When Did the Katana First Show Up in History?

As a word, the first use of the Katana to describe a long blade occurred during the Kamakura period. However, the actual Katana sword appeared during the 15th century.

The earliest adoption of the Katana as the Samurai warrior’s sword happened in the late 13th century. Since then, the Katana has become the classic symbol of the Japanese Samurai.

After the Mongol Invasions of Japan, the design of Japanese swords has changed. It’s because the Tachi and the straight-bladed Chokuto were unable to cut through the Mongols’ boiled leather armor. Doing this caused the blades to break or chip off.

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During the Muromachi period, the Samurai almost abandoned the Tachi completely, leading to the production and use of the Uchigatana. This new sword was shorter than the Tachi but longer than the Katana.

The art of sword making in Japan reached its peak during the Onin War, which lasted from 1467 to 1477. Repeated civil wars occurred in the country, which made superior armor and weapons essential requirements for the Samurai.

Eventually, swordsmiths forged the Katana in the 15th century. This sword featured a curved blade with a length of up to 29 inches. It has a single cutting edge facing outward and allowed for fast combat.

Katana

The Katana became more popular among the Samurai due to its efficiency for close-combat warfare.

Its unique shape allowed the wielder to unsheathe the Katana and shift to a deadly strike in one swift motion. Which made it a special weapon for the samurai.

Victory highly depended on short response time, so it had to be easier for the Samurai to draw their swords.

The length of the Katana varied throughout the years. In the late 14th and 15th centuries, these were usually between 27.5 and 28.75 inches.

By the early 16th century, swordsmiths shortened the Katana by about 4 inches, making it 23.5 inches long. At the end of the 16th century, it returned to its approximate size of 28.75 inches.

 

What are the Myths About Katana?

There are a lot of myths surrounding the Katana. One of the most popular is that folded steel and partial heat treatment makes the Katana stronger than other swords.

In reality, folding blades and differential tempering/heat treating, are neither distinct Japanese methods. Nor are they even Japanese in origin. Both of these methods originated in China and simply spread in Japan.

These techniques either progressed independently or spread through trade routes in different cultures in the world. It was a way to solve everyone’s issue of unhardened steel becoming too pliable to adequately retain an edge.

Plus, hardened steel is too brittle to use for producing a full sword.

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There’s another known myth about the blade, and that the Katana blade’s curve has a design perfect for cutting.

Technically, the curve of each Katana can differ substantially, depending on the period, style, and creator. Generally, a Katana is only subtly curved; however, there are known examples that are more curved.

The curve is, by no means, distinct to the Katana. It’s because a lot of sword-creating cultures globally have already produced a variety of curved blades.

You should also note that the sword’s curve is a trade-off. It abandons some of the benefits of a straight sword for additional slicing benefits.

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Lastly, a popular myth claims that the Katana has a much sharper blade compared to that of other swords. In reality, this myth is bolstered mainly because of contemporary sword creators themselves.

If you think about it, there’s a massive demand for the Katana than other historical swords like the Chinese or English sword. Because of this, it’s easier to find sharpened, quality-made Katana than others.

It led to the misconception that swords of the past were dull in these cultures. But in reality, the sharpness of a sword was relatively consistent all over the world.

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Original price was: $559.Current price is: $499.
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Original price was: $559.Current price is: $499.
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