Childhood and Father
Yasha Yukawa is a half Japanese (father) and half Swedish (mother) swordsmith who spent his childhood in Sweden. His father, Mr. Yoshitaka Yukawa, was an artist. He was also a martial artist and a practitioner of Iaido (a form of martial arts with an emphasis on drawing a sword and quick responses to attacks), as well as a collector of Japanese swords. He was a member of the ¹Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (NBTHK), and he wrote books about Japanese swords. In addition, he held appreciation meetings for art swords in Stockholm, and more. Starting from around 1970 for about forty years, he actively introduced traditional Japanese culture in foreign countries. Although Yasha Yukawa was born and raised in Sweden, due to his father’s extensive knowledge about Japanese swords, he came to know Japanese swords as a familiar existence from a young age.
As an adolescent, he lived going back and forth between Japan and Sweden. In his late teens, he started living in Tokyo where his relatives lived. He started showing potential as a painter around that time and started drawing murals in Tokyo, at clubs, shops, boutiques, and backdrops for TV shows. Additionally, at that time he was a trailblazer for “graffiti art” in Stockholm, where he would spray paint walls in the underground scene with his friends.
While living in Sweden again, he studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts. He was recommended by a professor and studied fresco, etching, and other painting skills. After that, he decided to fulfill his long time dream of “becoming a swordsmith and making Japanese swords.”
In Sweden, he met his father’s friend and swordsmith, Mr. Kunimasa Matsuba, and was allowed to become his apprentice in 2009. After that, he trained under Mr. Kunimasa Matsuba for five years in Hyuga City in Miyazaki Prefecture.。
In 2015, he moved to the smithy in Manao in Hofu city, Yamaguchi Prefecture. This smithy was built by swordsmith Mr. Yoshiaki Sugita, who was a friend of his master, Mr. Kunimasa Matsuba. After Mr. Sugita passed away, the smithy became vacant so he moved there. Around that time, he began to produce Japanese knives in earnest.
In 2016, he passed the ²“Bijutsu Token Toushou Gijutsu Hozon Kenshukai” organized by the Agency for Cultural Affairs and received his swordsmith qualification. He became a licensed swordsmith under the Japanese government after passing the examination.
After becoming an independent swordsmith, he started making Japanese swords and knives for mainly Western, Brazilian and Japanese customers.
In 2018, he held his first solo exhibition, “Yasha Yukawa Exhibition,” at Hofu city’s Rursus Hofu in Yamaguchi prefecture.
In 2020, he submitted his sword for the first time and won a prize at the ³“Contemporary Swordsmith Exhibition” by the Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (NBTHK) in the sword category ⁴“Tachi, Katana, Wakizashi, Naginata, Yari.”
In 2021, he won a prize at the “Contemporary Swordsmith Exhibition” by the Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (NBTHK) in the sword category ⁵“Tantō, Ken.”
He launched his original brand “YASHA YUKAWA”, producing unique Tamahagame blades among other products.
1: Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (NBTHK) in English would translate to “The Society for Preservation of Japanese Art Swords.” It is a foundation dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Japanese art swords. For more information click here.
2: Bijutsu Token Toushou Gijutsu Hozon Kenshukai is the national swordsmith examination that one must pass in order to become licensed swordsmiths under the Japanese government.
3: Contemporary Swordsmith Exhibition (現代刀職展) is an annual competition where licensed swordsmiths submit swords made of only tamahagane.
4: Tachi and Katana are long swords.
Wakizashi is a short sword under 60cm.
Naginata and Yari are a type of spears.
5: Tantō is a traditional Japanese dagger.
Ken is an older type of sword.