Do you have
Battle Ready Full Tang Functional High Carbon Steel Authentic Samurai
Well you might have come to the right place for all the wrong reasons.
There is a ton of hype and sales pitches surrounding katana. Are you
looking for a good katana or a good sales pitch? At Nihonzashi we sell
swords for serious martial artists and those who are serious about swords
because that is who we are. If we think it is a decorative sword - we tell
you. There is nothing wrong with a decorative sword but you should know
that what you are buying.
Battle Ready - Just what does this mean? Are you expecting the fall
of civilization and want to have something ready for the chaos? Are
you expecting zombies to attack and you need something to defend the house?
This label really lacks any meaning. That "Battle Ready Katana" may be
the last thing you should grab if the hordes of undead do show up.
Full Tang - This is preferred over what is commonly called a "rat tail"
tang, but it does not make the katana usable. The term Full Tang has
become another label to make the consumer think they are getting something
Functional / Practical - We do sell the "Practical Katana" but that is
the model name. Most katana with the functional and practical label
are just glorified wall hangers. There is no definition of either
functional or practical that the katana has to meet.
High Carbon Steel - Most people don't realize that most stainless steel
is too brittle for swords, so High Carbon Steel has become a sales pitch.
High Carbon Steel is soft if not tempered and can become brittle if hardened
too much. It can be used to make good katana, but is also used to make
wall hangers that rust.
Authentic Samurai Sword - We have never seen anything labeled as an
authentic samurai sword that was actually owned by a samurai. There
are still allot of katana that were around before 1867 when the samurai
class was abolished, but they bear little resemblance to most katana being
sold with this label. Most people think of them as Samurai Swords and
not katana or wakizashi. Authentic - well we do sell real swords if
that is what you mean.
First you should ask yourself what you want the sword for. If you want
something cool to hang on the wall - just about anything will do. If you
think you might want to learn Japanese swordsmanship and want something useful -
then you want an iaito or
shinken katana that can stand up to the rigors
of real training. Iaito are used for practicing basic cuts and kata
(forms). They are not made for banging together or cutting anything.
Shinken are real katana made for tameshigiri or cutting practice. A katana
should stand up to abuse, keep a sharp edge, and be constructed correctly.
There are too many "katana like objects" being sold out there.
Iaito are used for practicing basic cuts and kata (forms). They are not
made for banging together or cutting anything. Most have unsharpened steel
or aluminum alloy blades. They should all have a ha (groove) on both sided
of the blade. This is not a "blood groove". The pitch and position
of the sound made by this groove moving through the air allows you to determine
if the sword is being swung correctly. Iaito take allot of abuse even if
they do not impact anything. Most students swing their iaito about 200
times per class or about 20,000 times a year. In five years that is
100,000 times. There is also the occasional mistake that does involve
hitting something. That is something the average wall hanger just can't
do. Iaito Page.
|Shinken are real katana made for tameshigiri or cutting practice.
There are allot of terms being used for these types of swords and not
everyone calls them shinken. We normally cut tatami and sometimes cut
bamboo in our Toyama Ryu classes. Most students average about 1000 cuts
per year and a sword is expected to last for many years. A good shinken
should not need sharpening more often than twice a year. We recommend
shinken that are NOT stainless steel, are differentially hardened, have
removable tsuka (handles) for inspection, and have proper fittings.
Do you want a real sword or something decorative? Do you want a katana
or a "katana like object" to hang on the wall? Most people will be
satisfied with the wall hanger without every understanding they don't have a
real sword. If you are reading this - you are taking the time to educate
yourself and those wall hangers will probably never look the same again.
We carry swords that can stand up to real life.
The making of swords is highly regulated in Japan. A katana made in
Japan is often referred to as a nihonto. A smith can only make a limited
number of swords per month using strict traditional methods. This controls
the quality of swords but forces the starting price to around $7000. We
sell Japanese Iaito practice swords. These are not considered real swords
by the Japanese government and are not regulated. The real swords we sell
are made hand forged in china. These are hand forged production swords
using labor saving techniques. They are still made using some traditional
methods such as differential tempering but are much more affordable than nihonto.
Many iaito and decorative swords have a hamon or temper line artificially
added. They use a purely cosmetic surface treatment that makes the katana
look like it was differential hardening. These only make the katana look
more authentic (well not really if you know what you are looking at). A
differentially hardened katana (as opposed case hardened or tempered) has a
hardened edge and a soft spine. The edge is hardened so it will retain a
razor sharp edge while the spine is left softer so it will bend and not break.
This is usually done with a traditional clay coating tempering process. We
believe that differential hardening is key to making a shinken katana that will
be used for extensive tameshigiri (test cutting). Our expectation is that
a shinken should survive at least 10,000 tatami omote cuts (10 years of heavy
use) and only need minor sharpening after every 500 (six months of heavy use).
We have tried case hardened katana - they did not retain an edge well and we do
not recommend them.
Forged Differential Tempered Tsunami Katana Blade
Don't confuse forged with folded because they are not the same. The
folding process used for nihonto (traditionally made Japanese katana) is part of
the refinement process for the steel. It produces a subtle hada (grain) in
the surface of the blade. If you want a blade that has those
characteristics - you want a folded blade. Many production shinken are not
folded. They are made from a single monolithic piece of steel. We
have not found any correlation between folded vs. mono swords and cutting
ability, durability, or edge retention. The steel used and the tempering
process are much more important for the functionality of the sword. Folded
blades are much closer to traditional nihonto and that is worth the price for
many people. The downside of folded blades is the possibility of weld
failures between layers. Unless done correctly - the folded blade may be
much less durable that a mono-steel equivalent. Everyone seems to want to
know how many times the blade is folded. Some manufacturers make the
number of folds a big selling point. You get 1024 layers if you fold the
blade 10 times. You get 4096 layers if you fold the blade twice more.
You get a million layers if you fold it 20 times. It does not improve the
Forged Folded Differential Tempered Meijin Katana Blade
If we are taking a traditional look at nihonto (traditionally made Japanese
katana) - the answer is one. The big question should be - is two or three
poor mekugi pins better than one proper one. We suggest the replacement of
mekugi pins on most production shinken (including the ones we sell). Most
are made of bamboo that is too soft. We also recommend reshaping the
mekugi-ana (mekugi hole in the tsuka (handle) and nakago (tang)) to form a
proper wedge shape. We have a DIY article on replacing mekugi (click
here). If a sword is riveted, glued, or screwed together - it is not a
It is true we offer the same products as other on-line dealers. We
recommend you come to the dojo store that you can come touch and feel the sword
before you buy. Every sword is different and it is best that you choose
the one right for you. We know Japanese swords because we train and
compete in Toyama Ryu Battodo. We have years of first hand experience in
what makes a good and bad sword. We have disassembled just about every
production katana out there as part of the sharpening service we have offered
for the last 11 years. If a sword does not pass our inspection - it goes
back to the distributor. If your sword arrives from us with any problems -
we will replace it. We also offer sharpening and repair services to keep
your katana in top condition. We don't sell swords to make money. We
sell swords because we love swords.
- Discounted Prices (normally 15% to 30% off of retail)
- FREE Shipping on any Shinken or Iaito Katana
purchase (continental USA only, excludes Alaska and Hawaii)
- 90 Day Money Back Guarantee
- Lifetime 1/2 Price Sharpening and Repair on any
Shinken or Iaito Katana