CRAFTSMEN OF THE JAPANESE SWORD

Traditional artisans joined forces to make an impact at a single stroke by creating an original Japanese sword motif for the MRG-G 2000HA.

SHARPLY POLISHED STRENGTH

A symbol of the samurai spirit, the Japanese sword has followed a unique, centuries-long path of development in the hands of unnumbered artisans, telling its owners’ proud stories in addition to fulfilling its role as a weapon. Its value extends not only to the blade itself, but also to the koshirae (“fine craftsmanship”) applied to the sword fittings. Among these fittings, the tsuba (“hilt guard”) is of particular importance both as the part responsible for protecting the hand from sharp sword edges and as a decorative fixture. A representative form of decoration employs an iron-forging technique called tetsu-tsuba (“Iron hilt guard”), in which an uneven texture is produced by striking iron with a hammer to maximize the strength and beauty of the material. The finished appearance is both stoic and primitive.

SHARPLY POLISHED BEAUTY

This is “beauty for use” combining practicality with adornment, in sharp contrast to the gold-working applied to more flamboyant hilt guards crafted from materials such as gold, silver and copper. The effect evoked by this ironworking technique is reproduced in G-SHOCK’s MRG-G2000HA through application of a technique called arashi tsuchime, or “textured hammer tone”. The metal exterior is finished with a unique, wild look developed in cooperation with traditional Kyoto-style hammering master Bihou Asano.

BIHOU ASANO MASTER METALWORK CRAFTSMAN

Born in Kyoto in 1943, Bihou Asano engages in the repair of metalworking artworks designated National Treasures in addition to pursuing his professional craftsmanship activities as Heian Bihou III. While working in an inherited tradition, he believes that artisans should continue to take on new challenges in their product manufacturing, a view resonating with MR-G that provided the basis for this collaboration.

ONE-OF-A-KIND PRODUCTS

AIP® (arc ion plating), a leading-edge coating technology, is employed in the surface treatment. Boasting a hardness rivalling that of DLC (diamond-like carbon), AIP® is used in such robustly resilient machinery as jet engines. We also conduct polishing treatment after the coating, a more laborious and expensive finishing method as compared with conventional techniques.

Besides adding protection, this coating technique reproduces the color tones of alloys used in traditional Japanese metal crafts. Brown AIP® applied to the bezel produces a brownish copper color known as suaka "basic copper". Other metal parts such as the internal band pieces employ deep violet AIP®. Referred to as murasakigane, or "purple violet", this deep purple tone is produced by adding gold to copper. Considered an aristocratic color since antiquity, purple is a principal color applied to exteriors, which is often used on weapons associated with shrines and other honored places.

IMBUED WITH THEIR MAKER’S SOUL

The traditional Japanese “textured hammer tone” technique is applied to the bezel and internal band pieces as well. These forged titanium parts are manually embellished with a pitted texture. The emerging surface patterns reflect the skills and techniques inherited by individual craftsmen through generations. Determined by the shape of the iron chisel tip and force of the blows, each pattern is different from all others, projecting a one-of-a-kind character. After hammering, the surface layers of the hammered tone crafted parts are hardened by deep-hardening processing. Further treatment with a special coating is then applied to enhance the surface’s wear resistance and protect its beauty far into the future.