4 Gourds Katana

Pro & Con'saccording to myself ;)

  • Limited Edition
  • Light weight
  • Nice steel grain
  • Good balance
  • Not for cutting harder targets
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  • Free shipping within the EU & USA
  • 90 Days Return Policy
  • Personal Quality Check

The Blade

Unlike the dharma wheel katana, there’s no specific story behind the choice of the blade. The idea here was to create a light & agile katana for Iai / dojo practitioners in the first place that looking for a nice shinken 😉

With a weight of more or less 950 gram and a blade that measures 74cm (tsuba to tip) with a point of balance around 16cm from the tsuba I think the mission is accomplished.

The only negative point I can think of from an Iai / dojo practioner point of view is that:

  1. it’s not available in different lengths
  2. doesn’t come with a hi (so no loud tachikaze)

Adding a hi woud have taken too much strength out of the blade in my opinion.  But never say never…although the original plan is still to keep this a limited editon that won’t be offered again once sold out.

The blade is forged out of orishigane (self-made steel) features a Gunome-Midare hamon and has a geometric yokote. Carbon content in this blade is somewhere between 0.6%-0.70% and the higher grade polish is revealing the steel grain in a subtle yet prominent way. The kissaski is geometric.


The Tsuba

For years i have this design saved in my online gallery and this was the perfect project to actually use it. It represents 4 gourds (Hyotan).

Besides being a plant / fruit and a Sake Flask (Tokkuri ) is it a symbol with a few different meanings.

  1. In general, it is seen as a symbol of good luck and is often used as a decoration during the New Year.
  2. The gourd is also a symbol of longevity, as it is a long-lived vine, and is often given as a gift to elderly people or to celebrate a long life.
  3. Additionally, the gourd is a symbol of fertility, and is sometimes given as a wedding gift.
  4. In Buddhism, the gourd is often depicted in artwork as a symbol of the Buddha’s teachings, as it is said that the Buddha’s teachings are like a gourd, providing sustenance and nourishment for the soul.

Hideyoshi Toyotomi, a powerful feudal lord and military leader in Japan during the late 16th century,is often depicted holding or wearing a gourd.

He also used a gourd motif on his battle standard.

Each time he won a battle, he would add another gourd to the standard. This standard, known as the “Sennaribyoutan,” which means one thousand gourds growing on a tree, became a symbol of victory.

In the book “Legend in Japanese art” by Henri L. Joly (1908) there’s a nice little story about how Hideyoshi came to adopt the gourd standard:

“At a fight between Toyotomi HIDEYOSHI, and another of the Kuge, or retainers of OTA NOBUNAGA,  Hideyoshi having no standard to carry before him, improvised one by plucking a gourd plant by the roots and using it as a pennon.  After beating his opponent he adopted the gourd as a standard,vowing that he would add to his banner (Umajirushi) one gourd for eac victor  he wo  thereafter.”

True or false, it’s a good story 😉

If you’re interested in the book, you can read & download it here.

Rest of the fittings & saya

Not much to say here, just a plain & simple higo style fuchi kashira 😊 and a bamboo themed menuki.

The saya comes in a black gloss lacquer (Kuroro) with horn koiguchi, kurikata and kojiri.


In our attempt to make a few ‘light’ models to satisfy to iaido practitioner we forgot that there are still people who like to perform tameshigiri in their dojo (or at home) .

Sword Specifications


Length (without saya) 100,5 cm
Weight (without saya) 940 gram
Point of balance 16 cm
Cutting targets Single tatami & other soft targets


Blade type Shinogi zukuri
Steel Oroshigane
Heat threatment Water hardened
Nagasa 72 cm ( 2,35shaku )
Tsuba > Tip 74,1 cm
Hi No
Polish High grade
Hamon Gunome-Midare
Yokote Geometric
Sori (curvature) 17 mm
Motohaba 30 mm
Motokasana 6 mm
Sakihaba 28 mm
Sakikasana 4 mm
Habaki Brass


Shape Hachi
Length 26 cm
Ito Synthetic silk
Fuchi & kashira material Brass
Tsuba material Iron
Seppa Brass
Hishigami Yes (thin one's)


Finish Black Gloss (Kuroro)
Koiguchi Black Horn
Kurikata Black horn
Kojiri Black horn
Sageo Synthetic Fiber

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