Makers of this full-sized practical katana aren’t afraid to boast of its cutting ability. While those claims should be true enough, the katana should still be considered entry level. It’s a good blade with less durable fittings.
Inspired by the story of Daimyo Takeda Shingen, a legendary Japanese warlord from the 1500’s, this 40-inch-long katana’s blade of tempered high carbon steel — not the usual stainless steel of souvenir swords — is designed for the targets commonly used in tameshigiri practice. Green bamboo and rolled tatami mats are among the traditional items used to test blade and swordsman. Actually cutting through the targets depends on skill with the blade as well as the strength and sharpness of the steel.
The katana’s fittings of solid copper aren’t as rugged as other choices like brass or iron, but if the sword is swung properly, they should hold up well. Since the sword can be disassembled, upgrades are possible. Copper menuki — ornaments on the sword’s handle — represent dragons, while the inscription on the copper tsuba or bladeguard translates as Fu Rin Ka Zan — the phrase from Sun Tzu’s Art of War which Takeda Shingen displayed on his battle flag. The hardwood grip’s covering is genuine rayskin with a woven ito of cotton cord.
Temper quality is said to be high enough to slice through steel wire without chipping the edge. Traditional targets don’t present so much risk to the blade. If you care about the blade, try tatami mats instead.
See the Hanwei Practical Pro Functional Katana for a tameshigiri sword of higher quality.
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