Katana

samurai swordswordsamurai swordskatanasswordsJapanese swordJapanese swordsweaponŌkatanaDai-Katana
Historically, katana (刀 or かたな) were one of the traditionally made Japanese swords that were used by the samurai of ancient and feudal Japan.wikipedia
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Japanese sword

swordsswordnihontō
Katana can also be known as dai or daitō among Western sword enthusiasts although daitō is a generic name for any Japanese long sword, literally meaning "big sword".
Some of the more commonly known types of Japanese swords are the katana, wakizashi, odachi, and tachi.

Samurai

bushibukewarrior
Historically, katana (刀 or かたな) were one of the traditionally made Japanese swords that were used by the samurai of ancient and feudal Japan.
The Japanese sword (katana) became renowned around the world for its sharpness and resistance to breaking.

Sword

swordsbeam swordblade
The katana is generally defined as the standard sized, moderately curved (as opposed to the older tachi featuring more curvature) Japanese sword with a blade length greater than 60 cm (23 1⁄2 inches).
Non-European weapons called "sword" include single-edged weapons such as the Middle Eastern scimitar, the Chinese dao and the related Japanese katana.

Japanese swordsmithing

Japanese swordsmithswordsconstruction
The fact that swordsmiths started signing swords with a katana signature shows that some samurai of that time period had started wearing their swords in a different manner.
Japanese swordsmithing is the labour-intensive bladesmithing process developed in Japan for forging traditionally made bladed weapons (nihonto) including katana, wakizashi, tantō, yari, naginata, nagamaki, tachi, uchigatana, nodachi, ōdachi, kodachi, and ya (arrow).

Tachi

AratakaKenpredecessor of the sword her mother is named for
The katana is generally defined as the standard sized, moderately curved (as opposed to the older tachi featuring more curvature) Japanese sword with a blade length greater than 60 cm (23 1⁄2 inches).
The tachi style of swords preceded the development of the katana, which was not mentioned by name until near the end of the twelfth century; tachi are known to have been made in the Kotō period, ranging from 900 to 1596.

Tantō

tantoAikuchiDagger
The katana was often paired with a smaller companion sword, such as a wakizashi, or it could also be worn with a tantō, a smaller, similarly shaped dagger.
Tantō are generally forged in hira-zukuri style (without ridgeline), meaning that their sides have no ridge line and are nearly flat, unlike the shinogi-zukuri structure of a katana.

Wakizashi

short swordcompanion swordkatana
The katana was often paired with a smaller companion sword, such as a wakizashi, or it could also be worn with a tantō, a smaller, similarly shaped dagger.
The wakizashi has a blade between 30 and 60 cm, with wakizashi close to the length of a katana being called ō-wakizashi and wakizashi closer to tantō length being called kō-wakizashi.

Mongol invasions of Japan

Mongol invasionsinvasions of JapanMongol invasion of Japan
The Mongol invasions of Japan facilitated a change in the designs of Japanese swords.
This led to the beginning of the divergence of the katana from existing tachi swords in the 13th and 14th century.

Japanese martial arts

Japanese martial artmartial artsJapanese
In Japan, from 1945 to 1953, sword manufacture and sword-related martial arts were banned.
In Japan, the use of the katana is no different.

Machete

machetespangaM1942 Machete
In Portuguese the designation (spelled catana) means "large knife" or machete.
The katana, typically acquired through trade, was used by the Ainu people in a machete-like fashion rather than a weapon as it was originally intended to be.

Iaijutsu

drawdraw their blade and slash at their enemy in a single motiondraws and strikes with it in a single motion
Martial arts in which training with katana is used include iaijutsu, battōjutsu, iaidō, kenjutsu, kendō, ninjutsu and Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū.
This art of drawing the Japanese sword, katana, is one of the Japanese koryū martial art disciplines in the education of the classical warrior (bushi).

Differential heat treatment

differential hardeningdifferential temperingdifferential hardening or differential quenching
The katana 's gentle curvature is attained by a process of differential hardening or differential quenching: the smith coats the blade with several layers of a wet clay slurry, which is a special concoction unique to each sword maker, but generally composed of clay, water and any or none of ash, grinding stone powder, or rust.
This technique is mainly used in the Chinese jian and the katana, the traditional Japanese sword, and the khukuri, the traditional Nepalese knife.

Iaitō

iaito
Mass-produced swords including iaitō and shinken in the shape of katana are available from many countries, though China dominates the market.
They may even be made of folded steel, much like a real katana, but with a blunt edge.

Battōjutsu

battojutsubattodobattōdō
Martial arts in which training with katana is used include iaijutsu, battōjutsu, iaidō, kenjutsu, kendō, ninjutsu and Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū.
Generally, battōjutsu is practised as a part of a classical ryū and is closely integrated with the tradition of kenjutsu and is practised with the live-blade, katana, often as simply the sole kata.

Japanese sword mountings

tsubasayashikomizue
It is characterized by its distinctive appearance: a curved, slender, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard (tsuba) and long grip to accommodate two hands.
Koshirae refers to the ornate mountings of a Japanese sword (e.g. katana) used when the sword blade is being worn by its owner, whereas the shirasaya is a plain undecorated wooden mounting composed of a saya and tsuka that the sword blade is stored in when not being used.

Tenka-Goken

Five Best Swords under HeavenFive Swords Under HeavenNational Treasure
Tenka-Goken (Five Swords under Heaven) - five individual swords traditionally viewed as the best katanas
The Tenka-Goken are a group of five Japanese swords.

Tamahagane

haganesteel
In addition, supplies of the Japanese steel (tamahagane) used for swordmaking were limited, so several other types of steel were also used.
Katana

Tang (tools)

tangtangedfull tang
The non-traditionally made swords from this period are called shōwatō, after the regnal name of the Emperor Hirohito, and in 1937, the Japanese government started requiring the use of special stamps on the tang (nakago) to distinguish these swords from traditionally made swords.
Scalpels and Japanese samurai swords are perhaps the most well-known examples of such tools.

Kendo

kendōkendoka3-dan
Martial arts in which training with katana is used include iaijutsu, battōjutsu, iaidō, kenjutsu, kendō, ninjutsu and Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū.
Kendo is a way to discipline the human character through the application of the principles of the katana.

Muyedobotongji

Chong DoComprehensive Illustrated Manual of Martial artsGyongdang
Such sword sports & techniques were recorded in Muyedobotongji which shows Korean sword techniques using this sword type.
This manual contained the original 6 systems of the muye jebo but also included sections for juk chang (long bamboo spear), gi chang (flag spear), yeh do (short sword), wae geum (Japanese sword - presumably this was in reference to the katana), gyo jeon bo (illustrations of combat), jedok geum (admiral's sword), bon guk geum beop (literally "native sword methods"), ssang geum (literally "twin swords," this referred to dual-wielding of swords in combat), wol do (literally "moon sword," this referred to the Korean equivalent of the naginata, whose blade was crescent-shaped), hyeop do (spear sword - the better-known Japanese counterpart would be the yari), pyeon gon (flail), and gwon beop (unarmed combat).

Japanese swords in fiction

sakabatō
Japanese swords in fiction
Kusanagi (probably a tsurugi, a type of Bronze Age sword which precedes the Katana by centuries) is the most famous legendary sword in Japanese mythology, involved in several folk stories.

Ōdachi

nodachiodachino-dachi
Ōdachi
The dachi here is the same as tachi (太刀, lit. "great sword"), the older style of sword/mounts that predate the katana.

Daishō

daishotwo swordsmatched pair
Daishō
A daishō is typically depicted as a katana and wakizashi mounted in matching koshirae but originally the daishō was the wearing of any long and short uchigatana together.

History of Japan

feudal JapanJapanese historyJapan
Historically, katana (刀 or かたな) were one of the traditionally made Japanese swords that were used by the samurai of ancient and feudal Japan.

Shaku (unit)

shakuchek
"Katana" is the term now used to describe the family of swords known as nihontō that are 2 shaku, approximately 60 cm in length, or longer.