The katana is perhaps the most iconic sword of Japan. Its slender profile and razor sharp edge made it unbreakable in duels, and its distinctive curve gave it the legendary ability to cut through an enemy’s armor with one stroke. But these traits are more than aesthetic – they were the result of a rigorous forging process.
To make a katana, the smith must begin with a red-hot block of steel. The smith strikes and elongates it with a Kozuchi (light hammer) to create the basic shape of the blade, which is then reheated in a charcoal fire for ‘Yaki-ire.’ During this process, the Mune side of the blade is quickly quenched, while the Shinogichi side is cooled more slowly to maintain flexibility and ductility. This differential hardening — known as Hamon — gives the Katana its unique and beautiful look.
Once the blade is forged, it is carefully tempered and formed to give it strength and stability. The smith may also add a Kissaki (piercing tip) and a Tsuka-hori (tang).
Katana are often praised for their beauty, but it’s important to remember that these swords were designed primarily for practical use. In fact, a samurai would carry his or her Katana into the delivery room with him so that it could be used to protect the newborn from disease and other dangers. That’s why it is so critical to treat a katana with care and respect, including properly storing it in its sheath. If left in a damp environment, it can easily become rusted or damaged. buy the katana here