The History of Katana Swords

by David Free




The katana sword is one of the most deadly and iconic weapons in Asian and Japanese history. It is a weapon used by only skilled warriors to either defend or conquer nations. 
According to most history books, the first production of the katana sword was as early as the 10th century. This was around when the Japanese split from the Chinese to create a unique dynasty. At this time, the sword was not called katana; it was called ōdachi. These types of weapons were strong, long, and single-edged.

The Mongols Influence 

In the 1300s, the Japanese empire came under constant attacks from the Mongolians, making an improved weapon imperative. At this time, most skilled Japanese swordsmiths were tasked with designing and manufacturing a blade capable of cutting through the thick leather armor of the Mongolian army. This weapon was to be made from the finest and purest of materials to be wielded by the most skilled swordsmen in Japan, known as the samurai.

The weapon, later perfected in the 1400s, was named the katana. The perfection of the single-edged sword resulted from the Japanese scientific breakthrough in steel processing and heat treatment of iron. Before and after the katana perfection, there have been other versions of the sword. Some of the most popular katana sword versions over the years will be listed below:


This is a shorter version of the katana sword. It is believed to have served as a dagger and was always within the samurai's reach at all times. The blade is between 40-46 cm, curved, and single edge. Suitable for close combat, it's the best weapon for self-defense against a skilled opponent.


In Japanese, Daisho refers to long and short. Since samurais were not allowed to carry their longswords when they were indoors, they carried a shorter replica of their swords. These enabled them to be prepared to fight at all times.


The Tachi is a sword invented before the katana. It is credited with being the first curved-blade sword in Japanese history. They played a massive part in the Mongolian war and inspired the invention of the katana sword.

Process of Manufacturing the Katana Sword in Ancient Times

The katana sword was traditionally made from 100% tamahagane steel. In the first stage, the steel is heated in a furnace and forged into a workable steel block. Once the steel block has been forged, hard steel is placed on the outside with soft steel on the inside. This ensures the sword is solid and flexible, creating a rigid yet highly mobile blade. After that, the sword is finished with an immaculate mirror polish. The handle of the katana is mainly made from wood, designed to the specification of the warrior.

Bottom Line

As you probably already know, the katana is a symbol of samurai tradition. Today, the Katana swords are not being used for battles but are used to portray the rich traditional history of the Japanese people. They are also used as a symbol of strength, dedication, and perfection. If you love them, you can start building a collection.