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A slightly-curved, single-edged sword carried by the samurai in fuedal Japan. Contrary to popular belief, the katana was not the primary weapon used by samurai, and was mostly used only for dueling or ceremonial purposes. Over the last few decades, movies and anime have exaggerated the sharpness and durability of the weapon to a point where many people now believe katanas to be some kind of indestructable super-sword.
"Following World War II, many American GIs brought home katanas looted from Japanese officers."
by Deej July 16, 2004
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A Japanese sword, once used by the samurai, but now primarily owned by Japanophiles who have deluded themselves into thinking that they can defeat anyone in the world with their (fictional) martial arts and swordplay skills.
"A terrorist attack? Let me just grab my katana, I'll take down all twelve of them singlehandedly!"
by sba. April 30, 2008
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The Katana is a single edged curved steel weapon, used by warriors of fuedal japan. It is made by forging and folding steel to rid it of impurities, then coating the cutting edge in clay, heating it up and quenching it to harden the cutting edge, revealing is called a temperline (Hamon). The Katana was a decorative peice of art as well as a weapon, consisting of a Tsuba (hanguard) Tuki Ito (handle wrap, usually coloured) and other intricate artistic fittings. The Katana is not superior-but amazingly strong and sharp for a small thin weapon. Under controlled test conditions, a Nihonto (japanese made katana) was able to shatter a .45ACP round without sustaining damage, and widthstood 7 direct hits from a M2 HMG (heavy machine gun)with its .50BMG armour piercing round before shattering.
The katana came into use in the 1400's, before hand the Tachi was used, a longer sword used on horseback and worn in a different manner. Before that were the straight blades, Chokuto, from China. The katana is usually worn with the cutting edge (Ha) facing upwards, thrust through an Obi (belt). On rare occasions, The Katana was worn blade down (sometimes when armour was worn). It was usually the primary weapon of a warrior or Samurai, though in wars Yari (spear) were prefered due to the damage they inflicted on Armour, along with Maai (distancing).
His katana moved swiftly to shatter the opponents defenses.
by Ninpo-Bugei July 28, 2006
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A katana is the long sword of ancient samurai. It was used from the tenth century, all the way to WWII.
The samurai slashed his way through warrior after warrior.
by Deadly Warrior December 18, 2003
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The katana is the type of furniture used to house a slightly curved blade of Japanese origin. Contrary to popular belief, the katana was not the primary weapon used in fuedal Japan.

In the beginning, before katana, were bronze, single-edged straight swords. These swords originated from China, and came to Japan through trading and conquest. From there, the blade was then made from a low-quality iron, with a slight curve, a side-effect of forging a single-edged blade. The early swords were simple, and ranged in sizes and shapes.

Most swords of this eary period are called tachi, and while the general use of a tachi was for battle on horseback, it saw little use with footsoldiers, who were sent into battle with spears or early naginata. Tachi is different from katana because they are different ways of carrying the blade. A katana and tachi blade are often very similar, but in tachi, the sword is worn blade down, usually tied or hung to a belt. In katana, the sword is held blade up, and is usually thrust into a belt, or in some cases tied to one.

Another misconception is the idea that anybody who has a katana is samurai. Samurai basically means, One who serves, and this fits them exactly. Samurai were warriors in feudal Japan that served a lord. It was a title that many people with swords either did not have, or could never get.

The katana was mainly a show of importance, and often displayed a person's rank or status. Peasants were not allowed to carry a blade over a certain length, and most carried none at all. A person of samurai rank or above could wear two swords, called daisho. Daisho consists of a long sword and a short sword. this also varied among the ranks. A wakizashi was a shorter sword, and often times, a low ranking samurai could only wear a wakizashi and a shorter sword, or knife. higher ranking samurai could wear a daito or wakizashi. This daito could either be katana or tachi.

Contrary to popular belief, the curved katana was not the only type of sword used in Japan. Much like in Europe's feudal age, swords were designed for the types of armor they went up against. European swords ranged from single edges baldes to double edged, but it is the double edged that gets all the publicity. Much like in Japan, the curved blade gets the most publicity. Why? In europe, heavy armor made from plates and links of metal required a sword that could take a beating, and thus it had two sharp edges. The point of a double-edged weapon also served to drive the point into weak spots in armor. The curved blades of Japan, however, were put up against armor that usually consisted of heavy silk or light leather that had strips of metal woven in. This was armor that could be cut easily, and thus the sweeping, slicing stroke of a curved sword was effective.

The big misconception between european swords and japanese swords are their cutting ability. Japanese swords will usually outperform european swords on the same level as far as cutting light things like clothing, mats, people, etc. However, european swords can take more of a beating and can usually hold their edges better.

Another myth is that the Japanese sword is superior to european swords. Like I have stated, this is not true. There have been accounts of a foot-soldier's katana cutting through a european foot-soldier's longsword. Now you have to think about geography. Japan, being a island, made obtaining the raw materials to construct a blade difficult and expensive to obtain. A complex method was usually used, in which iron rich sand was purified and folded into fairly carbon consistent steel. In Europe, iron was fairly easy to come by, and steel was often made. However, a common footsoldier would need to be outfitted cheaply. A european sword for a common soldier would be weak, and probably very poorly crafted, but they had no reason to be well-crafted. A softer sword would not break very easily, and most european swords were used as clubs with edges. However, in Japan, a footsoldier's sword would often be the same quiality as a general's sword because smiths could not afford to make swords cheaply and waste raw materials.

Another thing, katana could deflect bullets! Whoo! Everybody asks me that. Now, in fuedal Japan, guns were not very powerful, and could be deflected with a sword. However, chances are you would never get it right, and the bullet would would hit you instead of your blade. Another thing, the blades were often pretty thin, and depending on the temper of the steel, the sword would either bend, crack, or shatter. Now, the idea you get in movies that a person could defect multiple bullets back at the shooter is plain fantasy. The best you could probably do is mess up your blade, and waste time that could be used to get out of the line of fire. Now, that was back then. Even if you could travel fast enough to get a katana perfectly in line, if I shot you with a standard modern handgun, you would probably get shot. The sword would probably get pushed aside, or if your arms were strong enough, the blade would fail. No doubt about it. Japanese swords can cut through steel, as long as the steel is significantly softer than the sword steel, and even then, the sword would be messed up.

And you don't block a sword with the edge of a Japanese sword! The edges of Japanese blades are very hard and brittle, good for cutting, but another reason why they can't hold up to the same beating as european swords. Katana are softer on the back of the balde than on the edge. Parries would take place on the back, and even it would really be a parry, not a block.
"Sakamoto fell to the ground in a pool of his own blood, shards of shattered steel imbedded in his body, after trying and failing to deflect the burst of bullets that had been fired from the M-16 with his katana."
by Tigermano June 04, 2006
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A Japanese style long sword that is curved, and worn thrust through the belt. The primary weapon of the samurai. Can also be called daito (long sword) and, if made in Japan, nihonto (Japanese sword).
Iaido, or the art of drawing the sword, teaches one to use the katana.
by Chip Griffin December 18, 2003
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1. A Japanese sword
2. A high-performance range of motorbikes made by Suzuki in the 1980s
3. An entirely different and unspeakably ugly range of motorbikes sold to gullible yanks since 1988 as Katanas, but known to the Free World as "Teapots" due to their bulbous appearance
1. Taguchi-san scratched his nose with the tip of his Katana and farted loudly, incurring the wrath of the Emperor.
2. In 1982, the fastest production bike in the world was the Suzuki GSX1100SZ Katana.
3. Seppo: "Hey man, I got me a 98 Katana 600... it's awesome."
Non-seppo: "No, what you have is a Teapot. It is less exciting than Bing Crosby and uglier than Mo Mowlam."
by Antiseptic December 24, 2003
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