Electronic Journals of Martial Arts and Sciences

FAQ: Iaito and Shinken Pricing

Copyright © EJMAS 2001-2002. All rights reserved.



Iaito are the swords used in iaido practice, and the following are some sources of information about blades that should meet most needs. Prices are given in US dollars.


Be respectful of iaito. They are weapons, they may be sharp, and improper handling can seriously diminish their value. Supervised instruction is essential for beginners, as you cannot learn safe sword handling from a video.

Although any blade can break if abused, you are strongly encouraged to avoid the cheap stainless steel blades sold as decorations, as they can break even during solo training. (Yes, strong stainless blades are made, but they are not cheap.)


Most, perhaps all, styles, schools, and teachers have their preferences. Therefore, always check with your instructor before buying an iaito.

Second, donít rush into a purchase. Most iaido classes have loaners that can be used in class, and over time you may find that what you thought you wanted isnít what you really need.

Finally, donít be too proud to buy a hand-me-down from a more senior student. The price is probably less than a comparable new iaito, and you will have the advantage of having handled the weapon in advance.

When ordering a sword, talk or write the various retailers and makers, and buy from one who seems interested in you, and who stands behind their blades and fittings. For what itís worth, Sei Do Kai/EJMAS endorses (and sells) Fujiwara iaito. If money is no object, then Sei Do Kai/EJMAS endorses (and sells) Dotanuki Shinken. That said, any of the iaito listed below should give many years of satisfactory service.

General information

Japanese sword FAQ: http://www.ii.uib.no/~kjartan/swordfaq/section15.html

Alloy blades; do not use for cutting


SDKSupplies: http://sdksupplies.netfirms.com/cat_iaito.htm

Aoi Sword Shop: http://japanesesword.net/iaito/index.html

Bogu Bag: http://www.BoguBag.com

Tozando:  http://www.tozando.com/eng/iaido/index.html

Steel blades; can be used for cutting


Alex Oster: http://homestead.juno.com/osterberg

C.A.S. Iberia: http://www.swordforum.com/swords/nihonto/manchurian-candidates.html

Kris Cutlery: http://www.swordforum.com/swords/kriscutlery/kc-katana.html

Around $1,000

Bugei (Chen swords): http://www.swordforum.com/swords/nihonto/manchurian-candidates.html; see also http://www.bladeforums.com/ubb/Forum32/HTML/001245.html and http://www.bugei.com/index2.html

Around $1,500

Dotanuki Shinken: http://sdksupplies.netfirms.com/cat_shinken.htm

Nosyuiaido: http://ejmas.com/ejmasreviews.htm#IaitoWhichCut

Over $2,000

Reputable North American custom makers

SDKSupplies: http://sdksupplies.netfirms.com/cat_lohman.htm

Tozando Shinsakuto: http://www.tozando.com/eng/iaido/index.html

Over $6,000

Reputable Japanese custom makers

Over $20,000

Kanefusa Fujiwara: http://sdksupplies.netfirms.com/cat_iaito.htm

Miscellaneous vendor links