This enabled him to push the fire in the direction of his enemies and allow him to escape his ordeal, after which he rechristened his magical sword the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi. The pupil smirked arrogantly towards his master. This story ties to Hosokawa Yūsai, the daimyō mentioned in the last chapter who gave the Konotegashiwa-Kanenaga its name. With its long history of feudal warfare and samurai warriors, the sword, usually referred to as the katana in Japanese, was long more than just a weapon, but rather a sacred, revered object and a way of life. According to an old story, one-day, Amakuni and his son, Amakura were sitting outside their smith-shop. Since then, the Ōtenta-Mitsuyo has been closely guarded by the Maeda family. This sword, also known as the "Sword of Mercy" is one of the five British Ceremonial and Coronation swords. Why do I believe that a katana is a central element in Japanese history? Eventually, they finished their work. It was often said that rather than cutting, killing, and maiming indiscriminately, a Masamune katana would only cut what the owner wished it to. Tokugawa’s grandfather was accidentally killed by one of his vassals with a Muramasa katana. Gradually they moved away from the Chinese cultural influence. This list cannot start without mentioning him first! Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu himself favored Muramasa’s work. If one were to strike out at something and decide they didn’t want to do it any harm, a Masamune sword was said to fail to cut it, despite its legendary sharpness. The cursed Muramasa swords were also said to have a thirst for blood, and that if they weren’t sated by that spilled by the enemy then they would turn on their owners, forcing them to commit suicide to appease them. The swords would also allegedly not cut into anything that was undeserving of it, and would not kill the innocent. The sword has not been seen since. Amakuni prayed to the gods for the knowledge to forge the flawless sword. Muramasa’s katanas became the symbol of the anti-Tokugawa movement. According to legend, Amakuni and his son Amakura, who were responsible for making swords for the Army, asked the Shinto gods for help after the Emperor was upset that his warriors kept returning from war with broken swords. Year Created:  c.10th – 11th centuries Swordsmith:  Hōki-no-Kuni Yasutsuna Sword Type:  Tachi Present Location:  Tokyo National Museum. However, weapon enthusiasts, collectors and those with an interest in this ancient Japanese culture remain fascinated with this cultural symbol and smiths exist all over the world. The chip doesn’t fall far from the tree I guess, because Sadamune was the son either by blood or adoption of Masamune. For its part, the Japanese government has never confirmed or denied any of these various stories, nor even whether the mysterious sword actually exists or not. They had shorter swords and knives, as well, similar in design with the long katana. Sure of his win, the young man asked They agreed to a competition of sorts, in which each of them would place their swords into a fast moving stream to see which one cut the best. Copyright 2020 | Terms | Privacy | Contact | Facebook, Spread the loveNot long after coming America, often in the pursuit of religious and political freedom, the first European colonists…, Spread the loveWith so many highly rated prestige shows on television these days, soap operas seem like a relic from…, Spread the loveLibraries around the world have long been revered as temples of human knowledge. If there is one civilization that has perfected the art of sword-making, then that would most certainly be the Japanese. Later, I will provide some additional information and a comprehensive listing of modern sword-smiths which still work out of Japan and commission contracts with collectors, in case you decide to purchase a real samurai sword. Amakuni Yasutsuna was the first Japanese swordsmith. At their most bloodthirsty and rage-fueled the swords were said to hardly discriminate between friend and foe, and used their owners merely as instruments with which to help them kill. We usually associate only the katana with the image of a Samurai, but that is only because of historically inaccurate pop-culture and movies. He has reached almost legendary status. They became known as the yōtō, the “cursed swords”. According to some accounts, such as one from a collection of historical stories called the The Tale of the Heike, the sword was lost at sea when the Emperor committed suicide by jumping into the sea while holding it after a defeat in a naval battle in 1185, during the Battle of Dan-no-ura. The Katana Sword was invented around the 11th century and was central to a Samurai’s kit. The Tokugawa Shogunate held onto the legendary Honjo Masamune for generations, passing it down to each new shogun until the shogunate fell, when it was transferred into the private collections of the ousted Tokugawa family. Pay attention and notice what they spend time and energy on.”. They lived under a strict code to obey those principles. Arma Blade is my website where I share knowledge and help others with advice, reviews, and fun. The Shinto priests of the shrine refuse to display it, and even most of them have never laid eyes on the actual sword itself, only its box. is! The water was screaming as it was split along its sides. What is the Most Important Survival Tool? What is rare is also precious. One sword with origins more decidedly cloaked in pure legend is the one known as the Kusanagi, also known as the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, or “The Grass Cutting Sword,” or its even more impressive original name of Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi, meaning “Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven.” According to the lore, a god of storms by the name of Susanoo engaged in combat an evil, eight-headed serpent called the Yamata-no-Orochi, which he eventually defeated and then began cutting off each of its heads and tails. was an onna-bugeisha (女武芸者, female martial artist) who served Minamoto no Yoshinaka during the Genpei War (1180-1185). Long a staple of fantasy stories, the idea of magical or cursed swords is actually a pervasive one among the history and myths of many cultures throughout the world. And the water, the air, the wind stood silent in its presence. Thinking that he was doomed to a fiery death and frantically cutting at the burning grass to staunch the incoming spread of the fire, Yamato was surprised to discover that his sword, the Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi, had the power to control the wind to aim  powerful gusts in any direction he lashed out at. Of all of the swords that Masamune forged, by far the most famous is the one called Honjo Masamune, which was owned by a well respected general of the Uesugi clan named Honjo Shigenaga (1540-1614 AD). According to historians, the craftsmanship of the  Dōjigiri is so impeccable that it inspired legendary swordsmith Masamune. This sword was created by Japan's greatest legendary swordsmith, Masamune. For someone who has contributed and enriched Japanese culture so much, we know very little about him, mostly folk tales and legends. It is one of the five legendary Tenka-Goken swords. Scroll to down to see more on that topic. All of Sadamune’s blades are of exceptional quality, true works of art. Masamune Goro (1264 – 1343) is recognized as the greatest Japanese swordsmith who ever lived. This particular story is all mere legend, but it displays the difference between the two swordsmiths and the juxtaposition of the powers commonly associated with their creations at the time. They lived and died by them! I want to go through the most renown Japanese blade-smiths, both in ancient history and in modern times. At least most samurai did. This is evident in the unique geometric shape of the later Japanese blades models. Muramasa’s katana cut everything that came into contact with it, including twigs, branches, leaves, and fish, indiscriminately cleaving everything with perfect precision. Your email address will not be published. If this presumption stands true, So if you are in a hurry for a modern sword, check out my article about the pros and cons of modern katanas – where I present a beginner’s guide! Many of them were subsequently melted down or otherwise destroyed, but since they were so revered for their sheer quality others were hidden or had any distinguishing features altered or removed, even in the face of severe punishment for owning one, typically the forcing of the guilty party to commit ritual suicide, or seppuku. His crafts are regarded as some of the best Japanese swords and blades ever forged. Today, the Dōjigiri is displayed at the Tokyo National Museum. Your email address will not be published. It was the symbol of an entire way of life that sadly now no longer exists. Mysterious Universe is a property of 8th Kind Pty Ltd, Spooky Happenings When a Music Video is Shot in Britain’s Most Haunted House, UFOs, Human Souls and Alien Abductions – and a New Book, Totally Bizarre Accounts of Secret Alien Hybrid Programs, 2-Million-Year-Old Skull Belonged To Distant Human Cousin, The First Robotic Farm Could Mean the End of Farmers, Famous Actors, Musicians, and Writers Who Strangely Vanished Without a Trace, Ghosts and High Strangeness at Arizona’s Haunted Domes, Toads in Rocks and Other Bizarre Entombed Animals. Still working on that part, but even the internet has limited data, no matter how much you search and ask around! They developed their own style. Many of such rumors began with the abrasive, venomous personality of Muramasa himself. Indeed, it was often said that as soon as a Muramasa blade was drawn it ruthlessly demanded blood before it could be replaced back into its scabbard, meaning almost certain doom for the wielder if there was no one else around to vent the sword’s bloodlust upon. While it is currently incomplete – I plan on adding more stories and personalities here! This Japanese swordsmith captured our attention and remained in history not only because of his work. Each samurai had his own set of swords and weapons. It is said to be the best Japanese sword ever made and was passed from one shogun to another through the centuries. It is a form of art that remains vibrant and alive to this day. That is precisely why I wanted to make a top 10 Japanese swordsmiths list. In this version of events, the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi would later wash up on a beach at Ise, where it was taken into possession by priests there and then passed into the unknown. Both Muramasa and his school of sword making were renowned for the extraordinary quality and sharpness of their blades, which made the weapons highly prized and sought after by warriors and generals. But first, here are some legendary names that you might have heard of. Whereas Muramasa was seen as an impulsive, violent, and psychotic madman, Masamune was mostly described as patient, wise, clear-headed, and even-tempered. photo source: Japanese Sword Legends The Onimaru Kunitsuna of the “Demon Sword” is one of the Tenka-Goken or Japan’s legendary “Five Swords Under Heaven.” As the name implies, this particular samurai sword was used, according to legend, to kill a demon or an oni. Initially, his blades were held in very high regard at the highest political and social levels. Even when not drawn the swords were said to sometimes hungrily call out to be released, or to try and compel their owners to go out hunting for some poor soul to murder. In it, the two swordsmiths are together one day, impossible considering that they lived centuries apart but it is just a tale, and they began to debate who could make the finer katana. Although the Honjo Masamune is of great importance to Japan, the sword has been missing since the end of World War II. Scroll to down to see more on that topic. All the other blacksmiths laugh and ridicule their insane creation. Creating a katana is an art-form and there have been many great Japanese artists throughout the ages. Adding to this was Muramasa’s alleged habit of feverishly praying to whoever would listen that his swords become “great destroyers,” and his swords gained a rather ominous reputation despite their popularity and high demand.


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