What is a katana?
The katana is the original and most widely known Japanese sword. It was first created and worn by the Samurai – and also used and re-purposed by the Ninja – or Shinobi (who weren’t in fact wearing a black outfit and covered their face at all).
The katana was considered as the Samurai’s Soul. It was the center of his universe – as only the Samurai were allowed to wear it in ancient Japan.
Wearing a sword in pre-modern Japan was a symbol of royalty – and the Samurai usually wore two swords, with one katana and another one (or perhaps, a wakizashi or tanto) in their belt.
The katana is one of the many different kinds of Japanese swords, which come in many different shapes – both in blade and in handle lengths. However, the katana is by far the most widely used and popular. The katana has not only been popularized in feudal Japan, but has gone through to become one of the best known swords in modern times – appearing in many movies and being widely used worldwide. We could in fact even say it’s the first type of sword to come to mind when anyone thinks of the word “sword”.
Are katanas heavy?
Different builds have different weights. Most of the katanas built at Swords for Sale are around two pounds – 800 grams to 1kg.
Our swords are not that heavy, and should be manageable for most healthy adults to use. However, different swords have different weights. For some, handling a tachi or a naginata might be much harder than a tanto or a wakizashi.
How long is a katana?
The katana is usually 41” (104.1cm) in total length. Its curved blade is 27.7” (70.4cm) and its handle is 10.5” (26.7cm).
However, the length can vary slightly with different kinds of blade tips, handles, and forging processes. Moreover, each smith can create his own length and set his own standards – this is why all knives and swords are different. We have our own set of lengths, which we share here.
Let’s also have a look at all the other types of Japanese swords:
- The tanto knife has a short curved blade (11.8” – 30cm) and handle (7.7” – 19.6cm). It has a total length of around 20” – 50.6cm.
- The wakizashi sword has a medium curved blade (19.7” – 50cm) and handle (8.1” – 20.6cm). It has a total length of around 30.7” – 78cm.
- The ninjato sword has a long straight blade (27.7” – 70.4cm) and handle (10.5” – 26.7cm). It has a total length of around 41” – 103.9cm.
- The naginata sword/spear has a long curved blade the same size as a katana’s (27.7” – 70.4cm) and a very long handle (15.7″ – 39.9cm). It has a total length of around 45.3” – 114,3cm.
- The tachi sword has a very long curved blade (29.5” – 73.7cm) and long handle (12.6″ – 30.5cm). It has a total length of around 48.6” – 122cm.
- The odachi/nodachi sword has a very long curved blade (35.4” – 90cm) and a long handle (15.7″ – 39.9cm). It has a total length of around 53.5” – 136cm.
- Perhaps many more kinds than we can even think of. Especially for the Shinobi (ninja) who were masters of disguise and unusual weaponry.