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Traditional Culture Experiences

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Traditional Culture Experiences

The stunning Japanese sword is renowned for its sharpness and its symbolism representing the "spirit of Samurai warriors". Today it is still highly praised as a work of art in iron.

There are many classifications of Japanese swords depending on size, shape, field of application, and method of manufacture. Some well known Japanese swords include katana, wakizashi, and tanto.

Blades longer than two feet (60cm) are called Katana. The katana is worn with the blade edge upward in the sash. It was the sword of the samurai class during the Edo period (1603 - 1867). Japanese katana are said to be among the finest cutting weapons in world military history, according to western historians.

Swords with blades between one and two feet in length are called wakizashi. There are more wakizashi swords that exist than any other Japanese sword type. They were worn not only by samurai, but by rich, high-ranking farmers and people of the merchant class as well.

Japanese swords are still commonly seen today, both modern and antique forged swords can be easily found and purchased. There are a few hundred swordsmiths that make modern, authentic nihontō. Many of these can be seen at an annual conventions and events.

The Japanese Sword Museum in Shibuya, Tokyo, exhibits swords and armor gathered from throughout Japan. Here, you have the chance to view Japanese swords of National Treasure class. On the contrary, they are not sold at the Japanese Sword Museum.

If you plan to purchase a Japanese sword, select one with a registration certificate. You must submit an application to the Agency for Cultural Affairs before taking it out of the country, so please confirm this when you make your purchase. A couple of specialty shops include Ginza Choshuya and Token Shibata in Ginza, Tokyo.

photo of Japanese Sword