A katana is a type of Japanese sword with a blade length greater than 23.6-28.7 inches (60-73 centimeters) and characterized by its distinctive appearance: a curved, slender, single-edged blade, circular or squared guard, and long grip that can accommodate two hands. Often called a "samurai sword" or "samurai's sword" because of its use by the feudal warriors, it became a symbol of the samurai caste.
Renowned for its sharpness and cutting ability, its origins go back at least as far as the Kamakura Period (1185–1333). Most often held with two hands, some techniques and combat styles were performed with a one-handed grip. The katana was generally carried in a saya, or scabbard, manufactured from lightweight wood, with a coat of lacquer on the exterior and a wooden knob on one side for attaching a braided cord.