Oshigata and restoration

Oshigata services

James Fitzpatrick

As a graphic designer with over 30 years of experience I am trained in illustrating very detailed representations of real objects for use in advertising. This training in detailed replication has now united with my enthusiasm for collecting Japanese swords and developed into drawing oshigata.
While slowly adding to my collection of Nihonto I began drawing oshigata to help me learn about the swords and preserve their details. Later I had the opportunity to borrow some swords from friends and other collectors and made oshigata in return for the privilege of being able to study the swords. I now offer an oshigata drawing service to all collectors.

James Fitzpatrick

The shape of the sword is accurately traced out and the blade details filled in using a variety of pencils, carbon rods and shading techniques.

busy drawing

Oshigata have been produced in Japan since well before the middle ages. They were an important attachment to certificates issued by the sword-appraising societies and families. Today highly detailed and precise oshigata drawing is appreciated as an artform. As well as being an invaluable aid to study they also add prestige and identity to the sword.

Practical information.
The finished oshigata is rolled inside a scroll of thick protective paper and then stored in a further protective tube and labelled. Instructions on how to handle and care for the oshigata are also supplied. Oshigata are suitable to be mounted and displayed as kakejiku, or framed and displayed behind glass.

Note: During the drawing process great care is taken to ensure that the sword is not damaged or scratched in any way. Swords are stored within a safe while in my keeping, the appartment is secure and has an advanced alarm system (certified ASA).

The process of drawing an oshigata can be very time consuming, depending on the amount of detail there is to be seen in the sword and the method used to portray it. I would need to have the sword for a minimum of one week to do an oshigata properly. If you live in the Netherlands, and feel hesitant about letting the sword out of your sight, a series of appointments can be made so that the oshigata(s) are drawn at your location.

Pricing is very difficult and can only really be calculated once the depth of the project has been agreed, for instance an oshigata that portrays only the basic hamon shape and nakago rubbing is much less complicated to execute than one that would extensively detail all activity such as nie, tobiyaki and complicated choji patterns.

Oshigata examples. Please click on the image below to view some examples and get more information.

Oshigata example

  • Katana
  • Kaifu school
kaifu katana


Restoration services

Restoration of koshirae and tsukamaki.
I offer a limited service in restoration of damaged koshirae - including tsuka making, tsukamaki (lace binding) and sayas.
Click on the image below to view some restoration examples and get more information.


  • Uchigatana
kaifu katana