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  • Takeshi Kazui

Legend of the Japanese Sword: Dôjikiri Yasutsuna, the Japanese Sword Beheaded a Demon 鬼ノクビヲハネタカタナ

Updated: Oct 22, 2023

What kind of image do you have of Japan? With the recent anime boom, samurai and ninja are popular characters. The main weapon they used was the Japanese sword.

Onimusha, a samurai wielding a katana.

In this article, I would like to introduce one of the five legendary swords known as "Tenka-Goken 天下五剣" that actually exist in Japan.


Legend of the Japanese Sword

A Japanese sword, Japanese kanji: 日本刀, Hepburn: nihontô, is one of several types of traditionally made swords from Japan. Bronze swords were made as early as the Yayoi period 1000 BC – 300 AD, though most people generally refer to the curved blades made after the Heian period 794 – 1185 when speaking of "Japanese swords". There are many types of Japanese swords that differ by size, shape, field of application and method of manufacture. Some of the more commonly known types of Japanese swords are the chokutô 直刀, tachi 太刀, katana 刀, wakizashi 脇差, tantô 短刀, and tsurugi/ken (剣).


Dôjikiri Yasutsuna 童子切安綱

[Tachi] Sword Known as “Dojikiri Yasutsuna”, 童子切安綱

[Tachi] Sword Known as “Dojikiri Yasutsuna”, 童子切安綱

Hōki Yasutsuna 伯耆安綱 was a representative swordsmith of the Heian period. This sword is particularly famous and is known as Dôjikiri Yasutsuna 童子切安綱, with a fine irregular blade pattern that shows complex changes.

It is believed that the name of the sword, which is thought to have been associated with the legend of Shuten-dôji 酒呑童子 and was handed down from the Ashikaga and Tokugawa Shoguns to the Echizen and Tsuyama Matsudaira families as one of the Five Greatest Swords under Heaven. Now the sword that beheaded the demon is kept at the Tokyo National Museum as a national treasure.

There are many legends about Japanese swords in Japanese history. We will show you those legends.


behind the sword is the legend of Shuten-dôji

"Long long ago, a demon ravaged the capital of Kyoto..." This story can be found below this blog post.





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