The Japanese sword - katana stands as a symbol, dictator and masterpiece! Japan regards the shinsakuto - Katana (newly crafted genuine blade) as the underlying force for religion, morality, valor, love, wisdom, and compassion.
The elements of the Japanese sword - katana, the way in which it is used, and the craftsmanship behind its existence have, for centuries, influenced the ideals and values of humanity. As a master or student, in multiple disciplines, the shinken - katana of Japan is the dominant force for the spirit and body.
Through the ages, the people of Japan have maintained their traditional values and legends surrounding the sword - katana . Today, most of the world has engulfed cultures and traditions, often leaving behind their true essence. It is for the above reason, that Aoi Budogu Co. Ltd. strives, not only to provide Genuine Japanese Shinsakuto -Katana, yet to share with customers, the traditional values that surround them.
Each of Aoi's swords is hand crafted; in accordance with traditional requirements relating to balance, shape and style. Highly ranked, government registered Toshyo (sword smiths) ensure that our swords - katana meet Japan's standards; as well as include their own touch of experience and craftsmanship. Toshyo such as Masanao, from Seki, Japan; the best craftsman in the country; are part of the reason why Aoi Budogu is the ultimate source for genuine, folded and traditional Japanese Shinsakuto - katana.
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Presently, there are many "katana" of the world. However, most of these do not meet the traditional requirements of the genuine Japanese katana. There is a great number of imitation katana worldwide. These blades are of inferior quality and incorporate materials such as automotive leaf spring steel, train tracks and modern steel combinations. "Katana" of this nature are far from the standards required for the title of "genuine Japanese katana (shinken)" Highly ranked, government registered Toshyo (sword smiths) ensure that our swords - katana meet Japan's standards;
as well as include their own touch of experience and craftsmanship.
To fold, to make, to craft – only stemming from the spirit, through the hand of a traditional Japanese Toshyo, and with a specialized technique, can a genuine Japanese katana exist! Katana to the people of Japan are a symbol of power and spirit!
One of the rules that govern whether a katana is in fact a shinken is the “1024 rule.” A shinsakuto with more than 10 folds /1024 layers, is the standard number of layers required for shinken classification. Of course, there are other important factors that determine the quality of a genuine Japanese shinsakuto, such as the type of metal used and how it is folded. Other requirements include: no breakage, no bending, and a measure of sharpness!
The Japanese shinken is constructed using Japan’s own natural resources. The steel, known as “watetsu” incorporates a vital ingredient: “Tamahagane.” Tamahagane is the precious layer that forms at the bottom of the furnace. The approx. yield is 2.5t of tamahagane for every 10t of iron sand and 12t charcoal. It is this material, from whichthe qualities of an authentic Japanese shinken are derived! During folding and hammering, impurities are fired out, and, unlike other steel types, tamahagane bonds to itself during repeated folding.
Kotou: These katana, hale from a style in Japan, that was popular between 400 and 1000 years ago. Possibly, being the oldest known shinken style, Kotou merged the end and beginning of two era's in Japan. These were the Heian Era and the Tensyou Era respectively.
Shintou: Between 240 to 400 years ago; the Shintou style of katana prevailed. It is the identifying style of the Edo Era in Japan.
Shin-shintou: At present, this is the closest relative to the present day sword. The Shin-shintou style was popular during the Meiji Restoration.
Gendaitou: This is simply the term for present age Japanese katana !
Katana: In terms of length, Katana are over 60cm (+/-2 shaku)
in blade length.
Wakizashi: Blade lengths, between 30cm (+/-1 shaku) and
60cm (+/-2 shaku) are usually classified as Wakizashi
Tanto: When the length of a blade is less than 30cm (+/-1 shaku),
it is classified as a tanto!
When handling a Katana, one should consider the following few tips:
Regular mc is necessary for all Japanese katana! Before using a sword, make sure that components are not loose. Primary areas to check, before use, include the mekugi, tsuka and tsuba. If any of these parts rattle or move; avoid using the sword, until the affected area is secured.
Depending on the frequency of use, one should disassemble a sword every 1-3 months and oil the blade. One will require a sword maintenance kit, including nugui-gami or flannel cloth, sword oil, uchiko powder (preferably in a silk sack) and a mekugi-nuki (hammer for the bamboo peg.)
The mekugi-nuki has a pointed shaft. Use the point to push the bamboo peg out of the hole in the tsuka. Once the peg is removed, (some shinken are constructed with two pegs), gently slide the tsuka off the nakago and remove the other accessories.
Before oiling the blade, it is recommended to remove the old oil. Using the uchiko sack, lightly tap the blade along its length. Apply the powder sparingly! The powder will absorb the old oil. Use nugui-gami or flannel to remove the powder. Be sure to wipe the blade slowly and gently, being very cautious of sharp hassaki.
Once the blade is clear of uchiko powder, apply a new coating of oil. Use a clean sheet of flannel cloth to apply new oil. Again, being cautious of the sharp blade ! Be sure to oil the entire sword, including the nakago! Once oiling is complete, reassemble the sword, starting with the habaki.
The hamon is like a craftsman's signature! Based on the hamon, one can gain knowledge on the style and age of a sword, its quenching process, and possible symbolism relating to its user and Toshyo! Hamon are often said to resemble natural phenomena such as clouds, the ocean and flight paths of birds.
Through the ages, different eras in Japan have revealed countless hamon patterns. Despite general themes throughout each style, individual requirements and desires were also included.
The hamon of a japanese sword is one of the most beautiful and structural elements of a Japanese. katana. It is where soft (troostite) and hard (martensite) materials blend! This merging of hard and soft materials is crucial for the sword's durability. In the case of an abrupt join between the two, the likelihood of cracking is greater! When one looks closely at a hamon, Nie (hard) and Nioi (soft) grains may be seen. In addition, to durability, the abundance of the two types of grain in different areas of the hamon, will in turn effect the blade's resistance against friction.
In creating the blade's hamon, sword smiths apply a mud, known as Yakiba-tsuchi. The Yakiba-tsuchi is placed along the ji and shinogi. The way in which a craftsman applies this mud, will determine the final outcome of the hamon pattern. During quenching, the mud prevents the hot blade from vaporizing water, thus enabling contact between the cold water and the blade. Through capillary action, the cold water is cycled across the metal, thus enabling the Nioi crystals to form. As a result, Nie crystals form in all areas, not covered with mud.
Two basic categories of hamon are, sugu-ha and midare-ba. Suguha resembles a straight flowing line, whereas, midare-ba, includes bumps, or dabls. Of course there are numerous variations and combinations of these two common hamon patterns. Depending on the era an area in Japan, sugu-ha and midare-ba are sometimes mixed. Variations such as Yakiotoshi, Osaka Yakidashi, Koshi-b and Kyou Yakidashi are such patterns. Yakitoshi in particular, not only is impressive as a pattern, yet is also a crucial for resistance to bending, near the hamachi.
Each of Aoi's japanese swords is hand crafted; in accordance with traditional requirements relating to balance, shape and style. Highly ranked, government registered Toshyo (sword smiths) ensure that our japanese swords - katana meet Japan's standards; as well as include their own touch of experience and craftsmanship. Toshyo such as Masanao, from Seki, Japan; the best craftsman in the country; are part of the reason why Aoi Budogu is the ultimate source for genuine, folded and traditional Japanese Shinsakuto - katana.
Aoi Budogu is located in the City of Vancouver Canada as the worldwide distributor to address the needs of all the Kendo, Iaido and Aikido everywhere.
Address : #28-8980 Fraserwood Court, Burnaby, B.C., Canada, V5J 5H7
Store Hours(PST): Mon - Fri: 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. / Sat: 11 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. / Sun & Public Holiday: Closed.
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