Katana Review- Mushashi Hattori Hanzo "Kill Bill"

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Katana Review- Mushashi Hattori Hanzo "Kill Bill"

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Wed Aug 01, 2007 6:14 pm


Manufacturer-Mushashi Sword Forge, China.

A nice sword. 'Sai Gunto machine made', not traditonal construction.

Very sharp and hyped as fully functional. the Tsuba (handguard) is iron. The Saya (sheath) appears well finished, and is billed as a multi level lacquered finish. It looks proper.

The decorative furnitures (Menuki) are ok.

The Sageo (cord) is acceptable but not tradtionally tied. (and I do not know how to tie it properly). My student Ron can tie the correct knot as I expect Fred Sensei can do.

Fred Sensei is a dedicated Iiado student.

The Hamon (temper line ) is etched by machine and not by the tempering process.

It is very sharp. The edge (Ha) is harder (45-60 Rockwell hardness) than the back of the blade, (Mune).

The Ha is polished to a smooth sweeping fine edge. Poor Katanas have a wedge shaped machine cut edge easily distinguished as separate from the sweeping lines of the bodyto edge of the decent sword blade. What i look for is a polished integral Ha.

The Kashira (Pommel cap)-- is not remarkable despite the engraved sycamore emblem.

The Fuchii (collar) is engraved (well sort of) with 'two demon emblems" (looks like flowers to me?)

The finish on the kashira and fuchi is only fair. (painted)

The Ito (Wrap) is of Black leather and is good.

Blade: Carbon steel 1060 Carbon steel.

The Habaki (brass fitting on sword which engages the saya) is good.

Fit of Habaki to Saya---a bit loose,easily remedied..

Same (underwrap on Tsuka-hilt) is Rayskin and appears good.

The Price-excellent-from $100-250 dollars.

if you do not wish to surf the web for this sword, I can attain one for you at a nominal charge. My E mail should be on my profile.

The Sword comes with a well finished stand and makes a very pretty display piece. I touched up the paint on the Fuchi.

We must understand that Japanese made traditional Katanas are strictly regulated in Japan.

I am not sure that a Master Smith's blade may be exported. I have read that a Master smith may only make one or two Katanas per annum.

Any sword in japan, such as the one reviewed, must retain its regisrtation papers with it.

A sort of a Japanese version of gun control.

One Cannot tell from online pictures whether the Hamon is a true temper line or etched. If the description says the sword has a true Hamon, then it probaly will.

Do not buy, I think, any sword not billed as fully functional unless you truly just want a display Item.

I will not review any stainless steel Katana. "Stainless Steel is not a proper material for a Katana"

I read that somewhere.

Note that the sword in the picture is set incorrectly (upside down) in the stand. The proper setting )( Ha Upwards) is to insure that the Ha is not dulled, that oil does not pool thereon and that the Saya is not damaged.

The sword comes with a sword bag and the slightly incomplete maintenace kit shown.

Fred Sensei??? Comments?

Fred Sensei is aware of the correct dimensions and weight of the practice swords used in Iiado/Kenjitsu Practice and detailed questions on the art should be directed to him as I am only a collector.

The maintenance kit appears to lack only rice paper.

I will post a thread on Katana maintenance if Sensei Fred does not beat me to it.

I will also post pictures showing the components of the katana.

I will be reviewing Western Swords as well, I hope.


Cut for the buck: 10
Finish: Varies, a 7
Tsuba: Plain but functional a 6
Same: appears correct-a 7.
Ha: a 6, not traditional but functional, lacks proper Hamon, a 5.
Fit: Good a 7
Wrap: leather and tight, a 7
Kusaki (point): Poorly done a 2.
Sharpness and
Material: Hi carbon steel: very good, a 6.
Same: Ray or sharskin, very good, a 6.
Last edited by JOHN THURSTON on Thu Aug 02, 2007 2:00 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Postby f.Channell » Wed Aug 01, 2007 10:35 pm

Hi John,

If for show this would be fine. I often hear them called "wall hangers" in the sword forums. I have about 6-7 of those.

You are correct the blade should be up. Also the direction the blade is in the holder is important. Pointing the Tsuka to the right is aggressive, to the left is passive. It doesn't matter nowadays, but to a samurai it was a clear warning.

Your blade at the grange is in bad need of an oiling by the way. :cry:

I don't do those fancy wraps to my Iaito sageo as I use it too often, and most cheap blades have a short, cheap sageo, which makes it difficult. But this is one way to wrap


If you think tying the sageo is a pain, you should try the Hakama.


Hows the fencing going?

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Hii Fred

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Thu Aug 02, 2007 1:33 am

Hi Sensei Fred:

My western fencing is temporarily on hold due to ankle injuries and I have trouble even leading a class.

I must say thai it is unlikely I will make any comments re: a purely display Katana.

This Particular Katana is fairly well done and would be quite dangerous.

It is fully functional and out of the typical wallhanger class or I would not have commented on it here.

The Blade at the Grange is a practice or display sword only and I will not review one.

The Blade Reviewed is least "Combat capable" if you take my point. (pun intended.)and very sharp , made of proper High Carbon steel and in most ways well executed. A few short cuts (another pun) were taken.

"A pun is the lowest form of humor" Edmund Burke (??)

I would spend a (very) few extra bucks to have it as a display item-like a functional Firearm used for display.

Despite the low low price it stands head and shoulders over the Cheap display/practice swords, such as the one at the Grange.

I understand that YOUR practice blade is very good and to the proper specifications of your Iado Sensei as you explained to me.

Could you explain this on a thread???

Please continue with your input. In this case it is obviously invaluable. I bought a few extra maintenance kits, and I would be pleased to give it to you one if you do not have one.

However, I would be surprised if you do not have a few.

Display Firearms are not pleasing to my eye as the mandatory trigger lock takes the "coup d'oiel" (sp) away.

Arigato Gozaimashita.


PS-I asked GEM Sensei about the propriety of this type of review, as it is obviously not Western, but I take it from his kind input that it is ok.

I may post on a few eastern martial heroes, but not anything on others than using western inspired tactics or equipment.

Oh, that is incorrect, GEM Sensei has kindly indicated that I may post on the Samurai and their military history.

Discussion of most Traditional Martial Arts and Artists should be left to the more knowledgeable folk.
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Postby f.Channell » Thu Aug 02, 2007 4:19 am

Hi John,

The Iaido blades are sized to the persons height. Mine for instance is a blade 2.35 shaku. The most critical thing seems to be the balance point. Chinese swords I'm told tend to be balanced poorly, with too much weight in the tip.
Also the weight or grams of the weapon seem to be important. This differs with different styles. Of course I still have tons to learn, although voracious at my training, I've only been at it for 9-10 months. I was just allowed to use a blade a month ago. Prior to that a bokken is used.

They can be quite snobby it seems about their swords, kind of like us Uechi guys are about our Shureido's. :)

There are just 1-2 companies recommended. Others may be acceptable as well, but to buy a 300-1200 sword and not be allowed to use it, is not a risk to take.

I'm sure there's more to it such as the quality of the handle (tsuka) being mounted to the blade.
If someones swinging behind me, I sure don't want that thing coming out and flying at me!

If you pick up that blade let me check it out, only thing I'd look at is the joint between the blade and the tang. That may be a critical joint.

I have an original Wakizashi I'm trying to date right now, I'll work on some pictures.

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Hi Fred

Postby JOHN THURSTON » Thu Aug 02, 2007 12:31 pm

I have the blade mentioned.

I think it only proper to review something that I have purchased.

The Mekagi are quite secure in their attachment of the Nakago to the Tsuka.

You will feel confortable on that point (oh rats, another pun) I think.

Please feel free to visit and make your own opinion on the blade.

Again, the blade reviewed is a big step above SSteel or Zinc Wallhangers, but it cannot compare to one produced by a proper swordsmith.

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