NBTHK America

NBTHK American Branch

The Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (NBTHK), or the Society for the Preservation of Japanese Art Swords, was founded in Japan shortly after WWII and has existed since with the approval of the Japanese government. NBTHK is dedicated to preserving Japanese Art Swords and related items through study and research, educating students and enthusiasts of Japanese swords and sword fittings, while also supporting specialist craftsman in sword restoration and conservation trades.

With the support and assistance of the NBTHK Home Office, an American Branch of the NBTHK was formally established in February of 2003 with the mission of providing opportunities for similar study and education in North America. This is achieved through:

  • Series of educational updates and events
    • Regularly scheduled lectures and displays
    • Information and presence at regional US sword shows
    • New Zoom Japanese Sword Kantei and Fittings presentations
    • English language translation of the monthly NBTHK Journal
    • Various articles and translations to American Branch members
NBTHK History

Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (NBTHK)

Society for the Preservation of Japanese Art Sword

On February 23, 1948, the NBTHK was established for the purpose of preserving Japanese Art Swords. Since its founding over 75 years ago, it has been the leading organization solely devoted to the study and preservation of the Nihonto or Japanese Sword.

One of the primary purposes of the Society is to preserve Japanese Art Swords that are registered with the Japanese government. Every hand forged sword in Japan that has artistic merit is registered and issued a Torokusho by the government. This small (about 3” x 4”) laminated paper gives a registration number, date, place of registration, name, length, and other identifying details. There are thousands of Torokusho registered and each year, the NBTHK adds more to the permanent registry, classified according to the merits of each sword.

The Society not only classifies swords, but each year holds contests for sword making, sword polishing, shirasaya making, and habaki and kodogu (fittings) making. They also hold classes for the study of sword polishing.

The general offices and most of the activities were originally in the Token Hakubutsukan (Sword Museum), which is currently located in Yoyogi, Tokyo. In May of 1968, the construction of this building was finished and the Society moved from the Tokyo National Museum into their new headquarters.

In 2018 the NBTHK moved offices to: 1-12-9, Yokoami, Sumidaku, Tokyo. This location is near the Ryogoku Kokugikan (Sumo Stadium)

Gardens behind NBTHK Museum

The NBTHK, with the support of the National Treasury and Hitachi Metals, Inc., also supervises the operation of the Tatara (iron smelting furnace) in Yokota, Shimane. This furnace is crucial to the production of Tamahagane, the traditional raw steel used in the creation of true Nihonto. Every year, the Tatara produces several tons of Tamahagane to be distributed to licensed swordsmiths for the crafting of beautiful contemporary Japanese Art swords.

NBTHK – American Branch Directors and Advisors


  • Bob Benson, President
  • Jim Gilbert, Vice President
  • Fred Geyer, Secretary ( secretary@nbthk-ab2.org )
  • Nick Kolick, Asst Vice President ( education@nbthk-ab2.org )
  • James Lawson, Asst Vice President
  • Richard Mantegani, Treasurer ( membership@nbthk-ab2.org )

Board of Directors

  • Robert Benson
  • Michael Yamasaki
  • Fred Weissberg
  • Bill Miller
NBTHK Branches around the world

What’s happening around the world Other Branches

Main branch

European Branch

Shonai Branch

Kyoto Branch

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