Ruruoni Kenshin Sword Found in Japan

The sakabato is a fictional reverse blade sword wielded by Himura Kenshin. In the manga and anime, the sakabato was one of the last strange swords made by renowned master swordsmith Arai Shakku and was given to Kenshin after he made a vow to never kill again.  What makes this sword different from other swords is that the sharpened edge faces inward and the outer edge is dull. It was designed to knock out opponents rather than kill them, which is a further testament to Kenshin’s pacifist vow.

For the longest time, this sword was thought to be the stuff of legends as there has been no historical records or relics to prove its existence — that is, until now.

It was only in October, 2013 that a sword that looked like Kenshin’s sakabato was found in an old family storage house in Shiroi City in the Chiba Prefecture of Japan. Based on an article by Asahi News and Kotaku, the blade is 8.6 inches long and engraved with dragons. It measures 11 inches from tip to tip and came with a leather  sheath. It was completely covered in rust when it was found and is estimated to be from the Edo Period (1603 to 1868). This weapon was named “kogatana”, which means “short katana” in Japanese.

Ruruoni kenshin Sakabato

Ruruoni kenshin Sakabato

A similar reverse blade dagger called “kubikiri” has been found before but it was not pointed like the kogatana. Similar reverse edged swords have also been found in Korea but this is the first time that one has been found in Japan. Experts are still studying the material makeup of the sword and its history. The sword has since been donated to the Chiba Prefecture cultural archive.

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