by Robert E. Haynes (July 2011)

The price of WHAT? Nadakai is the Japanese word for famous, noted, well known, renowned, or notorious.

When I was last in Japan, several years ago, after an absence of almost twenty-five years, I was to meet again the sensei that I have the greatest respect for, to this very day, as we have known each other for over fifty years. That person is Tanobe Michihiro Sensei who I first was to meet with my teacher, Dr. Kazutaro Torigoye, in 1960. At that time we were both about thirty years of age and had just finished our formal traditional studies, mine in fittings, and Tanobe Sensei in blades. We met at the original offices of the N.B.T.H.K., which at that time were still in the National Museum building at Ueno Park. Dr. Torigoye had taken me there to see the fittings collection of the Museum, which at that time, still held the Marquis Hosokawa collection. All this with the aid of Dr. Kanzan Sato, who was in charge of the fittings at the Museum. Since Tanobe Sensei spoke excellent English, the three of us had an all-round talk fest on the spot. I was still a great novelty in Japan at that time, and having just completed my formal studies with Dr. Torigoye, we could compare notes about our studies and what the future was to hold for us.

That future is now the past. Tanobe sensei is now retired from an illustrious career at the N.B.T.H.K. Our last meeting was in the gallery area of that museum where I had gone to see the new Juyo and other fittings with my very good friend Stuart Broms. Quite by chance Tanobe sensei came up to us, and as we shook hands and I gave him my card, he said: "oh, Mr. Haynes, you are famous". I thought, here in Japan. where everyone I have known, except you, are dead! Who would know, who would care? As it turned out I was right, too many years had passed and I was far from the well known novelty that I had been fifty years before. When you are eighty such things are not of much importance, and I am sure I shall not return to Japan again.


Return to Index to Articles - Go to Home Page - Email to Shibui Swords