Katana sword faq
A sword collecting guide that answers your frequently asked questions about katana swords
Here below are the most frequently asked questions about katana swords and their corresponding answers.
What is a katana sword?
A katana is a Japanese cavalry saber used by feudal shoguns or lords in medieval Japan. They were brought in as Chinese imports to the mainland starting 3rd century. By 14th century, the first katana swords were made. For more discussion, please read what is a katana sword.
How is katana made?
Katana sword making starts with a chunk of iron ore (tamahagane) sifted through to separate the kawagane (high carbon steel) and shingane (low carbon steel).
These two steel strands are heated to malleable state, folded together, hammered out and reheated. The process is repeated countless times to remove impurities and air pockets. This strengthens katana sword without losing its flexibility.
How does a katana look like?
Katana swords are curved, single-edged, two-handed blade of about 60-70cm in length. Its cross-sectional area is round, unlike the tapered triangular European medieval swords.
It has mirror-like blade surface, shiny squiggly lines running on it as a result of folded process. It has a wavy or straight glossy temper line in the cutting edge as a result of differential heat tempering.
What are the parts of katana sword?
There are two hundred parts of a katana, which is quite impossible to list down individually here. For simplicity, there are four basic parts: hilt (tsuka), guard (tsuba), blade (nagasa), and scabbard (saya). Read samurai sword parts for more information.
How is katana sword worn?
Pre-14th century Japanese shogun swords called tachi were worn by the waist with the cutting edge facing downward. Tachi was later replaced by katana, which was shorter. Katana was worn by the waist still but the sharp edge upward. In this way, the Japanese sword fighting was improved, as it was possible to unsheathe the sword and slash an enemy all in one swoop.
What is the difference katana and samurai sword?
Both of them are Japanese swords, except that samurai sword refers to all the swords that the samurai warrior brings, and katana is just one of them.
In katana sword history, you will learn that the samurai warrior has many swords that he used in the battle. For practicality, he brings three of them around: one shorter (tanto or dagger sword), the other longer (the katana), and the short sword wakizashi.
Were Japanese samurai soldiers trained in sword fighting?
Yes. For more discussion, please read katana training.
Was the katana sword primary weapon for the samurai?
Yes. As mentioned above, the tanto or dagger was also carried around by the soldier but its use was secondary. The katana was serviceable from a mounted position. Its curving blade concentrates the force of the blow on the sharp edge as the samurai slashes circumferentially upward, downward, or sideways.
Is it good to collect katana sword?
If you are looking for a collection of centuries-old tradition, yes it is. To get started, read our article how to collect samurai sword.
Where to buy katana sword?
You can visit auction sites, like Sotheby’s and Christie’s, twice a year or online bidding sites. You can also connect to private collectors and forums so you can get to know dealers.
How much will it cost me?
There are many katana swords in the market that will suit your budget range. For the high-end museum pieces, the price can go up from about a hundred thousand dollars. The cheap samurai sword for sale can get you around twenty dollars.
How can I look for original katanas?
You can see original katanas in the nearest art and artifact museum near you. There are also scheduled sword shows that can acquaint you with the finest katana swords.
How to take care of katana sword?
In our article sword care and maintenance, we will teach you how to look after your katana sword collection.