There are many weapons wielded throughout the uncountable scenes in anime, however, there is none more popular than the katana. A deadly weapon if yielded properly, the katana has a long and bloody history. Popular enough to even get a place among western movies, the history of the katana has passed through the hands of samurai and even up until the first world war. It’s no wonder that this effective and dangerous weapon has been wielded by so many anime characters.
History and Making of the Katana
Debated in origin, the katana originated between both China and Japan during the Muromachi period (1392-1573 AD). While the katana gained popularity during this period, it was not widely used until the appearance of the samurai during the Edo period. The katana was not always carried alone though and was also often accompanied by its shorter counterparts, the Wakizashi (medium length) or Tanto (short). After the Edo period, Japanese swords were still used, however, they were becoming more of a novelty item after their popularity spread around the world. Production methods were changed with the approach of the first World War as mass production became more important than craftsmanship and the katana was slowly phased out. As awareness of Japanese culture has been growing around the world, the making of the katana is slowly coming back and demand for them is back.
The art of making the katana is just as important as wielding the weapon. Craftsman take great pride in their work and put forth great effort in making a katana. The steel must be of the high quality and then must be hammered to get any excess carbon off. The blade must then be folded over many times on itself to create the strongest blade possible. This is often done several hundred to several thousand times before lengthening and sharpening the blade. While there are many more steps, this is just an introductory look into the amount of work put into making a katana blade.
Katana in Anime
Katana are often seen in anime. A famous anime where they are fought with is Samurai Champloo. We see both Mugen and Jin wield a katana as they fight their enemies and amongst themselves. Other popular anime that katana have appeared in include Inuyasha, Noragami, Bleach and Rurouni Kenshin. As a popular weapon, these are often cherished by their owners and given names. Such is the case in Inuyasha with the Tessaiga.
There are few weapons that are quite as beautiful as the katana. It is not only defined by its lethal abilities but also for its extraordinary craftsmanship. The katana has become popular on a world-wide level with its depiction in both Eastern and Western literature and film. We hope that you have enjoyed this article and have expanded on your knowledge of katana. As always, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below.