The japanese katana sword is considered by many to be the most beautiful, effective hand held weapon in history. Its strength enables it to split a body in two just by removing the sheath and its accuracy means that it can cut a single human hair. This combination of beauty and effectiveness is why the katana is so revered around the world.

The katana originated in the Heian period (794 to 1185 AD) when cultural flourishing and political transition was occurring in Japan. The katana evolved from its predecessor the tachi which was used by Samurai, military nobility. With the change of warfare to mounted combat and close quarters battles it was determined that a shorter, more curved sword would be more effective.

To create the blade a large block of iron is heated and then section by section it is hammered to form the shape of the finished sword. This process takes a great deal of skill as the smith has to control the movement of the blade, ensuring that it curves in the correct direction, with the thick back (mune) and thinner edge (ha). He also has to keep the thickness even throughout the entire length of the sword and not allow any blemishes to appear.

The katana is typically fitted with a wooden handle called tsuka and a sheath called saya. It is traditional to wrap the tsuka in ray skin and tie it with silk or cotton cord for a secure grip and a beautiful appearance. The saya can be made as simple or ornate as the owner wishes. Keeping up with proper maintenance of the katana was an important ritual for the samurai, a practice that was seen as reflecting their broader ethos of discipline and respect. Manga katana sword