Katanas, often known as “samurai swords,” are the most well-known bladed weapons ever created. Katanas are the principal sword of the Japanese warriors, and they are known for their curved blades and delicate work.
Despite the fact that they are now primarily exclusively used metaphorically and in specific martial arts contests, they are still highly valued as a master’s sword. Here are a few facts about Katana sword that you may not know.
The Connection to Samurai’s Soul
Samurais in Japan used to be the only ones who could use katana swords. They were mainly used as a status thing. Anyone from the lower classes who was found with a Katana sword was executed on the spot. The blades were holy to the warriors, and they were only to be used when strictly essential.
Warriors typically gave samurai swords names. This is because they were thought to be extensions of their souls. A samurai’s katana was also the one to terminate their life in a ceremonial execution known as seppuku if they lose their dignity.
Katana Production Processes
Decades back, swordsmiths were held in considerably higher regard and esteem than other tradespeople. There have even been kings who dedicated themselves to learning the noble art of sword making. Making a Katana, however, was more than just a matter of sculpting a beautiful sword. It was also a sacred ritual. So, the manufacturing process was different.
A swordsmith would cleanse themselves as per Shinto ceremonies before starting. Fasting, refraining from intercourse, and occasionally even traveling on a pilgrimage were all part of this ritual. When the worker was ready to begin forging, he would set up a holy rope around the worksite and dress in a Shinto priest’s garment.
Every day, the smith would stand beneath a waterfall and say chants to keep the cleansing ceremonies going throughout the production process. He would dump a set number of containers of ice water over himself if there were no waterfalls accessible. These ceremonies of cleansing were carried out throughout the whole sword-making procedure, which often took many months.
Although the governmental sword testing department did not exist till the 17th century, blades manufactured before 1530 were of superior quality compared to blades made afterward. According to reports, when the testers formally examined a 16th-century blade at the ministry, it sliced down seven corpses in one go.
The arrival of European firearms to Japanese lands in the 1540s is essentially to blame for the deterioration of swords. Due to the plethora of simple-to-use, particularly successful weaponry, sword manufacturers were no longer required to produce katanas of the same excellent quality.
As a result, many of the skills that smiths formerly utilized to forge a top-notch blade were lost. The samurai’s capacity to appraise swords deteriorated as the quality and demand for swords decreased.
So, many smiths focused on ornate designs instead of the striking capability of a sword. This washed-out sword-making process eventually grew so popular that the traditional katana-making method became all but obsolete.