Sword vs Katana – Difference Between Sword and Katana

The Sword and the Katana are two deadly weapons used ages ago on battlefields. But today, these weapons have become art for decorating our indoor walls and a fascination for antique collectors. If you look at both these weapons, you can find many similarities in the way they look, however; there is a lot more to know that makes them different.

Sword v/s Katana

The main difference between a sword and a katana is that a sword was designed mainly for the knights to provide great flexibility; so that they use it with ease. On the other hand, a katana, also known as the: sword of a Samurai, provided excellent cutting and solidity to the warriors. 

Sword vs Katana

Sword is a weapon with great flexibility and blades that cut things with great power. The designs of a sword made were according to the purpose it served, like some swords were specially designed to have lightweight and more flexibility so that the person using them can handle them with ease, while some were intentionally heavier to cut solid things easily.

Katana was mainly invented for the Samurais as they were less weak than the knights, due to which they needed to have something that could cut or chop things off without having to put all the strength into it. For achieving a fine razor-like edge, it would be heated and forged several times.

Comparison Table Between Sword and Katana

Parameters of Comparison SwordKatana
Way of carrying Cutting edge downwards.Cutting edge upwards.
Art of fighting SwordsmanshipKenjutsu
Speciality It provides flexibility.It provides excellent cutting quality.
Who invented EgyptiansAmakuni, the Japanese swordsmith
Sharp edgeDouble-sided sharp edge.Single side sharp edge.

What is Sword?

A sword is a weapon that has sharp edges for cutting and thrusting things with manual force. Its blade is longer with straight or curved edges than any knife or dagger and is attached to a hilt. A sword designed for thrusting has a straight pointed-tip blade. A sword for slashing has sharpened curved edges on either one side of the blade or both sides. Some swords served both the purpose of thrusting and chopping.

Historically, during the Bronze Age, about 1600 BC ago, swords were developed as an evolution of daggers. Later in the Iron age, the sword developed were relatively shorter and didn’t have a crossguard. During the Middle Ages, a sword named spatha was invented, which became the predecessor of every sword in Europe. The art of sword fighting is known as swordsmanship or fencing in the modern context. In the Early Modern period, this weapon was divided into thrusting swords and sabers.

Swords like rapier and smallsword were great thrusting weapons that would inflict deep stab wounds on the enemy easily and quickly. They had long and straight blades that were light, due to which it was easy to handle and balance but deadly in a duel. On the other hand, the sabre was heavier and was designed mainly for warfare. It had a long and curved blade that would slash and chop figures while being on the back of a horse.

What is Katana?

Katana is a Japanese quintessential Japanese Samurai sword with a single curved edge. It is renowned as the ideal and effective hand weapon developed in our history. The swordsmith who designed this weapon kept three necessary elements in mind. The first is its artistic beauty which is a piece of craftsmanship. The second is; the power of the sword that would give great strength to the warrior for chopping off solid figures. The last element is the accuracy of the blade that would slice a human hair.

The origin of the katana was from the 8th century A.D when Japan was still developing, and the conflict system on the battlefield was evolving. The act of fighting on foot went down, and combat on the back of the horse went up and became the principal element of the conflict or battlefield. During this time, the traditional sword called “chokuto” was not strong enough to fight against the enemies.

Because of this, it became necessary to create a weapon that would be handy while riding on horseback. Legends say that it was Amakuni, the swordsmith, who proposed the new design of the katana to the Emperor. Amakuni foresaw the warriors of that kingdom giving up in front of the enemies, so he was determined to find a solution for that, and hence created Katana.

Main Differences Between Sword and Katana

  1. Swordsmanship is the term given to the art of fighting with a sword, whereas Kenjutsu is the term given to the art of fighting with katana.
  2. The first-ever sword was invented by the Egyptians, whereas the katana was designed by Amakuni who was a swordsmith of a Japanese Empire.
  3. The specialty of using a sword is that it provides great flexibility to the person handling it, whereas katana provides the user with great strength to chop off big and solid figures easily.
  4. Both the sides of a sword are equally sharp, whereas only one side of the katana has a sharp edge.
  5. A warrior carrying a sword in his belt keeps the sharp edge downwards, whereas a warrior with katana keeps its sharp edge upwards.


In conclusion, swords and katana are both great weapons that were used centuries back on the battlefield. Today they have become an art piece to hang on the walls. Both these weapons have long sharp-pointed tips with great chopping and thrusting features that can slash a hard object easily.

Sword was invented before katana during the middle ages by the Egyptians and Katana was designed and invented by a Japanese swordsmith Amakuni as a result of his foreseen vision of Japanese soldiers losing the war against their enemies. Swords have sharp edges on both sides and are flexible to use, whereas katana are heavier with one side thin and sharp that could chop even a single human hair with a single stroke.


  1. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=6zW1CwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA3&dq=sword+and+katana&ots=EDbXR1GNTG&sig=BPxF2GOcLaisf_cZMq9VWaerBJ8
  2. https://books.google.co.in/books?hl=en&lr=&id=R7NpvfYsmU0C&oi=fnd&pg=PR6&dq=sword+&ots=TfjKrgXvWs&sig=MdreLp5V3ERT276rZgQfsB3Z2c0
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