katana

The long, ‘killing’ sword that is a signature weapon of the bushi. It is not, as many gaijin would believe, the mark of a samurai. It is a crime for a heimin to touch or bear a katana, but it is the wakiszhai that is the symbol of a person’s status as a samurai. Every samurai child is expected to learn how to use a katana and practice kenjutsu. The katana is a three to four foot blade of folded steel with a slight curve. Only one side is sharpened, which leads to the particular style of combat favoured by samurai. The folded steel gives the blade a high strength, making it hard to break. The hilt is usually made of wood or steel, though leather is also used. The katana is held in a sheath or through the obi with the cutting edge facing up. This allows the distinctive ‘fast draw’ of iaijutsu and in general makes response times in close quarters combat faster. This is essential to the samurai of the Empire as they favour personal combat and look upon long range weapons as beneath their station. The katana is a holy weapon to the samurai of Rokugan, even those Clans that use other weapons regularly. Each of the Clans has an Ancestral Sword which was granted either by the founding Kami, as it was their blade, or by the Emperor upon the founding of the Clan as is the case with Minor Clans.

katana

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