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Samurai Swords

By Jessica

Samurai Sword History
The samurai sword, made from the heat and pounding of the skilled artisans, these weapons of single destruction bring homage and honor to the warrior that carries them.  The samurai sword is priceless as it is one and the same with the warrior class that has defined the ultimate Zen Master of Fuedal Japan

The samurai sword: symbol of the spirit of old Japan it embodies the samurai’s steel discipline, unswerving devotion, and peerless skill. A feat of craftsmanship by hereditary artisans, the samurai sword is often judged superior to the famed blades of Western Damascus and Toledo. This complete handbook reveals the lore of the samurai sword, fascinating both for owners and for the intrigued. Detailing the origins and development of the samurai sword, its historical background, styles, famous schools, and differences in construction, it outlines methods of identifying and researching the sword, as well as caring for it properly.

Yasuki hagane(preimium steel group in Japan) are used for most cutlerys respectfully in Japan. It is called YSS(Yasuki Speciality Steel) too. Although tama-hagane(jewel steel for samurai sword), Sweden steel, Phenix steel born in British, etc are used also, but these are special case. Japanese blacksmiths all over Japan make the cutlery with forging Yasuki steel unexceptionally. Yasuki steel is produced at the Yasugi works of Hitachi Metals, Ltd. Hitachi Metals is also called "Hiatchi steel".The predecessor of Hitachi Metals, Ltd. is Unpaku steel company founded on the background in Yasugi in 1891. A subsidiary of yasugi works has the technology of the wakou(Japan steel) production which obtains raw steel of swords,etc from the premium iron sand of the Izumo. Yasugi works was absorbed by Hitachi and the company name was changed as Hitachi Metals, Ltd. in 1967. So it is said that yasugi works is the oldest works in Hiatchi group.
The land of Izumo of Shimane province with the Yasugi works was famous as a place of production of ancient tamahagane from ancient times. This reason was explained by legend of japanese steel god which is called gKanayagoh from ancient times. Tamahagane is made from iron sand with the high purity called "Masa" which can be taken at a mountain or a river abundantly. And also the way of taking sand is called "canna nagashi" using the flow of a river, and iron specific gravity -- it is simple, but it was able to extract in large quantities by the skillful method.

Furthermore, the rich forest resources of a mountains turned into a source of supply to which charcoal required for iron manufacture is not exhausted. tamahagane of Izumo produced by the "tatara steelmaking process" which became famous for the movie "Princess Mononoke" was very good, and was shipped all over Japan as raw materials for edged tools including Japanese swords. And the market shear of steels was more than 80% till Edo period. When the modernistic steelmaking method which obtains iron from an iron ore stone was introduced using the huge blast furnace, the "tatara furnaces" which existed in Japanese every place declined quickly. However, only tamahagane of Izumo survived till the early stages of 1900s. Hitachi Metals, Ltd. which absorbed Unpaku steel company inherited the process of wako which used "Masa" sand as materials taking advantage of such a geographical advantage, and it has resulted by the end of today. The wakou museum in yasugi can be asked about the history of such iron manufacture, and it is said that Hayao Miyazaki also got the inspiration of the people of tatara steel making of "Princess Mononoke" from these exhibition things.
 

 

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