What is a Samurai sword?
Introduction to samurai sword. Everything you have to know about Japanese katana & other swords own by samurais
Japanese Samurai swords have the finest and best quality of swords there are, not only in Japan.
Even historically speaking, these are the swords that are considered elemental piece of the history of Japan that until today, collectors highly venerate this sword if not literally worship it.
Here are some samurai sword information a samurai sword collector must know.
History of the Samurai sword
The samurai sword history could be traced around 12th century. Samurais were widespread during feudal Japan when military support was very powerful particularly during the Kamakura Shogunate (1185-1333) until some time in 19th century. The warlord shogun ruled and governed Japan and gave the samurai control over civil, judicial, and military matters.
The Samurais had different weapons with them like bows, arrows, spears, and a tanto knife which they would use for the ritual suicide seppuku in the form of hara-kiri. But two swords were considered important to him – a short sword of 12-24 inches in length called the wakizashi and a long Katana sword. A Samurai katana sword and a wakizashi together are called the daisho which literally means big and small.
More than a weapon, the Japanese Samurai sword katana is a symbol of the samurai spirit and pride. It was regarded very sacred that it was used by a warrior as a last resort. The Samurai believe that the long sword is his soul so it must only be drawn out in the name of his honor. To add, only a Samurai warrior has the right to bring a katana.
Traditionally, the katana making & marking in itself was a revered ritual. Only the best Japanese sword smiths working for the high classes of the society are supposed to forge a Samurai sword.
What is a Samurai sword today?
Even in the modern times, the value of the Katana is still known all over the world. The Samurai sword is one of the most popularly collected swords today among sword enthusiasts because of its rich history and its symbolism to its owner.
There are still quite a number of authentic samurai swords nowadays but there are more decorative katanas available in the market for commercial purposes. These ornamental swords are only meant as wall hangers for they will break when used in some cutting tests.
The following are a few things to consider in knowing the samurai Katana sword is real:
1. The sword must be forged. Mass produced swords do not undergo forging so, they do not have the strength like that of a real sword.
2. The blade should be carbon steel. In the old times, the raw steel for the katana blade was called the tamahagane made from black sand.
3. The hamon should be present in the sword. It is that wave like pattern found at the age of the blade as a result of heat treating. The wave pattern should be at random; else, if it is predictable, it does not come from the heat treatment.
4. The shape and form of the sword should be according to the description of the samurai swords told in the history.
5. It should be durable and of the finest quality. All samurai sword parts should be stable from the kashiri to the ken or blade and must have a full tang.
Some test cutting will help you determine the sharpness of the sword. The aesthetic value of the katana is also important, so see if it is well finished.
Katana training are being taught in martial arts schools. Though the real Samurais had long been gone, there are people who continue to emulate the Bushido or “Way of the Warrior” with the philosophy of “freedom from fear”. And to attain this, possessing a Japanese samurai sword is not enough but training in discipline, law of honor, obedience, duty, and self-sacrifice.