John Grasso - Owner & Operator-
My passion for the Japanese sword began at an early age. I started training martial arts in a freestyle karate at the age of 14yrs. The martial arts were the influence in my initial interest in the Japanese warrior culture and the code of Bushido. After training for a few years I acquired my first original Japanese katana at the age of 17. From there my collecting obsession began. I became more fascinated with the Japanese sword and history. I purchased as many books as I could find, of which at the time, there were few in English and I studied vigorously about the swords and any matter associated with the samurai. I found myself intrigued with my new interest and gradually added to my collection when I was economically able to.
My collection progressed from collecting swords to obtaining many other items relative to the Samurai, such as sword fittings, which are individual works of art in their own right. Armor has become a great interest to me in more recent years.
In 2006, my hobby progressed from collecting to dealing in Japanese samurai swords. Through my online business, Nihonto Australia, we have traveled all over Australia and to the USA attending exhibitions, displaying and selling swords and related arts. I travel frequently to Japan to advance my knowledge and collection.
I am a member of the The Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai or Society for the Preservation of the Japanese Sword (N.B.T.H.K.) in Japan. Over my years of collecting and dealing I have had many swords professionally restored which had fallen into a state of disrepair; the restorations were carried out by traditional Japanese qualified craftsman to return these swords to their original beauty, so that future generations may also enjoy them.
My intention in opening the gallery is to share my own collection so that the public have the unique opportunity to view these special items, which were treasured by the warriors of Japan. Samurai Gallery Australia is the only gallery in Australia dedicated to arts arms and armor of the samurai.
Japanese swords are one of the finest blades ever produced. One of our prized items dates back to the 11th Century Heian period circa 1040AD, a Tachi/long sword. Many of the items, dating back several hundred years, are on display and selected items are also available for purchase.