The Katana is an excellent example of Japanese sword craftsmanship. It is used for both slicing and cutting, and it features a curved blade and hilt. The hilt is usually made of wood or metal and is wrapped with a material called Ito, which provides a comfortable grip for the user. Modern ornaments are also often featured on the katana to give it character and identity. Several martial arts have been influenced by this sword, including iaido, kendo, and aikido.
During pre-World War II, swordsmiths were under pressure to produce Katana. As a result, many swords were produced with little experience and quality. The steel used to make a sword is called Tamahagane. The smith heats the tamahagane to a temperature that changes the structure of the metal. It is then quenched in water or oil, changing the steel from austenite into martensite. The sword is then hardened, which makes it durable and sharp.
After the sword is hardened, the smith adjusts the curve and cuts off any excess metal from the sides of the blade. Then, the smith grinds down the rough surface of the blade to create a smooth finish. Lastly, the smith uses straw ash to remove oil and fat from the blade, and the tang is sealed with a bamboo peg called a Mekugi.
After the sword is complete, a scabbard is made from leather or cotton. The scabbard is then attached to the hilt with a metal collar called a Seppa. Authentic Katana will also feature a metal plate or Fuchi on the tang or Nakago, which is used to strengthen the opening of the scabbard. Lastly, the tsuka is wrapped with a material called Ito, a cotton, rayon, or leather strap that prevents hands from slipping and provides a secure grip. The keywords I will use are