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The History of The Japanese Katana, And How To Forge One

The History of The Japanese Katana, And How To Forge One

The Japanese Katana has long been considered one of the most iconic weapons in the world. It is a weapon that is not only known for its affiliation with the samurai but its craftsmanship as well. 

It is a weapon that takes years of training to truly perfect. If you are interested in the art of making a katana, here is a short article to inform you.

1 – It Took Hundreds Of Years To Perfect The Design

The incredible thing about the katana is that it was not the very first Japanese sword. It is actually the very last in a long line of sword incarnations.

The very first Japanese sword was inspired by Chinese swords, and they were double-edged and straight, which is a contrast to the single-edged and curved ones. They were somewhat brittle and were made of bronze instead of steel. 

During the Heian period in Japan though, sword-making technology had dramatically changed. The swords were no longer based on Chinese swords. Instead, they were longer, curved, and were specialized for mounted warfare. 

These swords were called the Tachi, which were the precursors to the modern-day Katana. It would take around a hundred more years till the Tachi was no longer used as a design.

2 – It Was The Spirit Of The Samurai Class

According to samurai legend, the katana is often considered the very soul of the samurai, while samurai were known as the elite fighting force in feudal Japan. 

Their exploits were often considered legendary, and the Japanese katana was often at the very center of these legends.

What made the katana so revered is that the katana was often considered the samurai’s weapon. 

Along with a smaller sword called the wakizashi, the samurai were the only ones allowed to carry both swords. This pairing of two swords was called a dais, and it was one of the key symbols of being a samurai.

3 – There Are Many Varieties of Samurai Swords

The katana is by far the most famous Japanese sword because of its portrayal in modern media. However, the katana is not the only samurai sword.  There have been many variations of the katana, such as the nodachi or odachi. This type of sword was particularly huge and was around five feet in length. There was also the kodachi which is a cross between a Tachi and a wazikashi.

4 – It Takes Many Years To Learn How To Forge a True Katana

While you will be learning the rudimentary skills on how to forge your own katana, it takes many years to truly perfect such a skill. Traditionally craftsmen will have to apprentice themselves to well-known masters in order to learn their craft.

This usually takes the craftsman around a decade to learn the rudimentary skills of forging a katana, and many more years to be a true master. However, the main key to truly forging is the metal folding process. The master craftsman has the ability to fold the billet or metal rods into various folds, which makes the metal extremely resilient.

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5 – They Are Extremely Expensive

The most incredible thing about the katana is its incredible value. Many collectors would go so far as to pay thousands of dollars for a good-quality one. The reason why katanas are so valuable is that it takes months of work and valuable metals. There is also the incredible detail and beauty of the Japanese katana. 

If you ever have the chance to own or even handle a katana, you should be as meticulous as possible. Make it a habit to use a hand sanitizer before you handle the blade. Better yet, you should also use a facemask and gloves when you inspect the sword. It might seem like a lot of precautions, however, you should remember that these swords cost a lot of money, so you should be as careful as possible.

6 – You will Need Specialized Equipment

If you are going to make your own katana, you will need to invest in very specialized equipment. Back in the earliest days of sword making, swordsmiths had to do most of the forging with a hammer and anvils. However, nowadays, modern sword makers tend to use molds and automatic hammers to forge their swords. If you are going to forge your own katana, you should have the right equipment.

What you need are just high-quality mold and high-grade steel. The mold will act as the form for your sword, and you could just pour in the molten steel. What’s important is that your mold is capable of attaining the shape of the katana perfectly. If you want to buy good quality molds, you could purchase from Immould. It is a company that specializes in creating injection molding automotive parts. However, the company could also create a myriad of other mold shapes. The point is that you could give them a specific shape so that they can make the molds for you easily.

7 – It Is An Iconic Weapon

Besides, the other thing you should know about the katana is that it is a very iconic weapon. It has been used in various movies, tv shows, and anime. Sadly not everyone who has owned or seen a katana gives it the respect it deserves. It is a weapon of unmatched beauty. It is also one of the most renowned weapons in the world. If you have the honor to own one, or better yet make one of your own, you should treasure it like the prize.

Conclusion

If you want to learn about the katana, its incredibly storied past, and how to make one of your own, you should do your research properly. With this short article, you’ll know the incredible story and skill it takes to build a katana of your very own.

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