The beauty of Japanese sword

Introduction
We are fascinated not only by the feature of the Japanese sword as a weapon but also by its aesthetic appearance. It is skilled swordsmiths that create its function and beauty by going through the painstakingly careful process. Since Japanese swords were all handcrafted, each one has a different shape, design, and Hamon.
*Hamon; wavy pattern you can find on the surface of the Japanese Sword.

Many people created legendary tales from several famous and excellent Japanese swords. These tales have been passed down to Japanese people from the ancient time to now.

The Japanese sword eventually became the symbol of Bushido, meaning the pride of samurai. What is more, some swords are even considered an object of worship.

Let’s take a look at famous Japanese swords and find out their charms.
We will also delve into a couple of legend stories based on real famous Japanese swords.
 
Production Process
The Japanese sword (Katana) has both superb sharpness and durability, which reflects the expression “It won’t t break nor bend but cuts well.”
The unique forging technique was developed to create these characteristics. In this method, two kinds of steels combined: one is called “SHIN TETSU,” which is soft and flexible. The other one is called “KAWA GANE,” which is hard to bend. Swordsmith sandwich SHINTETSU between KAWA GANE.
“KAWA GANE” is produced by folding special steel called TAMA HAGANE. It is repeatedly folded, struck and elongated over many times. When you fold once, TAMA HAGANE becomes two layers, and when you fold twice, it becomes four layers. Finally, by being wrapped fifteenth times, TAMA HAGANE has more than thirty thousand layers, which makes quite thin layers.
This process where soft “SHIN TETSU” is inserted into hard “KAWA GANE” makes Japanese swords “It won’t t break nor bend but cuts well.”
Through this highly time-consuming processes, Japanese swords can get superb functions and beautiful figures.
 
Curvature and Sharpness
Some people say that the Japanese sword (Katana) cuts so much better than swords in Europe and China.
Cutting tools have different blade angles depending on their purposes. For example, razors have a sharp angle (22 degrees) while axes have an angle of around 35 degrees. Sharp razors can cut well but are easy to be broken. On the other hand, sturdy axes can chop hardwoods but aren’t sharp enough to cut meats.
Narrow-angle blades are sharp but at the same time fragile, while wide-angle blades are durable but blunt. For cutting soft human fresh, fat or hard armors and bones, Japanese swords must have both sharpness and durability. The angle of the Japanese sword (Katana) is about 32 degrees with the high strength. However, that edge isn’t sharp enough to cut human flesh.Therefore, katana has its curvature to slash well.
Imagine that when you raise your arms to cut an object with your sword up and down, your arms stay extending. And then, by letting your sword more downward, your arms will be folded naturally, which is called “HIKI GIRI (Pulling cut).”By letting swords slide, you can cut at less angle than the actual one (32 degrees). The curves of Japanese swords make it easy to do “HIKI GIRI.”.Also, the curves are useful for spreading out vertical forces and make swords sturdy while a sword without its curve is easy to break when you hit something. Additionally, the subtle curvature of Japanese swords enhances the function of both cutting and stabbing.
The type and structure of Japanese sword
Japanese swords have two types, TACHI(太刀) and UCHI GATANA”(打ち刀). TACHI developed during Heian period, and Samurai wore it on their left hip facing its cutting-edge downwards. The length of the blade is about 70~80 cm and 90~100 cm with its handle. Some long TACHI (ODACHI) is bigger than Samurai. For example, “NAGANORI,” one of the ODACHI used by a famous swordsman, YAGYU HYOGONOSUKE, is 227.5 cm.
 
 Instead of TACHI, UCHI GATANA became a more common weapon in the middle of MUROMACHI period. Samurai holds the sword between his belt with keeping its cutting edge up. UCHI GATANA has the exact size of 71.2 cm and is easier for him to draw than Tachi. Therefore, Samurai could do a series of moves much smoother from drawing to cutting. For practical use, “KOSHIRAE(sword fitting)” is needed to equip “TSUKA (handle)” and “SAYA (sheath).” While Samurais usually maintenance their swords by themselves, sometimes they asked artisans called “Togishi” to keep the sharpness of their swords.