Katana Terminology – The Soul Of The Samurai

Samurai were the only people allowed to carry two swords, a pair called the daisho, (the “long and short”) as a badge of their unique warrior status. These two weapons, the long katana and the shorter wakizashi, were worn together although rarely used as a pair of weapons in combat. Miyamoto Musashi, the sword-saint and […]

Facts and Myths About Japanese Swords

A legendary weapon indeed, samurai swords have been part of Japanese history and have been a great influence on the arts, entertainment and literature. Nowadays, when we think of samurai, we imagine invincible warriors wielding sharp swords, slicing through ninjas, catching and twirling these blades with their bare hands without so much as blinking. But […]

Historical Eras Of The Japanese Swords.

The development of the Japanese sword closely parallels events in Japanese history. The broad divisions of each are noted here. The specific historical eras are referred to as “nengo” and are named after the emperor of the period. The sword eras have separate notations: Koto refers to the “old sword period”; Shinto refers to the […]


The signatures on Japanese swords vary in style and complexity. The simplest is a two character mei which is just the smith’s name. If there are three characters, the third will usually be saku, which means “made this”. Longer mei are more difficult. In longer signatures (reading from the top down), there may be the […]