Get the facts & information on the most popular sword in the history of Japan known as the Japanese katana sword.
The Japanese katana sword stands unparalleled in terms of its popularity amongst all other swords that make up the Japanese collection. This particular sword is popularly known as the samurai sword as it belongs to the days when the samurais roamed the streets of Japan.
Prior to the introduction of the katana sword the samurais used to be equipped with straight blade swords. The katana was the first curved Japanese sword with a blade that measured over 60 cm. The curved design of the katana made it a better choice than the straight blade as it allows for a quicker draw from the scabbard.
Not all Japanese swords are katana swords which is a popular misconception amongst people. The original katana sword has its own distinctive features that form its identity. The curved and slender single edged blade is the most prominent feature of the katana sword.
The sword also features a circular and sometimes square guard that protects the user’s hands during combat. The katana sword is also characterized by its rather long handle that has ample space to accommodate both the hands of the user.
The image of the katana is in sync with the samurai. The looks of the katana sword is not the only thing that makes it special. Rather the Katana sword was known for its superior slicing abilities and extraordinary sharpness.
The birth pangs of the Japanese katana sword
History reveals that the foundations of the katana sword were laid down during the Muromachi period that lasted from 1392 to 1573. The changing socio-political situation of Japan demanded a better equipped warrior class. The katana sword was developed in such a manner that it could be worn with the blade facing upwards allowing for a quick draw and slice in a single motion.
This was the revolutionary change brought in by the katana. Prior to this all the swords were worn facing down which delayed the response time which could cost a loss in combat. Hence the katana became the ultimate slicing machine for the samurai.
During the course of history the katana has undergone certain modifications especially regarding the length of its blade. The katana swords belonging to the 14th and 15th century measured between 70 to 73 cm. The next century saw the size shrink to 60 cm but then it was again increased to the original length.
The katana was not the only sword worn by the samurai. It was accompanied by two other swords one of which was the wakizashi and the other a small knife known as tanta. The katana sword was the biggest of the three and was reserved for outdoor battles. The other two swords were mainly used in indoor battles.
The secret to the superior strength of the Japanese katana sword is the special steel that is used in the making of the blade. Known as tamahagane the steel is derived from special rare iron sand. The steel has excellent properties that make it really sharp, flexible and strong making the Japanese katana sword the ultimate slicing machine.