The Engineering of Katanas

Katanas are very sacred to the Japanese that there are rules to follow.


By: Kian Abris, Journalist


Katanas are a traditional Japanese weapon used by samurais. Katanas are one of the most famous weapons in the world. For example It was also featured in a lot of Hollywood m0vies, TV shows, Anime, etc. They were also a curved, single edge blade. They were also the last resort weapon to the samurai. For example, they mostly use bows and arrows and spears. Now, I’m going to explain what items are used to build katanas.

“katana” by grrlie is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Items to build katanas

The main object to build a katana is steel, but it was a special kind of steal. The metal was called Tamahagane Steel. The steel was one of the most important items to build a katana was because it was used for the blade. Also the metal has good protection from rust. The  second item they used to build katanas is Mekugi. They are used to hold the whole katana, you can see the Mekugi by looking at the side. The Mekugi is made out of bamboo because if they used a metal pin instead of bamboo, your katana might break. Another item to build the katana is Saya, it’s a sheath for the blade, so you can hold the sword. Also the Saya is used to prevent moisture or dirt to get in your blade which can prevent rust. Another important part of the katana is the Tsuka, or known as the handle. Finally, the last important part of the katana is the Tsuba. The Tsuba is commonly known as the hand guard. The main purpose of the hand guard is protect your hand, but another important purpose of this to balance the whole sword.

“Katana” by Joan Valls is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Rules to follow when having a katana

Katanas are very sacred to the Japanese that there are rules to follow. For example, one of the rules is to not walk over your katana. When training in Iaido, it’s  very important not to walk over your katana because they say it resembles you walking over a friend’s head when they sleep. Another important rule is to face the handle on the left side when displaying your katana. If you display the handle on the right, this means you do not trust anyone in the room because it’s in a position to grab the sword easily. Another very important rule is to display your katana’s blade up right so that the blade can cuts through the saya. Another rule when having a katana is to hold the katana with your right hand on top. The reason why this is very important rule is because samurais were trained to hold the handle with their right hand and never their left hand.  My last example of an important rule when having a katana is to display the sword on their left hip when bringing it with you. The reason why it’s important is because when walking with another samurai, you don’t hit your sayas together. If you hit your sayas together, that means you want to duel to the death.

How to take care of your katana

When having a katana you need to take care of it so it doesn’t fall apart. One way to take care of your katana is to clean the blade after every used. This is important because it won’t rust easily, also a way to clean the blade is to add oil. A second way of taking care of your katana is to put the blade upright so it doesn’t ruin the saya or know as the sheath. My last way on how to take care of your katana is to not touch the blade with your hands. This is very important so you don’t rust the blade or cut yourself

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