Tokyo Hardware Press in March of 1951
① Brilliant thing for blacksmiths. Honor to our industry. Chiyozuru was recommended for the Imperial Award of the Japanese Academy.
Chounsai Chiyozuru Korehide (real name Kato Hiroshi, 78 years old) is considered as the national treasure class person in the field of blacksmiths. Today, he was recommended as one of the candidates for the 25th Imperial Award of the Japanese Academy. The academy awards 1 parson for the Imperial Award and less than 10 people for the Academy of Arts Award.
The news of Kato's recommendation has drawn attention by the entertainment world, and it is told cheerfully as proud news of the sharp-tool industry this spring.
② Chiyozuru must win Laurels next time. Congratulatory addresses gathered.
The selection of the 25th Imperial Award and the Academy of Arts Award of the Japanese Academy is made by the committee system, which the academy adopted for the first time this year.
The candidates must be recommended by the committee members to be nominated for the awards. Mr. Kato along with three others were recommended for the Imperial Award: Katsumi Miyake (European style watercolor painter), Mimei Ogawa (Juvenile literature writer), and Gentaro Koito (European style painter).
As a result of the selection, Miyake and Ogawa were chosen as the Imperial Award nominees. Although Mr. Kato was not nominated, receiving the honor of recommendation as a sharp-tool smith was the result of his ceaseless efforts, and it inspired the world of tool artisan.
Edged tools, especially the Japanese traditional sharp-tools are essential; however, it tends to be forgotten by the public. Mr. Kato contributed much of the recognition and popularization of the Japanese traditional sharp-tools.
After the announcement of the nomination, many congratulatory letters has sent to Mr. Kato’s home. They pray and encourage him for his health and more effort for the coming day of laurels.
③ Mr. Kato said, “It is much more than I deserve” with a detached air.
An early afternoon of warm spring, Mr. Kato was devoting himself in sharpening a plane in his studio in Nakameguro. He made an introductory remarks by saying, "It is so undeserving of me to be treated as first-class person". Then, he added, "I wasn't even a nominee, just recommended. I am pleased and honored, but I am also troubled by all these medias and greetings. Miyake, who was nominated as the first candidate, is a childhood friend of my cousin. I have looked at his paintings indirectly, and I believe he deserves the Imperial Award. Living long gave me a chance of coming across such encounters.
Besides, I don't make swords although am a descendant of a sword smith. Swords are not art object neither is daily necessity. I make planes, chisels, knives and so on. I believe they should be valued if they are somewhat useful than others. I just like what I do, and I am satisfied as long as I live long enough to leave a good work.
④ A master craft person, Chiyozuru's sketch
Ancestor of Mr. Kato was the master sword smith, Musashi Tairoku Tsunatoshi who was born to a sword smith, Ichimonji Sukefusa in Bizen (not Katayama Ichimonji in Oomi). After learning from Sasaki Ippou, Musashi Tairoku Tsunatoshi became a contracted sword smith for the Yonezawa feudal clan. The seventh Kato Chounsai Tsunatoshi of this lineage was Mr. Kato's grandfather. His uncle, Unjusai Korekazu inherited the name master sword smith from Chounsai Tsunatoshi.
Mr. Kato was trained under the guidance of Unjusai. Mr. Kato later inherited his grand father's name of "Chouunnsai-Korehide" (eighth generation from Musashi Tairoku). As mentioned above, his family was contracted sword smiths for generations, but Mr. Kato was born after the government had enforced a law to ban private possession of swords in the Meiji era; thus he learned to techniques of edged tool smith. He was trained and disciplined by his uncle, Unjusai. Unjusai's teachings has made Mr. Kato to devote himself to pass skills and mastered secrets to acquire the high pride of a craft person.
He said that he didn't forged swords except a few short swords in his lifetime because there are many masterpieces of sword left but he thought that is not craftwork. Some years ago, Chichibu shrine asked him to present a sword, he however declined the request by forging a knife. It is told that his wish of forging something useful in everyday lives has been fulfilled.
As everybody knows, Chiyozuru is acknowledged as a plane smith in the industry. Needless to say, he makes planes and chisels and makes up to saws, Japanese knives, Knives and fire tongs. These are all great works that is carefully finished. Last year, that excellent pieces in Chiyozuru exhibition at Mitsukoshi department store in Nihonbashi fascinated visitors.
In the current years, he is at the age of seventy-eight and lives peacefully with his wife Nobu. In additions, Mr. Kato's recommendation supporter is Mr.Fumio Asakura, who is a influential figure in the Japanese sculpture world, for the Imperial Award this year. (Shuuki)