Medieval Japanese Swords - Weapons of Honor

Medieval Japanese swords are considered fine works of art and craftsmanship. In fact, the best surviving examples of these medieval swords are so costly, no average man could hope to own one.

Replicas, however, are readily available all over the globe, though the true workmanship and beauty of the Japanese swords is only partially revealed in such replicas.

Much like Europe, the Middle Ages saw warfare as a common practice on Japan's shores. The medieval Japanese sword was the weapon of choice for infantryman and the Japanese version of a knight - the legendary samurai.

There is good evidence that Japanese swords run through the entire history of this country, with medieval swords showing great advances over earlier models. The Japanese began working metals and making swords around 2000 BC. Around 700 AD, near to the start of the period where medieval Japanese swords would have been made, the Japanese are thought to have perfected the craft.

Unlike European swords, the medieval Japanese swords were made of finer iron. The length of time Japanese sword makers had been working the craft, too, showed in the quality of their finished pieces. To a samurai, a sword was more than a weapon, it was an extension of the man and the medieval sword had to be strong, flexible, fluid, beautiful and of course deadly. The medieval Japanese sword makers did not disappoint.

Early Japanese swords were straight swords. Around the 700s, a change took place where the medieval Japanese swords we're used to seeing today came into being. These curved Japanese swords could be drawn from a scabbard more quickly and they could provide a more effective cutting angle. In addition, the medieval Japanese swords were works of art, with their makers learning to create them as strong as the old, straight swords.

The medieval Japanese sword once perfected was a deadly weapon in the hands of a mounted foe with the long, curved blade providing the perfect cutting angle for a slash at someone on the ground. These medieval swords were long, generally around four feet.

A version for foot soldiers was also created and this medieval Japanese sword is perhaps the best known. The katana was generally about two to four feet in length and was less curved than the mounted version. They could be drawn from a scabbard into a position for an attack at almost any angle and their versatility earned them a reputation as a serious killer.

The Japanese sword and the craftsmanship behind it is still considered is major work of art even in the modern world. Katanas are the most common medieval Japanese sword type to be found in replication today. They are available in knife stores, at re-enactment sites and in a number of other locations. A simple Internet search will reveal a number of locations a person can buy a medieval Japanese sword replica.