The title nihontō (Japanese sword) was initially coined in ancient Japan to differentiate Japanese forged blades from imported Western blades (洋刀, yōtō). While swords in Japan have been known to be forged from as early as the Kofun period, the term became synonymous with the more easily recognizable curved-edged blades that became popular after the Heian period.
Within the genre of Japanese swords, a style in the early Showa period was known as han-tanren-tō, which involved the usage of multiple layers of steel folded together. Tanren (鍛錬) refers to a folding process also known as "pattern welding", which brings out a very apparent hada (grain pattern).
Each of our HAN-TANREN-TŌ swords are individually handcrafted by the smith through a month long process that culminates in a beautifully forged shinogi-zukuri (鎬造り) style katana. The folded steel blade is 2 shaku (24 inches) in length, with a hand carved tsuba and a 7 inch leather-covered olive wood tsuka beneath a white tsuka-ito. Present on the blade is a bo-hi alongside a standard height shinogi.
The smith follows the traditional production techniques used in forging han-tanren-tō swords to bring out a significantly more noticeable hada by combining multiple layers of high carbon steel with a carefully specified number of folds. The blade is then through tempered and oil quenched, followed lastly by an optional acid etching to bring out the patterns even further. Do let us know if you wish for us to skip this final process via email!
Please note that while our HAN-TANREN-TŌ blades are created from steel forged using traditional Japanese techniques, they are NOT the 日本刀 that are produced in Japan. Such blades are produced by specially sanctioned Japanese smiths, and range in value from thousands to tens of thousands of dollars. At our core, we are a jewelry and accessory company that creates culturally significant and aesthetically beautiful pieces with a focus on our steel and not a sword company that produces weapons for professional use.
As of 30th May, 2021, we have changed the name of the sword from "NIHONTŌ" to "HAN-TANREN-TŌ" to prevent any confusion.
Please note that our swords are limited to specific forging periods, and we are only able to produce a specific number during each production run depending on the materials and time available to the smith. Once we have received the maximum number of orders for that particular period, the window will close and the HAN-TANREN-TŌ will become unavailable for ordering. As the process of creation involves the careful allocation and selection of metals, please note that we are unable to cancel orders once the production on your blade has begun.
Please drop us an email if you wish to discuss having a sword created outside of a production window.
Our current forging window has 3 blades available.
The blade of the HAN-TANREN-TŌ can be engraved according to request. Simply send any designs to firstname.lastname@example.org with your order number.
The blade of the HAN-TANREN-TŌ is crafted from a non-stainless high carbon steel that must be kept away from water to prevent oxidization. A layer of lacquer is applied initially upon creation in order to protect it, but this layer will eventually wear off (please do not remove this by force). The blade can be cared for using oil or a carbon steel eraser should a patina start to build up. If you wish to have receive the blade without the lacquer coating, please reach out to us at email@example.com with your order number and request.
In accordance with Shopify's regulations regarding the sale of weapons, it is important to note that the HAN-TANREN-TŌ is NOT a weapon, but a display piece (though it still possesses a cutting edge). It should only be used for its aesthetic beauty and in accordance to individual state regulations.