Fun fact, the katana has been in existence since the late 1300s. That is more than 600 years ago. The katana is a samurai` best friend. The samurai are acquainted with the katana long before they have even learnt to “run properly”. The katana is a long sword. It is usually about 60 – 80 cm in length. It rests at about 1.4 kg. The katana is an essential part of Japanese history and culture. you can Discuss medieval Japan without discussing samurais or shinobi. However, you cannot properly discuss the samurai without mentioning the katana.
The katana was earlier described as “a long sword”. There are more than a few people who would argue that it should be “the” long sword. This is because even though other long swords were eventually designed, the katana came first. Other long swords which the samurai are known to have used were designed with the katana as reference. However, it would interest you to know that the katana also has a predecessor. The katana has its roots in ancient Japan. The katana is an exquisite work of art.
The katana is made of three major parts. The blade, the guard and the hilt or handle. The blade of the katana is somewhat curved. So the katana is a curved blade. In the long run, the blade was straightened out. As mentioned earlier, the katana has a predecessor. The katana is designed from the much older sword type, the tachi. The tachi has a higher curvature than the katana. So the katana is a straighter version of the tachi.
The katana is a very distinctive weapon. A sword which is slightly curved with a slender, single edged blade possessing a very sharp edge. Another distinct feature of the katana is that the name or mei is inscribed on the outward side of the tang or nakago. This means that when a katana is drawn, the person opposite should be able to see the inscription. The katana also has a squared or circular guard. The katana was so sharp, it is described as one of the finest cutting weapons in military history.
There are three types of katana. They are:
- The Shobu-Zukuri
- The Shinogi-Zukuri
- The Kissaki-Moroha-Zukuri
However, modern katana is known as the gendaito. There are newer methods of manufacturing katanas and more improved techniques. Although the katanas are more durable they are not the original samurai swords. They are confiscated in some countries.
The original katanas have been retired to museums for all to enjoy their magnificence. They are some in private collections as well. However, it is possible to get a katana of your own. This is because we have swordsmiths who still employ the traditional methods of forging. So even in this day and age, one can get a hold of a katana. These swordsmiths are not much, but they have master swordsmiths in their ranks with more than 40 years of experience.