round Two: Swords owned by legendary Shinsengumi warriors

Due to this astounding success, Nikken Cutlery is back this year with a second round. This time, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration, they're adding Shinsengumi model knives based on the swords owned by Kondo Isami, Hijikata Toshizo and Okita Soji. Moreover, as a special collaboration with Mibu-dera Temple in Kyoto, where the Shinsengumi was founded, they're also offering a limited edition knife inspired by artwork in the Mibu-dera Engi Maki scroll featuring a hilt wrapped in Nishiki-himo rope and a scabbard coated in Echizen lacquer.

Here are the new additions to the Meitou Paper Knife series available in this second round of crowdfunding. Individually, the knives are 3,000 JPY (tax excl.) each, 9,000 JPY (tax excl.) for a set of three and 10,000 JPY (tax excl.) for the limited edition Jouken knife (limited set of 100). (More details on rewards can be viewed on the campaign's website here):

Kondo Isami's sword Kotetsu

Hijikata Toshizo's sword Izuminokami Kanesada

Okita Soji's sword Kiku Ichimonji

Limited Edition Mibu-Dera Model: "Seijou" Sword

One of two swords depicted in the Mibu-dera Engi Maki scroll, Seijou's hilt is wrapped in Nishiki-himo rope, its scabbard coated in Echizen lacquer, and it comes in a paulownia wooden box, perfect to offer as a special gift or to treasure by yourself.

Functional and beautiful to behold

Since 1946, Nikken Cutlery has made scissors and paper knives in Seki, Gifu Prefecture, the place where traditional forging techniques were refined and modernized, helping to lay the foundations of Japan's knife and cutlery industry. Each meitou paper knife reflects Nikken's pursuit of quality, so you can be sure they'll slice through your letters with ease. Thanks to their beautiful stands, you can proudly display them on your desk or wherever you need them.

This promotional video by Nikken Cutlery Co., Ltd. conveys their passion and commitment to the Famous Swords Paper Knives project, motivated this time by the spirit of the Shinsengumi warriors:

At time of writing, the second round of the Famous Swords Paper Knife crowdfunding project has already achieved its goal and exceeded it by over 800%, with 56 days still remaining. At this rate, they're well on their way to breaking their previous funding goal. To find out more about the project and get your hands on your very own paper knife, please see the official campaign website here.

By - Ben K.