Jacob Osborn

A Guide to Buying a Real Katana (Samurai Sword) | Man of Many

According to legend, the earliest Japanese swords were called Chokuto, and they first appeared over 1700 years ago. Directly inspired by Chinese Jian swords, Chokuto swords originally featured a straight, double-edged iron blade. At first, Chinese swords and Japanese swords were essentially the same, but around 700AD, Japanese swords began to take on distinct features like a curved tang (i.e. the part of the blade that extends into the handle). Then a craftsman named Amakuni (supposedly) introduced a single-edged, slightly curved blade type, which was virtually unbreakable compared to what came before it…at least that’s what my ancestors say, and who am I (or you) to question them?

History of the Samurai Sword

Given the long history of Samurai swords, it’s no surprise that a number of variants or developments exist. Typically, real katana swords are distinguished by size, age, and curvature. Since I’m a busy ninja, however, I shall break down katana swords into the following four types:

What Are The Types of Samurai Swords?

Below is a list that defines the different parts of a Katana sword:

Parts of an Authentic Katana Sword

Authentic katana swords are forged from two types of Japanese steel: high-carbon and low-carbon. High-carbon steel is supremely hard, thereby allowing for a sharp edge. By contrast, low-carbon is strong and tough, enabling shock absorption. A sword made of one type of steel would be ineffective, which is why both types work together to create authentic battle-ready katana swords. To see how it all goes down, watch the YouTube video above, while I run off to assassinate a Yakuza underboss. Be right back.

How Samurai Swords Are Made

According to the purists, authentic katana swords should be handmade in Japan by a master craftsman, with a real hamon temper line to show for it. The sword should furthermore be razor-sharp, exceptionally balanced, and meticulously detailed. As if that wasn’t enough, the sword should be made of steel, but not stainless steel. It should also deliver a brilliant shine, and possess a Mekuki, aka the peg that holds the blade to the handle. Of course, none of this helps you much if you’re buying online from a stranger. That’s why it’s most important to buy from a verifiable source, and leave nothing to chance. Given how expensive authentic katana swords are, you might actually want to travel to Japan when buying one. I’ll see you there!

What to Look For When Buying a Real Samurai Sword

If only the most authentic katana sword will suffice, expect to pay anywhere between $4K-10K. For everyone else, consider the following variants:

How Much Does a Real Samurai Sword Cost?

Join our exclusive community