Real ninja swords
Authentic ninja sword collecting
What is really a ninja sword and how do you distinguish fake swords from real ninja swords? Learn what is a ninja sword and discover the tricks, treacheries and other deceitful ways of a ninja to accomplish a mission.
The existence of a ninja sword in the history of Japan is still a point of controversy. Some say that there was particularly no sword called a ninja sword because the ninjas used whatever bladed weapon they could own or make.
On the other hand, some people say that there were such things as ninja swords called ninjato which even possessed the following characteristics:
1) It had a blade length of about 24 inches; it was shorter than the long sword (katana) that a samurai warrior always brought with him.
2) A ninja sword was made from low quality materials and its blade sometimes came from broken swords remade into a ninja sword. Therefore, it often had a blunt cutting edge.
3) The ninjato was more appropriate for stabbing because it required force to cut flesh.
4) The ninja sword had a slight curvature but it was straighter compared to other swords that existed in feudal Japan.
5) The ninjato sword was inches shorter than its scabbard. It was designed to deceive enemies on how fast the sword could be drawn from the sheath. The remaining space of the scabbard was used as a compartment for other ninja paraphernalia like daggers, poisons, ropes, medicines, etc.
6) The tip of the ninjato sheath was removable. It could be used as a snorkel if the ninja jumps off a river to escape or to hide underwater. Learn more about ninja sword history.
It is perhaps because of this interesting history of ninja swords that they stay popular until today. Many people – from sword enthusiasts, Japanese manga comics’ fanatics, movie buffs, to martial arts practitioners – are very much passionate with learning about ninja swords. A few of them settle on reading the stories and historical accounts while quite a number of them do collect the swords.
While there are collectors who choose decorative ninja sword, there are also people like ninja martial arts (ninjutsu) practitioners or the serious sword collectors who would prefer an authentic ninja sword regardless of how much they would have to pay. But how do them make sure they buy a genuine sword?
Modern Real Ninja Swords
With the development of technology, the sword making process has also improved. Real ninja swords today do not have the same inferior quality anymore, thus, do not follow historical accuracy.
According to the founder of Bujikan Federation (an international organization best known for their association with ninja martial arts, ninjutsu), a way to identify a more authentic replica of a Ninja sword is to recognize the ninja sword’s similarity with a typical Japanese Katana. The major difference is that the ninja sword is shorter. On that note, here are the qualities of a functional ninja sword:
1) The ninja sword blade
• Blade length
Ninja swords nowadays can be more than 24 inches long. So, if you would see online shops selling a ninjato with a 29-inch blade, it does not necessarily mean it is a fake sword.
• Blade form
A modern authentic ninja sword is now perfectly straight unlike its “historical” counterpart which was slightly curved.
• Carbon steel blade
The blade must be made of carbon steel. This is true to all functional swords. Many swords nowadays are made from stainless steel. Stainless steel work very well as knives but surely not as battle-ready swords. Aside that stainless steel is prone to breaking, it is also heavier making a sword difficult to handle.
• Differentially tempered blade
Differential tempering is the process of heating and quenching to harden the cutting edge of the blade without making the entire sword brittle. Traditionally, this is done by applying a protective clay coating on the sword before the sword is heated and quenched. Thicker coating is applied on the spine and body, thinner on the sharp edge.
An effect of this process is a line pattern (hamon) on the sword blade.
• Well sharpened blade
A ninja sword nowadays has good quality of blade. Since it undergoes tempering, the cutting edge is strong enough to withstand meticulous sharpening.
• Full tang ninja sword
The tang is that section of a sword blade that is hidden within the sword grip. A full tang ninja sword has a handle that covers the entire length of the tang. With this attribute, the sword does not rattle, or worse, fall from the handle when used.
2) Balance and Weight of a Genuine Ninja Sword
Weight and balance is essential in a battle ready ninja sword. A ninja sword could weigh 2.5 to 5 lbs so that it will be easy to handle and carry. Heavier swords can affect your movement and will slow you down when you make an attack or swing.
3) Polish and Furnish of Real Ninja Swords
Ninja sword blades are well furnished and polished. The square hand guard (tsuba) would come in different artistic designs. The sword has an oversized handle (tsuka) to accommodate two hands, and like the handle of a Samurai katana, the handle is creatively wrapped with cloth (silk or cotton) and is adorned with small statues. Most importantly, all the parts are stable – wrappings are tightly covering the grip, collars are snugly installed on the blade, and the sword could fit just right in the scabbard.
Additional tips in buying an authentic ninja sword:
1) Purchase items from a reliable dealer to protect your self from buying a fake ninja sword.
2) Consider buying a sword of reputable brand. Examples of high-end and best swords are Hanwei ninja sword and United Cutlery Ninja sword. They can be expensive products at $100 to $300 (or more) but you are sure of their quality. You could not really expect a cheap ninja sword to be a good piece. Stainless ninja sword replicas are worth $10 to $60.
3) Read more to widen your knowledge about ninjas and ninja swords. With more reading, you will learn a lot and soon enough you will become an expert at determining what are real ninja swords and avoid fake ones. Links to other articles relating to ninja swords are posted below.