The Katana sword is a traditional Japanese weapon with a long, curved blade and a distinctively shaped hilt and scabbard. It was designed for cutting and stabbing, and also used for ceremonial occasions or in a ritualistic Japanese suicide called seppuku. The katana was traditionally worn by the warrior class, and is considered an important symbol of Japan.
The smiths that make these swords use a special forging technique to achieve three highly sought after qualities; the ability not to break or bend, and a razor sharp cutting edge. This forging technique is known as Tatara-buki. The process uses black iron sand found on beaches in Japan to create high quality steel. This allows the smiths to control the carbon content, resulting in high quality steel with few impurities.
After forging the steel into a rectangular block, the smith welds together the hard outer skin of the blade, known as kawagane, around the soft iron core, or shingane. This process creates a stronger blade that can resist breakage under stress and is better able to absorb shock. It is this combination of strength and flexibility that makes the katana so deadly as a sword.
The next step is to heat the blade and plunge it into a trough of water for a rapid cool down. This process gives the katana its distinctive curve. It also creates the wavy line on the blade, called Hamon, which is critical to the sword’s beauty and durability. Manga Katana collection