Japanese KatanaThis Japanese Katana is one of a set of three Japanese swords that I have. A Japanese samurai would wear a pair of swords on his belt - a long katana and a shorter wakizashi. He would often have a third, short dagger with him as well, a tanto.
Here is how it compares with the other swords in size. The katana is on the top..
Note that Japanese swords have a fitting right where the blade meets the hilt, called a "habaki". This is a raised part that fits VERY securely into the scabbard, holding the sword in place. If you watch Japanese samurai movies you'll see that before a fight a samurai would often slightly pull on his sword, to break that seal with the habaki. That way the sword is now fully free of the scabbard (it is no longer being gripped by it) and can be drawn with lightning fast speed. The ideal Japanese samurai fight was not to fight for hours blade on blade - it was to do one quick, perfect draw and kill the enemy.
If you're interested in things Japanese, I ran a Japanese newsletter for over 10 years. I have many articles on Japanese Culture.
Parts of a Sword
Medieval Swords and Swordfighting
Medieval Bows and Arrows
Medieval Keeps and Castles
Life in Medieval Days
Academy of Knightly Arts - Live Sword Training School in New England
Lisa's Medieval Romances
Seeking the Truth
A Sense of Duty
Online Literary Magazines
Lisa Shea Website Main Page