The Katana: A Closer Look At The Iconic Japanese Weapon

If someone asked you to close your eyes and picture a Japanese warrior, the first image that would appear for many people is that of a robed or armored samurai holding a katana.

Frankly, there is no other weapon that is so singularly attached to a culture or way of life than the Japanese katana. This weapon dates back to ancient feudal Japan and was carried by Samurai soldiers. The sword as a weapon is one of the most basic inventions of mankind, but in the right hands the creation of a proper katana is a complex process that results in a piece of art that could slice a man in twain.

This first video was produced back in 2013 in collaboration between the Portland Art Museum and United Kingdom’s National Museum of Arms and Armour. The video, which has no dialogue, follows the sword making process step-by-step from the Shinto blessing of the forge, the pounding of molten metal and onto the tempering of the final blade. It even gets into the assembly of the hilt and scabbard. It details the olden and traditional practice that takes an expert’s hand to perform.

man at arms viewster
Man At Arms, baby

Here on Viewster you can find multiple versions of the katana being constructed. Take a peek at the boys over at Man at Arms take on the build of an official Nodachi samurai warrior katana. Also, If you’re curious about the real life version of fictional weapons, like Genji’s sword from Overwatch, you can watch this episode of Man at Arms where they break down the process of making Genji’s katana in reality.

Then there is the full on documentary, Samurai Sword: Making of a Legend. This one delves into the katana as a piece of history and talks about this weapon as if it is a historical figure unto itself. In today’s world, things are becoming more digital and less hands-on. The construction of an antique item like this might seem out dated and unimportant, but it is actually more than just a sword or weapon. It is way of looking back on the past that reminds us of the beauty in creating something perfect with our own two hands. The katana is a weapon, but it is also an example of art and speaks to a more spiritual way of life that many of us have lost.


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