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History of the Samurai Sword and Its Making
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.
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.
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.
Samurai History Related Items For Sale
A Brief History of the Samurai by Jonathan Clements (2010, Paperback)
Samurai: The Last Warrior: A History by John Man...NEW Softcover
The Samurai a Military History Stephen Turnbull Illustrated and Authoritative
SAMURAI SWORDS A Collectors Guide to Japanese Swords Fascinating History Detaild
101 Great Samurai Prints (Dover Fine Art, History of Art) by Kuniyoshi, Utagawa
History Classics: Samurai [4 Discs] (DVD Used Very Good)
Samurai (Warriors of History) (ExLib)
1938 JAPAN HISTORY NARA SAMURAI COMMODORE PERRY ART BOOK ILLUSTRATIONS DILTS
Samurai: A History P.S.
Seppuku: A History of Samurai Suicide-ExLibrary
Nike Kyrie 3 BHM Black White Gold History All Star Samurai Irving 852415 001
The Samurai-A Military History by SR Turnbull
Samurai (History's Fearless Fighters)
Samurai Warriors (History Highlights Series)-ExLibrary
News About Samurai History
The Charleston Museum presents a one-off exhibit each month, from samurai suits to exotic insects - Charleston City Paper
Genndy Tartakovsky and the Return to 'Samurai Jack' - Animation World Network (press release) (registration) (blog)
Lone Wolf and Cub: a long-read guide to samurai cinema's tender, bloodthirsty duo - Methods Unsound (blog)
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.