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Saber is a type of traditional Japanese swords, which began in 1868 and was produced for military use after the samurai era. For this island country, this is a critical period, because its historical culture that emphasizes samurai armor, weapons, and ideology has gradually matured in favor of Western influence culture.
In the countless changes that have taken place in Japanese culture, a new standard saber has been added: the saber. Although the samurai sword was the standard in feudal Japan, the saber took its place since then.
The origin of saber
In the mid-to-late 1800s, during the Meiji era in Japan, the samurai class was disbanded, and the new law prohibited most Japanese from carrying swords. This led to the decline of swordsmanship, because many swordsmiths no longer had jobs and subsequently were unable to support their families. However, Japan's militaristic attitude towards Russia and China in this era has spawned a new demand for swords, and swordsmiths are required to produce sabers.
Different types of saber
Kyū guntō: meaning "ancient saber", kyū guntō is the first official sword of the Japanese army. It is believed that the Japanese general Murata Tsunade was the first to start mass production of kyū guntō. From 1875 to 1934, kyū guntō was widely used in the Japanese military .
Shin guntō: meaning "new army knife", shin guntō is the sword of the officer who inherited kyū guntō. It is characterized by a traditional Japanese knife handle wrapped in silk and a cherry blossom pattern on the guard. The scabbard of shin guntō is made of metal and wood and is designed to protect the blade from damage.
In addition to shin guntō and kyū guntō, many variants have been created. For example, Type 94 is a variant of shin guntō made specifically for non-commissioned officers (NCOs).
Of course, the quality of sabers is not as good as the swords of early feudal Japan. This is mainly due to the lack of high carbon tamahagane steel. Due to the use of high-carbon steel, Japanese swords produced in the feudal era were highly regarded for their extraordinary strength. Tamahagane usually contains 3% to 4.5% carbon content, resulting in excellent strength. However, as the supply of chalcedony decreased, Japanese swordsmiths were forced to use cheaper low-carbon steel to produce sabers.
In addition, inexperienced blacksmiths know little about craftsmanship and are required to make sabers, resulting in lower quality. For these reasons, sabers were considered inferior to the Japanese swords produced in the feudal era.