The Shinken which literally translates to “real sword”, is a Japanese weapon that features a real forged blade and the word is utilized in contrast with bokken / bokuto and the shinai. These weapons are commonly used for combat practice or Iaijutsu, Tameshigiri (cutting practice), or even Iaido.
The Handmade Shinken
Handmade shinken are usually called the “Gendaito” and only a few swordsmiths in Japan create these today; they are also part of the Japanese Swordsmith Association or the JSA. These individuals are given a certain limit by the Japanese law when it comes to the production of swords and they are only allowed to create no more than 24 swords every year.
This limit which also includes the specialized skills and the necessity for an excellent deal of manual labor accounts for the high amount an authentic Japanese shinken can gain. This usually starts from six thousand dollars just for the blade alone and going much higher for the genuine and antique blades such as the Ningen Kokuho or the Mukansa.
A nihonto is one of the several varieties of the popular and traditionally made Japanese swords; these battle tools have been created from the Kofun period and these Japanese swords are basically the types right after the Heian period that started featuring uniquely curved blades that everyone is mostly fond of. However, there are different types of sword varieties that feature different shapes, sizes, as well as fields of applications. The most common and well-known types of these Japanese swords include the tachi, the wakizashi, and of course, the katana. These nihontos are still commonly seen in this day and age while the modern forged and antique swords can also be found and purchased especially by those sword enthusiasts who wish to add more pieces to their growing collection of blades.
The shinken is somewhat similar to the katana since the shinken, generally speaking, means a true or real sword and these also have the ability to cut through items and can be utilized for actual combat. However, the shinken are primarily utilized not only for combat or Iaijutsu, but it is also used for training and tameshigiri. Almost every individual knows that the katana is one of the traditionally made nihontos that were utilized by the samurai class during the warring period in ancient and feudal Japan, and these are weapons with distinct characteristics such as the following: an arched single-edged blade that also features a squared or circular tsuba, plus an elongated tsuka to accommodate double gripping. When a katana is made as a functional tool for actual cutting, it will then be called the shinken katana.
Proper Care and Handling of the Shinken
For anyone who owns a shinken katana or any other type of sharp steel sword, always remember to handle it with care, caution, and respect to avoid unnecessary accidents. For those who are still not familiar with the proper moves and strikes using the shinken, it is best to use a Bokken for starters to avoid accidents that may possibly be dangerous. It can also be quite dangerous for the wielder especially if they have no idea how to properly handle the sword since the risk of cutting oneself is high; common accidents occur during nukitsuke, drawing of the sword, noto, when sheathing the weapon, plus every other movement where the blade is close and comes into contact with the user.
Most of the steel swords, such as the shinken katana can easily rust when not properly cared for; so after training or usage, make sure to regularly clean out the blade and ensure that it also gets oiled. The proper oil and powder to use for cleaning are the choji oil and the uchiko powder.
Katana for Sale
The shinken also has a wide market outside Japan although there are a lot of collectors who refrain from purchasing these swords since they are not the nihonto. However, there are still some martial artists who continue to search for their own katana for sale and get their hands on the shinken for their own requisites and needs. Although there are a lot of katana for sale today, it can still be quite difficult to find one that costs less than around five thousand dollars.
So in a much more economical price range, the sharpened and fully functional steel swords are created in a much simpler style and these can be found outside Japan; although this is the case, the swordsmiths still ensure that their swords still feature the Japanese design which is perfect for every collector who wants to purchase more low-costing but quality blades.
In Japan, they have created a law against these types of swords especially when these are not created in the traditional way. Although this is the case, these modern day types of the katana are still called the shinken since these are sharp and still made from steel.