Swords and Katanas
Katana (in Japanese: 刀; the name of lord) is the type of Japanese sword which have been used since 15. century. Katana has curved blade like the sabre, with one edge (ha), the guard (tsuba) and the handle (tsuka) with oval profile. The length used to be from two to three shaku (shaku = 30,3 cm). Katana was carried by the Samurais, stick in the Obi belt with its edge upwards, traditionally together with the short sword Wakizashi or with personal Samurai dagger called Tanto. The couple of swords Katana and Wakizashi was called Daisho and it was the symbol of the Samurai class. The set of the two swords Daisho became the standard weaponry for the Samurais in the Muromachi period. The long Katana was used for fight in open space, while the short Wakizashi or Tanto were used for fight in confined spaces or for committing the ritual suicide Seppuku. Once, these swords could be carried also by the craftsmen or traders. The blade consists of the hard steel (with higher content of carbon) and soft steel (with lower content of carbon). Different combinations of hard and soft steel exist. The most often is composition Kobuse-Gitae (hard shell and soft core). The edge of Katana is quenched to Hamon, by what is the hardness of the edge increased but the firmness of the blade is preserved. The rest of the blade is unquenched and softer because of decreasing the possibility of breaking the blade.