Online game ignites love of swords among young women

Online game ignites love of swords among young women

NAGOYA - A Japanese sword on display at The Tokugawa Art Museum in Higashi Ward, Nagoya, has attracted an increasing number of young women who are fans of the popular online game "Token Rambu," which features attractive samurai warriors.

The warriors in the game are personifications of noted, actual swords, with each being named after these swords. This includes Namazuo Toshiro, the sword on display at the museum. Namazuo means catfish tail in English, which is what the sword apparently looks like.

The wakizashi short sword is part of the museum's collection.

After the game's online streaming began earlier this year, many fans of the game asked the museum whether the sword was on display. In response, the museum began displaying the sword on Feb. 10 as part of the "Symbol of the Warrior" exhibition, which had been under way since January, focusing on weapons and swords. Immediately after the sword went on display, young women began flocking to the museum, with a 30 per cent increase in visitors in February from the previous year.

The sword will remain on display until May 12, extending its display period by a month.

The sword was manufactured by Awataguchi Yoshimitsu, who is known as one of Japan's three greatest swordsmiths. It was possessed by warlord Toyotomi Hideyori, but it burned along with his Osaka Castle when it was destroyed in the Siege of Osaka.

The sword was restored per the orders of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate. It was then treasured by the Owari Tokugawa family, based in what is currently Nagoya.

A lecture-cum-gathering for beginners of Japanese swords held at the museum on March 28 was also popular. Immediately after the event was posted on Facebook on the evening of March 3, applications began flooding in, leading the museum to close any bookings for the next morning. Of 100 participants, 98 were women.

"I was able to learn about the meaning of the swords' names and their structures in detail. I'm happy," said Asuka Morishita, a 24-year-old company employee of Nakamura Ward, Nagoya, who participated in the event.

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