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The Very Soul of the Samurai

The Swords forged with Spirit of Japan

Katana (Samurai Sword) is a generic term for swords forged in the originally developed way in Japan. They are classified as Katana (Tachi, Uchigatana), Wakizashi and Tanto depending on size. Craftsmen who make Katana are called 'Toko (sword craftsman),' 'Tosho (sword master)' or 'Katana kaji (swordsmith).

The Very Soul of the Samurai

Its beautiful shape has symbolic meaning as well as its use as a weapon since ancient times, and many are highly appraised as art objects. Old and unbroken lines, including the Imperial family and shrines, value treasure swords (such as Amenomurakumono tsurugi) as a proof of power. They also functioned as a support pillar of spiritual culture, 'the very soul of the samurai against the backdrop of the military government. They feature a process of folding and forging' two types of metal, hard brittle steel and soft iron, so the Toshin (body of blade) and Nakago (core) are combined together. The Nakago has holes (Mekugi holes) to fix the body of blade to the Tsuka (handle) with pin fasteners.

Katana is not only a Weapon, but also an Art-craft

Different from swords of other countries, the biggest feature of Katana is that the body of blade itself has artistic value, aside from the fittings (Koshirae). Katana is found in a poem titled 'A Poem About the Katana' by Ou-yang Hsui in Baisong. This poem describes a merchant of Yueh (South China) who goes to Japan to buy Katana already being called treasure swords given their artistic qualities found in the fittings and appearance. Although the main point of A poem About the Katana' is to lament that books already lost in China still exist in Japan, and not about Katana, it shows that the beauty of Katana was already recognized by overseas curiosos from the late Heian period to the early Kamakura period as one of Japan's exports.