Katchushi About 自己紹介

About Katchushi

自己紹介

Welcome to Katchushi, the original Japanese armour restoration and conservation website, relating also to Japanese swords (Nihon-to) and Japanese fine art. In these pages you will find pictures and details of my work as a fully qualified and full time professional conservator/ restorer relating to Yoroi 甲冑 (Samurai armour), Kodogu 小道具 (Japanese sword fittings), Urushi Nuri 漆塗 (lacquerwork) and Japanese Fine Art 美術.

 

My name is Robert Soanes and I have been privileged to have lived and studied with one of the finest master armourers (Katchushi 甲冑師) in Japan, Mr Nishioka Fumio , and his wife Mrs Nishioka Chizuru, an expert in the field of ‘Kumihimo’ or hand woven silk braids and traditional dyeing techniques using plant and vegetable dyes. Through their wealth of experience and their kindness, I have learnt invaluable knowledge and skills in the manufacture and correct restoration of Japanese armour, which one can only obtain from serious study with such masters. Presently, I live and work in the UK, in the seaside town of Brighton, in the south of England.

 

katchushi Japanese armour restoration studio

Some of my professional qualifications include a University of Sussex Post-Graduate Diploma (Distinction) in the Conservation/ Restoration of Fine Metalwork from the internationally renowned West Dean College in England, the Sidney Sanders Charitable Trust Prize (awarded to those in the craft, trade or profession of silversmith, goldsmith or horologist) and The British Decorative Ironwork Foundation "Achievement Award", presented to students in acknowledgent of their skill, knowledge and professionalism. So you can be guaranteed of the finest work outside of Japan. Cleaning and conservation of objects to museum standard is also undertaken with written condition reports available.

 

In addition, I have been most fortunate in having been encouraged and helped by some of the most influential figures in the world of Japanese arms and armour. Most notable is Mr Ian Bottomley, formally of the Royal Armouries Museum, without whose help and encouragement I would never have obtained what I thought was impossible for a "Gaijin". Also at the Royal Armouries I have been involved in some memorable work including being filmed sword making for the Yorkshire television series ‘Decisive Weapons’ and assisting Mr Bottomley (behind the scenes) with the Shinto priests from the famous Nikko Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, Japan with their fantastic ‘Yabusame’ (Mounted archery) display held at the ‘Tiltyard’ at the Royal Armouries in 2001.

 

I have made, conserved and restored many beautiful pieces for some of the most respected private collectors and fine art dealers in England, France, Belgium, USA, Canada, South Africa, Hong Kong and Japan. In addition, I am a conservator/ restorer for the largest international auction house in the world. I am also a member of the Nihon Katchû Bugu Kenkyû Hozon Kai (NKBKHK), the society for the study and preservation of Japanese arms and armour.

 

All my work is entirely bespoke, traditional, hand crafted and of the highest quality (absolutely no modern mass produced metal fittings or castings). I use only the finest quality, historically accurate raw materials, obtained directly from specialist sources in Japan, including special Japanese soft metal alloys, like Shakudo, Kuromi-do etc) so you can be sure of fine attention to detail and authenticity, fit for the purpose of using on historic Japanese armour, swords and related accoutrements from all periods of Japanese history.

 

The best restoration and conservation, as will be shown in these pages, will enhance the value of an item as well as preserving its historical legacy for future generations of collectors, prolonging the life of the work. Bad restoration by unqualified so called professional "restorers" will destroy value and alter significantly the historic work of past generations of master crafstmen and women, that produced many of these fine and unique pieces of art.

 

 

 

A recent feature in the 2016 book "Sengokubushu Kawarikabuto Daizenshu".

 

Please click book cover for translation.

Japanese Kabuto book

Japanese armour restorer

Japanese armour restorer

Japanese armour restorer

Japanese armour restorer

Japanese armour restorer

Japanese armour restorer

Japanese armour restorer

Japanese armour restorer

Japanese armour restorer

Japanese armour restorer

Japanese armour restorer

Japanese armour restorer

Japanese armour restorer

Japanese armour restorer

Samurai armour restoration

Samurai armour restoration

Samurai armour restoration

Samurai armour restoration

Samurai armour restoration

Katchushi UK

Katchushi UK

Katchushi UK

Katchushi UK

Katchushi UK

Katchushi UK

Katchushi Studio

Katchushi Studio

Katchushi Studio

Katchushi Studio

Katchushi Studio

Katchushi Studio

Katchushi Studio

Katchushi Studio

Katchushi Studio

 

Japanese Armor Restorer

Japanese Armor Restorer

Japanese Armor Restorer

Japanese Armor Restorer

Japanese Armor Restorer

Japanese Armor Restorer

Japanese Armor Restorer

Japanese armour conservation

Japanese armour conservation

Japanese armour conservation

Japanese armour conservation