Why Katana Are So Polished And Shiny 

Why Katana Are So Polished And Shiny 

[GIF via 和食乃サト]

How to make a katana disappear? It’s very simple. You angle the blade down, so it reflects the ground below, making the katana blend right in and appear to vanish. This isn’t some trick, but rather, a combat technique that can mean life or death.

When the clip was originally aired on Japanese TV, master swordsman Isao Machii explained that the blade would be turned to reflect the ground so that one’s foe could not estimate blade length.

Samurai aimed to cut down their enemies in a single slice (they weren’t clashing and clanking blades like swashbuckling pirates) so katana length could tip off safe and unsafe distances. 

The highly polished nature of Japanese swords isn’t for looks only, but part of a samurai’s engagement know-how. 


  • And so much more…
    It was the best way to identify damage to the blade as they wore quickly, reducing friction in all aspects of its use, protected the metal and it holds a film of oil the smoother it is.

    The whole weapon is the aesthetics of practicality, a poetry of pure necessity that fascinates anyone who looks at them, even in criticism.

    • Good point. It’s sooooo far from being a perfect weapon, but for what it is, what they did with it, the mythology around it. Like you said, it’s fascinating, the cult of the katana.

      • Never understood the chub people get over them, they are interesting to look at, but I feel like a lot of people (especially the young) gloss over just how flimsy they were.

      • I can’t talk, I started collecting edged weapons many years ago and Katana are the only blades you will find multiples of in my collection.

        I only have a single traditionally made piece, it was hellishly expensive and demands constant care.
        In saying that, it is far more beautiful and intricate than any of the modern spring and tool steel blades I use for cutting amd they are a technical and engineering marvel in their own right.

      • Ha ha, you aren’t off in many ways.
        Though study and schooling take all the blame for my interest and history and weapons I’m afraid.

        Hell, I only ended up in the fencing team in school because I scoffed at them stretching and the teacher made me do a lesson as punishment.
        I was captain two years later xD

  • That’s pretty interesting. Given how romanticized katana are, I’m surprised that I hadn’t come across this in the form of some kind of embellished fiction.

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