Oriental Swords represent wealth, strength, courage and good fortune. This may be why swords of the Orient have been a favorite of collectors for many years. Many people love to display Samurai Swords, Katanas, Ninja Swords, and Japanese Swords in their homes and offices. Oriental Swords are excellent for those pursuing Feng Shui, or just want to create an elegant and mythical ambience in their home or office.
Unless you are an avid collector of Oriental swords, all the different types may remain a bit confusing. Let’s take a look at the different types of Oriental swords so you can make your best decision on what to purchase for yourself or as a treasured gift for a loved one.
The Samurai Sword is the oldest recorded sword in Japan dating back as far as 795 A.D. It’s considered priceless as it is one and the same with the warrior class that has defined the ultimate Masters of Feudal Japan.
The Samurai Sword Era styles are classified as:
- Jokoto (“ancient swords”) – Jokota Samurai Swords date back to 795 A.D.
- Kkoto (“old swords”) – Kkoto Samurai Swords date back to 795 through 1596.
- Shinto (“new swords”) – Shinto Samurai Swords date back to 1596 through 1624
- Shinshinto (“new new swords”) Shinshinto Samurai Swords date back to 1624 through 1876
- Gendaito (“contemporary swords”) Gendaito Samurai Swords date back to 1876 through 1953
- Shinshakuto (“modern swords”) Shinshakuto Samurai Swords Date from 1953 through the present.
The three main types of Samurai Swords are:
- Katana Sword - This is the longest of the samurai swords, generally over 24 inches and used for outdoor combat. This is considered to be the most beautiful of all swords. It has a slender, single edged blade, with an upward curve. The guard is typically squared and it has a long grip handle for two handed use. The are renouned for the razor sharp edge.
- Wakizashi Sword - This is a shorter version of the Katana, and as a secondary knife for additional use options, such as close quarter combat, or inside combat. It is used for stabbing instead of slashing.
- Tanto Short Sword or Tanto Knife - This is the smallest version of the Katana and is an extremely short sword or even a knife that was used in place of the Wakizashi.
Most samurai carried a Katana and either a Wakizashi or Tanto. This is so they would be prepared for indoor or outdoor combat, or double hand combat. The most authentic style Samurai Swords are made of an ingenious combination of hard carbon steel and low carbon steel. This is to optimize the benefits of strength, flexibility and edge retention.
Another popular Japanese Sword is the Ninja Sword. This is the Japanese Sword that is carried by Ninja warriors and their proper names are Ninjato, Ninjaken or Shinobigatana. Although the Ninja Sword is the most common reference to these masterful swords. Ninja Swords are very similar to Katana Swords, although they are shorter in length and typically have a bit less of a curve, or no curve at all. It is known for having the same razor sharp edge.
Whichever Oriental Sword you ultimately choose for your own enjoyment or for a gift, you are assured of a lasting treasure impregnated with history and honor. Whether you display them on the wall, or keep them safe in their scabbard, packed away, your sword will become a great conversation piece and family heirloom.
A word of caution. Be careful when buying an oriental sword for sale as not all swords are “practical” for use and are meant for display purposes only. It’s safe to say that any sword priced under $75 is not meant for use. If you’re looking for a sword you can actually use, make sure it has a carbon steel blade.
If you’re looking for the real deal without the thousand dollar price tag, check out:
If you’re looking for display only swords, my first stop would be United Cutlery.