Monday, July 18, 2011

Japanese Samurai Swords: Katana


Capturing the spirit of old Japan and recognized by its deadly curvature, the samurai sword is widely recognized throughout the world as the most deadly of all Japanese weaponry. Although gaining modern fame and notoriety in modern epic cinema in such films as The Last Samurai and the Kill Bill series by Quentin Tarantino, samurai swords have long being an iconic symbol of Japan and its history.

The most famous samurai sword, the Katana, is curved and bladed only on one side - if you have seen Kill Bill, you will know exactly what I'm talking about. The Katana was developed in the 10th century to enable Japanese cavalry to carry out surprise attacks on their enemy and was worn hung from the belt with the cutting edge faced upwards.

The craft of forging katana samurai swords peaked during 1190 - 1337 - many of the swords from this era we're assigned national treasures. There were however many types of samurai swords and the other often mentioned includes shorter swords, one being the wakizashi (shoto) and the tanto knife. Only the samurai were allowed to carry these as a pair.

Tanto Knife





In battle, katana was typically paired with the wakizashi or tanto, a similarly made but shorter sword. Both were worn by members of the Japanese warrior class. The two weapons together were called the daisho, and represented the social power and personal honor of the samurai.


Katana with long blade was used for open combat, while the wakizashi or tanto with shorter blade was considered a side arm, more suited for stabbing and close quarters combat. Samurai may have used the shorter sword for decapitating beaten opponents when taking heads on the battlefield, and seppuku, a form of ritual suicide.
The first samurai swords we're actually straight bladed, single edged weapons imported from Korea and China known as chokuto, which were later replaced with the curved blade variety at the end of the 8th Century. The name of the curved blade swords which replaced them was Tachi. The reason for this transformation was samurai found that a curved sword could be drawn from the scabbard more swiftly and provided a far more effective cutting angle.

The point of a samurai sword is called a Kissaki. This is the hardest part of the sword to polish and forge and to hand create a quality one would require an extremely skilful artisan. The value of a sword is determined largely by the quality of the point.



Samurai would use wooden swords (Bokken) for practice for safety reasons as well as for preserving their real swords from unnecessary damage.

The samurai would give names to their swords as they believe in the sword lived their warrior spirit.


There are three main types of samurai sword. 1: Katana: The longest type of sword, over 24inches, generally used for outdoor combat. 2: Wakizashi: Around a third shorter than the Katana at between 12 and 24 inches, this was worn in indoor establishments by samurai for its obvious better maneuverability indoors. 3: Tanto: A small knife used in much the same manner as a Wakizashi.


As part of the samurai sword making process a sword tester took the new blade and cut through the bodies of corpses or condemned criminals. They started by cutting through the small bones of the body and moved up to the large bones. Test results were often recorded on the nakago (the metal piece attaching the sword blade to the handle).

Shogun is the name of the most powerful samurai, and they would wear two samurai swords. A Katana and a Wakizashi. They had a license to dismember anybody who offended them.

Early samurai would fight on horseback, and they're weaponry in addition to samurai swords was bows and arrows.
 
 
The Katana is a curved, single-edged Japanese sword traditionally used by the samurai. Pronounced [kah-tah-nah] in the kun'yomi (Japanese reading) of the kanji, the word has been adopted as a loan word by the English language; as Japanese does not have separate plural and singular forms, both "katanas" and "katana" are considered acceptable plural forms in English.

17 comments:

  1. Nice reviews of japanese swordsSwords

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  2. Thanks so much UK. I am glad you like them.

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  3. Wonderful :) I am doing a report on samurai warriors.

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  4. I hope this post is useful or you....

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  5. Katana is likely to be one of the most favorite antique swords I hae ever sees. Great post!

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  6. I want to bye a Samurai Japanese sword in India, If you have any information regarding that please let me know
    soumalya.seo@gmail.com

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  7. Awesome blog--I have added you to my own blog roll ;)

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  9. Buy Butterfly Swords Instead Of Japanese Swords!October 30, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    Individuals like you have been infatuated with Japanese sword sets for quite a while. The Katana and Wakizashi are known as "Daisho" which implies extensive and little in Japanese. swords for sale

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  10. you could always try these http://www.swordsoftheeast.com/

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  11. Katana is mostly used for fighting during ancient times by the Japanese warriors.

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  12. I have found a k120c steel blade, there is lot of samurai that made from china. Please check here: http://ow.ly/O3Tgf

    Durability?
    Stability?
    Strength?


    I need help

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  13. Hi my friends,

    Really swords samurais, are the best weapons.
    I watched a video very good about katana.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLnaOSNEiEE

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi my friends,

    Really swords samurais, are the best weapons.
    I watched a video very good about katana.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLnaOSNEiEE

    ReplyDelete
  15. hi my name is mc flin hi ham from the west midlands hi am also intrested in samuria swords hi am just learning which ones are the best and the history about the differnt tipes

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  16. check the way making a Katana!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dx_iFgkNT04

    ReplyDelete