Useful Tips

Japanese sword


The presence of a rigid ligament on the handle of the sword. Only such swords can be considered truly Japanese.

The sheath of your sword must be secured with a special knot from a silk cord - Sageo.

The end of the blade of the Japanese sword should not have a particularly sharp angle: rather, the true sword should look like this:

Recently, Japanese swords with carbon steel have become quite common. However, in fact, any steel has carbon in it (carbon additive), since otherwise it would simply not be iron. Moreover, it is worth knowing that the real Japanese swords were not made of stainless steel, and all those stainless Japanese swords that we see now are with great probability ordinary reproductions that are designed to be installed on any visible place. In battle, they will not be of any significant benefit.

The blade of the sword should not have a triangular shape.

If the blade of your sword was created properly, then it must be incredibly sharp. Be careful! Usually, people of the East check if the sharp edge of the sword is enough by throwing a silk scarf on it. If the sword is made as it should, then the silk fabric will be immediately cut in half.

The back of the blade and the adjacent sides of the sword should literally sparkle with shine, while the central part and edges of the blade should be more matte.

The age of Japanese swords can be classified by “eras,” in which they were made. As a rule, the older the sword, the higher its quality. It is especially worth noting the swords produced after the Second World War, which began to be increasingly produced through manufactory production, which led to a significant deterioration in quality.

In conclusion, I would like to add that if you seriously decided to invest your money in the purchase of a real Japanese sword, but you will just need to buy a special book on the evaluation of ancient Japanese swords. In addition, you can also visit special museums or exhibitions that will give you a deeper understanding of the difference between the original Japanese swords.


Japanese names are often used in the literature to denote varieties of the Japanese sword and its details. A brief dictionary of the most commonly used concepts:

  • Tati - a long sword (blade length from 61 cm) with a relatively large bend (litter), was intended mainly for equestrian combat. There is a variety of tati called odati, that is, "large" tati with a blade length of 1 m (from 75 cm from the XVI century). In museums, they are shown in a blade-down position.
  • Katana is a long sword (blade length 61-73 cm), with a slightly wider and thicker blade and less bend than the tati. Visually, it is difficult to distinguish a katana from a tati by a blade, they differ primarily in the manner of wearing. Gradually, from the 15th century, the katana replaced the Tati as a weapon for foot combat. In museums, katanas are shown with the blade up, in the manner of wearing. In ancient times, daggers were called katans, but from the XVI century they transferred this name to swords utigatana.
  • Wakizashi is a short sword (blade length 30.3-60.6 cm). Since the end of the 16th century, paired with a longer katana, it forms a standard set of weapons for the samurai, daiso (“long and short"). It was used both for fighting in a confined space, and paired with a katana in some fencing techniques. Unlike katana, non-samurai were allowed to wear.
  • Tanto (kosigatana) - a dagger or knife (blade length. It is believed that after this time many of the techniques of traditional technology were lost.
  • Shinto - letters. "New sword." Swords produced from 1596 to 1868, that is, before the industrial revolution of the Meiji period. With rare exceptions, Shinto swords are not considered highly artistic creations of blacksmiths, although they may differ in luxurious finishes. In appearance, they reproduce koto swords, but they are inferior to them in terms of metal quality.
  • Gendaito - letters. "Modern sword." Swords produced after 1868 to the present. Among them are present as mass produced for the army on a simplified factory technology sevato (lit. "sword of the Sow period"), including, sing gunto (Japanese 新 軍刀 shin gunto:, letters. “A new army sword”), as well as swords forged after the resumption of production by modern blacksmiths using traditional technologies in 1954, for which it is proposed to use the name shin sakuto (jap. 新 作 刀 Shin Sakuto:, “Recently made sword”) or syn gendaito (lit. "new modern sword").
  • Tsuba - a guard of a characteristic rounded shape, in addition to its functional purpose (to protect the brush) served as a decoration of the sword.
  • Jamon is a line of a pattern on a blade that occurs after its hardening between the blade and the butt as a result of the formation of fine-grained crystalline structures in the metal.

Japanese Sword Comparison Table Edit


Type ofLength
Tati 61—712,4—3,51,2—2,15—6,6Appeared in the XI century. Tati was worn on the belt with the blade down, paired with a tanto dagger. A variety of odati could be worn behind the back.
Katana 61—732,8—3,10,4—1,96—8It appeared in the XIV century. The katana was worn behind the belt with the blade up, paired with wakizashi.
Wakizashi 32—602,1—3,20,2—1,74—7Appeared in the XIV century. Wakizashi was worn with the blade up, paired with a katana or separately as a dagger.
Tanto 17—301.7—2.90—0.55—7Tanto was worn paired with a tachi sword or separately as a dagger.