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The samurai were members of the Japanese warrior class. They came into existence in the 12th century during the between wars between the Taira and the Minamato. The samurai were the soldiers of the local Japanese rulers (called daimyo). Those samurai followed the bushido an ethical code of conduct meaning "way of the warrior". Following the bushido meant total loyalty to your lord. Samurai without a lord were called Ronin and they were without bushido and hired themselves out as mercenaries.
Samurai used many weapons throughout their history, but they've been immortalized in connection with their two swords. In fact, one of the primary privileges of the samurai was their right to wear two swords during times when other were not allowed to carry any weapons at all.
The swordThe Samurai wore two swords; one long sword, called a daito or katana and one short sword called a shoto or wakizashi. The diato was over 24 inches. The shoto was between 12 and 24 inches. A tanto is a sword under 12 inches and was more commonly used by non-samurai for personal protection.
Samurai swords were originally straight, they way modern ninja swords are. Quickly the samurai moved to curved swords for their greater strength. The samurai needed the ability to cut through a human torso - sometimes a human torso covered in armor.
Sword smiths needed to forge a blade that was sharp, wouldn't break, wouldn't bend and was not too heavy. Repeatedly heating and folding the steel as many as twenty times yielded the best swords.
Japanese sword smiths still make swords in the traditional hand made manner and those swords are called shinsakuto. You can purchase many machine made and shinsakuto swords at the karate depot Japanese swords shop.
Once the blade was done, it was tested by cutting through the bones of human corpses, starting with the thinnest bones and moving up to the thickest. The swords testing results were often recorded on the nakago which is the metal of the blade that is attached to the hilt.
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