I'm Chantal, I live in Italy and I speak English, French and Japanese basic level.
I'm madly in love with Japan and everything about it. I try to express my love for Japanese culture in this blog.
"A shower gives his teachings. If the rain surprises half way, and walk faster to find a shelter, in passing under the eaves or in the bare spots will get wet anyway. But if you admit from the outset the possibility of getting wet, you shall not worth while spraying the same."
Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Il codice segreto dei samurai, 2010
"They say Japan was made by a sword. They say the old gods dipped a coral blade into the ocean, and when they pulled it out four perfect drops fell back into the sea, and those drops became the islands of Japan. I say, Japan was made by a handful of brave men. Warriors, willing to give their lives for what seems to have become a forgotten word: honor."
The katana (刀) is one of the traditional Japanese swords (日本刀, nihonto) worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan, also commonly referred to as a “samurai sword”.
The katana is characterized by its distinctive appearance: a curved, slender, single edged blade, circular or squared guard, and long grip to accommodate two hands. It has historically been associated with the samurai of feudal Japan, and has become renowned for its sharpness and cutting ability.
The katana evolved as a more sleek and compact alternative to the tachi. Its origins go at least as far back as the Kamakura Period, with several blades dated from that time residing in various national repositories.
Its growth in popularity is believed to have been due to the changing nature of close-combat warfare. The quicker draw of the sword was well suited to combat where victory depended heavily on fast response times. The katana further facilitated this by being worn thrust through a belt-like sash (obi) with the bladed edge facing upwards. Ideally, samurai could draw the sword and strike down the enemy in a single motion. Previously, the curved tachi had been worn with the edge of the blade facing down and suspended from a belt.
The katana was often paired with a similar smaller companion sword, such as a wakizashi or it could also be worn with the tantō, an even smaller similarly shaped sword. The pairing of a katana with a smaller sword is called the daishō. The daisho could only be worn by samurai and it represented the social power and personal honor of the samurai.