This beautiful katana in the style of the weapon favored by the blind master Zatoichi — the main character in a long series of popular Japanese films — actually is not shirasaya. The sword cane of Japan was called shikomizue. Shirasaya referred to a plain wooden scabbard meant for storing a good blade.
Hand forged and fully tempered by Hanzo Steel, this completely functional version of Zatoichi’s favorite katana features a carbon steel blade 0.29 inches thick and edge-hardened to Rockwell 52. Full tang construction gives the sword extra strength. Without a tsuba, its uses are more limited than combat katana, unless like Zatoichi your methods are based on speed and surprise. This type of sword was also favored by ninja warriors and often hidden in ordinary walking sticks of bamboo.
With its strikingly colorful red lacquer and black trim, this sword cane isn’t easily concealed. Carry it around town and even amateurs should spot it as something special. The 39-inch katana sports a cutting blade 28-1/2 inches long with a 10-1/2 inch lacquered wood grip meant for two-handed power. This sword cane outdoes most western types of sword canes, which usually are no more than slender spikes. This shikomizue’s blade handles like a real sword rather than a fencing foil, with functional strengths not found in the usual movie replica sword.
The Handmade Zatoichi Full Tang Katana comes with a natural wood display case and a black cotton bag. The edge has been factory sharpened, but for even light cutting practice, the sword should first be honed to a razor edge.
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