The Katana is the ultimate Japanese sword, combining lethal cutting capabilities with level of adaptability, and blending a curved blade with a flat section (Kissaki). It is crafted from the highly advanced steel called Tamahagane. The sword is forged using the Tatara-buki method; a sword making technique that uses black iron sand extracted from beaches in Japan to achieve high quality steel by rapid reduction at low temperatures. This forging technique focuses on achieving three highly sought qualities: Not to break, not to bend and a razor sharp cutting edge.
Swords are one of the most versatile weapons that are on the planet, and that is why they have become a mainstay in martial arts as well as many other genres of entertainment. From Beatrix Kiddo slicing up Crazy 88 in Kill Bill Vol 1 to Samurai Shinzaemon dismembering a small town of invaders in 13 Assassins, or Deadpool turning a goon into shish kebab, the katana is one of the most iconic weapons in pop culture and ranks right up there with chainsaws, spiked baseball bats and crossbows in terms of “weapons I’d take with me in a zombie apocalypse that aren’t guns”.
Each Katana begins as raw tamahagane, a piece of forged steel. Shimojima painstakingly heats, softens and folds the steel to remove impurities and even out the carbon content before it is shaped – although the katana starts off straight. Then, it is tempered, which hardens the back and inner core of the sword while allowing the softer front edge to contract faster – thereby creating its distinctive curve. This process creates a temper line known as Hamon. The keywords I will use are