Hayamitsu Kikyo is a swordsmith at Kikyo Hayamitsu Japanese Sword Smithy in Aioi, Hyogo Prefecture, and he likes to show visitors the art of making the Japanese sword. And in part because of Demon Slayer, he’s seeing more foreign tourists and women showing up to learn.
Kikyo wanted to forge swords after seeing a program on it, and so he apprenticed under sworthsmith Takamitsu Yokoi for five years.
“Do you see how the color of the fire is changing?” Kikyo will ask his audience as he heats up steel in 1,300 degrees Celsius fire. “If the fire is blue, it’s not even close (to being hot enough). We heat it until it turns yellow, and when it starts sizzling then it’s about ready.”
Following this part, the steel is hammered, cut, and then folded many times.
While these days Japanese swords are typically used as art pieces instead of weapons, the swords continue to be made in the traditional way, and they have always been artistically made. “I want people to know that even in this age of artificial intelligence and other technological advances, we still use the same techniques used in the old days,” Kikyo remarked.
He also talked about this sword-making philosophy: “You can never be 100% satisfied with your work. That’s why it’s so rewarding.” He said that a katana (a type of Japanese long sword) gets its style due to the swordsmith’s disposition.
Swords play an important role in the very popular franchise Demon Slayer. VIZ Media publishes the manga in English and gave this description for the first volume:
“Learning to destroy demons won’t be easy, and Tanjiro barely knows where to start. The surprise appearance of another boy named Giyu, who seems to know what’s going on, might provide some answers—but only if Tanjiro can stop Giyu from killing his sister first!”