5 Ways to tell if Your Samurai Sword is Authentic

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Being a collector of certain type of items or just a fan who has one or two is satisfying and special. Getting your hands on that thing that you have always wanted to own feels accomplishing and the harder it is to get and the more expensive and unique it is, the more you treasure and cherish it. However, nothing can beat finally purchasing an authentic part of history and keeping it both as an investment and an art piece in your home.
Among the most popular historical items are masterfully crafted weapons, and to narrow it down even further, it is swords and close quarter weapons that cause the most amount of fascination in us. There have been numerous popular and game-changing weapons throughout history but in terms of swords, it is the Japanese samurai sword that is by far the most popular. Still intriguing and awe-inspiring in the 21st century, centuries after it was last used as a go-to weapon, the samurai’s main weapon is surely something nobody would say no to.
If you are a fan of history and especially weaponry, you probably have a wish to have your own authentic Japanese samurai sword. However, it can be very hard to tell if it is a genuine item or not. There are fake swords out there that look almost exactly the same to the naked eye and even an expert can have trouble distinguishing between the two. In order to be able to tell the differences yourself, you need to know what to look for. And by the end of this article, you will have all the info you need. To find out even more and order a genuine samurai sword, make sure to check out wickedswords.com.

Material of the blade

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First and foremost, the crucial thing about swords is the material its blade is bade of. The metal has to be the one ancient masters used in order for the sword to be authentic. Even if the sword is not centuries old, it can be made with the right practices and techniques so that it is still an authentic piece of craftsmanship. The metal it has to be made of is steel. If it is not steel and instead aluminum, you have a fake sword that may still look nice but not the real thing you were hoping for. Japanese swordsmiths spend months shaping and sharpening raw steel into a beautiful weapon. Aluminum can never replicate it, but just to be sure, simply place a magnet next to the blade and if it sticks, it is steel.

The grain

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Every Japanese sword that has been made using true techniques passed down for generations has distinct and unique dots along the blade, also known as the grain or “hada”. Using a magnifying glass, you should be able to see them without any fuzziness or irregularities. If this is the case, your sword is genuine and authentic. More importantly, if it is not handmade as it should be but machine made instead, there will be numbering (serial number) somewhere at the base of the blade If you see this during the grain inspection, know that the sword is not real Japanese steel.

Shape of the blade

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Perhaps the easiest way to tell if the sword is a real example of true swordsmanship and tradition is its shape. Historically and culturally accurate designs utilize the shape that is balanced and optimal for the style of combat it is made for. It should be nothing but perfect, and while there are numerous types of samurai swords, a katana has to be curved up to a certain degree. There do exist straight Japanese swords but they are usually shorter and wider. If the shape feels off and it lacks the proper curve, it is obviously a knockoff. It takes a certain level of knowledge to be able to tell the difference when more traditional swords are the topic of conversation, but it can usually be determined by a combination of factors such as the balance, the weight, the feel, and the shine of the blade apart from its shape.


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There are a few different things to pay attention to with the handle of your katana (or other samurai sword type). First of all, it should be full-tang, meaning the steel blade has to extend through the handle. This ensures that the weapon will not break during combat. It all needs to be one piece of steel that goes down all the way to the but-cap or the pommel. The hidden part that the handle wraps around is called the tang. Speaking of the handle itself, the binding absolutely has to be tight and well knit. Even if the blade is real steel, if the binding on the wrap is off you probably do not have a fully authentic ancient Japanese weapon. If it feels like it can come off and unwrap at any second, you will surely realize that the item is nowhere near as good as it can or should be. Handles and wraps are highly customizable and they can be very artistic. However, for a true Japanese weapon, they have to be of high quality and done the right way.


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What is the use of a sword if it is not sharp and cannot cut through anything? The katana’s reputation of being among the best swords in history is not without a good reason. It is the sharpest weapon of all but that does not always have to translate to amazing cutting power. That also depends on a lot of other factors some of which have to deal with the skill, combat style, weight of the weapon, geometry, and the kind of steel. The sharpest of katanas and other Japanese swords are the ones sharpened manually, by skilled swordsmiths who know what they are doing. They sharpen their weapons on water-stones and not by modern mass-production means and machinery. If the sword you have is completely made by hand throughout the lengthy and challenging process, you have a valuable piece of craftsmanship in your possession and an authentic samurai sword to be proud of.