The object that I chose to be analysed in relation to its connection to a diasporic community is the Japanese Samurai sword. This is an object that truly embodies Japanese cultural identity, and has been displayed in living rooms throughout the world. The Japanese sword (also known as the Katana) has traditionally been characterized as being made of steel, single bladed, curved, and tempered (Yumoto, 1958). Traditionally, the process of making the swords has taken numerous steps, beginning with the swordsmith performing an act of purification by pouring cold water over his body; after this is completed a prayer was made prior to the actually forging of the sword. The process in itself begins when “several pieces of iron are heated, stretched, and folded lengthwise. This heating and folding lengthwise is repeated many times. When the metal is malleable, it is pounded and beat upon until it is sufficiently tempered. The pieces of metal are gradually fashioned into a blade, but not until the entire process has been repeated from six to fifteen time. The smith quite often will put the steel through this cycle as many as thirty times” (Yumoto, 1958). This style of blade and its methods of production can be traced back to 900 A.D., but at that particular time the Japanese sword was strictly used for military purposes, therefore it wasn’t a commodity that could be exchanged for a monetary value. To be exact Japanese swordmaking “reached its zenith during the latter half” (Yumoto, 1958) of the Heian Period which lasted from 794 to 1191 A.D. Swordmaking became an art form that was passed on through tradition and different schools of smiths were formed in five different provinces, producing approximately 80% of all swords made during this period (Yumoto, 1958).     

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