Sword ban, final version (allegedly)

The To-Ken society of Great Britain have got a document posted which is the proposed amendment to the offensive weapons act 1988.

It seems that they’re banning any curved sword 50cm or longer, you’ll be able to import/buy/sell/loan/trade/lend/transport (I think all them, I need to re-read the original act) provided that one of the following is true:

  1. It was made in Japan before 1954
  2. It was made in Japan later than 1954 and is traditionally forged
  3. You are using it in relation to the organisation or holding of an allowed event, which includes:
    1. “historical re-enactment” which is re-enacting an event of the past or illustrating conduct from a particular time and place in the past
    2. “sporting activity” means the practicing of a sport which requires such a weapon

So it looks like collectors are going to be faffed about (unless they start buying pricey properly forged blades from Japan) they’ll need to take up some form of re-enactment, martial art or putting on of informative museum style displays to keep buying regular blades if I’m reading this right (ignore my summary, read the actual thing).

Anyone know if its legal under EU laws to restrict the supply of an item like that? I mean valid Japanese-style blades are produced in the UK, Europe, China and America from memory, can they really just ban them all and establish a monopoly on Japanese blades?

Its an interesting one as AFAIK getting a blade into Japan is a several day paperchase nightmare, so its not like you could bounce bare blades through there for fittings and claim they were “made” there.

7 thoughts on “Sword ban, final version (allegedly)

  1. captain_carrot

    Surely anyone who would class themselves as a proper collector would not be wanting to get anything not properly forged and made in Japan? If you’re a collector what’s the point of having 50 crap non-authentic blades as opposed to 1 proper one?

    1. mr_jez

      I guess that may depend on, say, the value one puts on Japanese-Americans and their culture, to say nothing of an appreciation for the traditional techniques themselves, wherever they are used and whoever is using them!

    2. mostlyfoo

      Indeed as said by Jez. There’s at least one trained Japanese (ex-pat) smith in Hawaii, and I’ve heard of another in South America. There’s also a couple of smiths in the UK and a few in the States who follow the traditional forging method reasonably closely.

      Dynasty Forge even produce production(ish) Tamahagane blades.

  2. mr_jez

    Don’t take my word for it, but I seem to recall hearing that EU law specifically includes legislation to protect registered local products from products manufactured elsewhere that just use the name. Now, I believe that’s just for items inside the EU, but it makes me think that the principle is already in use.

    The more I think about this bendy sword ban, the more it makes no sense, particularly in light of the failure of the tighter gun laws that were implemented some years ago. It is typical sticking-plaster legislation, brought in by politicians who think short-term shallow thoughts!

  3. brightroar

    After reading the draft of the proposed amendment… I don’t actually see any mention of “Japan” or “Japanese” or “1954” anywhere – am I missing something?

    However if your summary is correct, it would mean that you could import a Chinese or American or Whereverland blade provided it was for use in reenactment or sports, which doesn’t seem like that big a deal. The only people I really see this irritating are the collectors who want a complete collection of Japanese style blades forged worldwide, and if they’re really that bothered about it, I’m sure a sword collector could spare a couple of quid a week to sign up to a martial arts club.

    Not that they should have to, but it’s not like it’d be difficult to get round it, which raises the point of why is this amendment needed in the first place? It’s not actually going to stop the random nutters who go round carving people up with swords, and legitimate collectors will jump through all the hoops to be allowed to continue with their hobby.

    Yay government.

    1. mostlyfoo

      Paragraph at the top of page 2, just under the (a) (b) list.

      Indeed, just seems a bit pointless more than anything else, scoring political points I feel.


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