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History of the Samurai Sword and Its Making

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The Samurai sword history is a long and colorful one. It spans centuries of wars and battles in Japan. In fact, the development of the Samurai sword can be seperated according to specific eras in Japanese history.

The prototype Japanese Samurai sword was made around A.D. 900, during the Ken period. The swords were made of steel and the blades were straight like a regular sword, as its pattern was copied from the Chinese sword of that time. In fact, the original craftsmen for this period were initially Chinese men, but this eventually changed to include the early Japanese craftsmen

Japan's Koto period, A.D. 900 to 1596 was a time of frequent battles and wars between warlords and the Samurai. The Samurai sword became a common sight to see everywhere. It was a means to getting power and status - for both the Samurai and the Daimyo (Lord), the warrior served.

It was during the Koto period that the straight Samurai sword gradually evolved into the single curved blade. This historic period was known for its famous sword smiths such as the sword smith Yasutsuna who is still renowned for his craftsmanship.

However, since the Samurai sword was a necessity for almost anyone going to war, there were also many mediocre craftsmen who started making swords without regard for quality. This is why we see many Samurai swords from the Koto period which are not well made.

samurai sword making

Next came the Shinto period, which is also called the new sword era. During this time, wars were less frequent, and with it the demand for Samurai swords decreased. The daito (long sword) was made shorter and it could now be carried at a person's side.


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During the Shinto period, the trend began of decorating the Samurai sword with dragons, flowers, and other artistic forms of expression. Many of the Samurai swords from this time are still around, displayed in museums and within private collections.

The modern era, also known as the Shin-shinto period was a time of tremendous turmoil among the makers of swords. A central government was forming, guns appeared from the West. The Samurai and the warrior sword were no longer needed. Economically, local craftsmen lost their trade. They turned to making tools for agriculture and livelihood consisted of the manufacture of scissors, hoes, and knives.

What is now regarded the Golden Age of the history of the Samurai Sword lasted from 1192 to 1573. These were the periods of the such sword makers as Kamakura and Muromachi, and the legendary Masamune emerged as perhaps Japan's greatest sword smith. His work was extremely beautiful and unique. Masamune's Samurai swords are now considered national treasures of Japan.

Modern swords, forged in the same way as those carried by real Samurai warriors of the past, as well as antique Samurai swords, are still in great demand. Such Samurai Swords are widely available for purchase.



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News About Samurai History


'Highlander' Creator Gregory Widen To Write Movie About First ...
Deadline
EXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate has commenced Highlander creator Gregory Widen to script Black Samurai, an action drama grounded in the historical tale of Yasuke, ...

and more »


Charleston City Paper

The Charleston Museum presents a one-off exhibit each month, from samurai suits to exotic insects
Charleston City Paper
In 2013, when the museum faculty was reorganized to include multiple curators — Long became chief curator, Martha Zierden curator of archeology, Jennifer McCormick collections manager, Matthew Gibson curator of natural history, and Jan Hiester curator ...



89.3 KPCC

Genndy Tartakovsky and the Return to 'Samurai Jack'
Animation World Network (press release) (registration) (blog)
AWN: You have a storied history in TV with Dexter's Laboratory, Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars, among others. You moved from TV to features by jumping right into a troubled Hotel Transylvania, then on to the Hotel 2 sequel before suffering ...
Off-Ramp® | Samurai Jack is back, so we go in-depth with animator ...89.3 KPCC

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North Pole man pleads in samurai sword assault case | Local News ...
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
FAIRBANKS — A North Pole man accused of beating his girlfriend and threatening her with a samurai sword while he was high on methamphetamine was ...

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IGN

A Visual History of Every Power Rangers Team Costume
IGN
By Max Nicholson Inspired by (and using footage from) Japan's Super Sentai series, Haim Saban's Power Rangers has been a thriving TV staple since it first aired in 1993. Nearly 25 years later, Lionsgate and Saban are teaming up to release a new Power ...

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Methods Unsound (blog)

Lone Wolf and Cub: a long-read guide to samurai cinema's tender, bloodthirsty duo
Methods Unsound (blog)
Chanbara (チャンバラ) literally translates to “sword fight” and has come to denote Japanese samurai cinema, which is itself a sub-genre of Jidaigeki (or “period drama” – usually set during the Edo period of Japanese history between 1603 – 1868). Jidaigeki ...

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The Verge

Samurai Jack returns deeper, darker, and more violent than ever before
The Verge
He is haunted by his inability to protect his family in the past, and reverse the course of history that brought Aku to ascendency. Aku has also squashed every portal back in time, turning Jack into a ronin, tortured by his failure and with no mission ...

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Modern Tokyo Times

Samurai Taira no Tadamori and Art of Japan
Modern Tokyo Times
Tadamori played a powerful role in the consolidation of the Taira clan, therefore, his importance within the Imperial Court during this period of history was clearly noticed. His loyalty to the Taira clan he belonged to and the Imperial Court went hand ...



Conquering the word: 'Samurai' spelling yields championship at ...
Las Vegas Review-Journal
With her correct spelling of “samurai,” 13-year-old Maia Marshall survived a tension-filled contest Satruday at Bishop Gorman High School and earned the right ...

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The Watchdog

BC learns the ways of the samurai
The Watchdog
On Friday, March 10 in room B204, guest speaker Lynn Miyauchi presented a lecture called Samurai Undressed, which centered around Japanese samurai. Miyauchi gave a lecture on the history of samurai and demonstrated how the traditional samurai ...


Google News

Discovery Channel - The Samurai Sword Part 1



This is a brief documentation of Japanese sword making and history of the Katana brought to you by the dicovery channel program descisive weapons.

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