Traditional Katana

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
My grandpa and I
My grandpa and I

 The object that I chose is a katana that has been passed down in my family. A katana is a traditional medium length sword. In the 1400’s nearly everyone in Japan owned and carried one. The handle (sana) and handguard (tsuba) had many meanings such as a round tsuba was made for someone emotionally well rounded. Katanas were forged using a smelting process which resulted in multiple layers of metal in the sword. The steel would be folded onto itself multiple times then tempered in oil to create a hard steel edge and a soft steel core. Famous katana makers like Masamune used a much more difficult method that resulted in 7 layers of different steels. The craft of forging katanas was so intricate that it could take multiple people and a week minimum to produce one. I was introduced to the blade by my grandfather in Tokyo, Japan when I was around 10. The first time I attempted to wield it, I could not lift it off the ground. My dad and grandfather have told me stories about the katana like how it was used as a means of defending our house. Each katana is unique to the creator, from the handguard and design to the inscribed wording on the internal metal hilt. This item is very important to me because it is one of the only things I have to remember my grandfather. 

Place(s): Tokyo, Japan
Year: 1996

– H

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant