Posts Tagged ‘Zatoichi’

A Black Shikomizue for a Blind Swordsman…

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Anyone who is into classical Japanese sword flicks will know about Zatoichi, the blind wandering swordsman masseuse, whose skill with the sword was unparalleled. Those of you who know, will also remember that Zatoichi carried with him a shikomizue, or sword cane, which he used to great effect, as he wandered from village to village, helping those in need.

Those of you who are long time readers might know that I love shikomizue. They are the embodiment of simplicity of sword design. They may not be the best functional design, but as swords go, I just love the clean lines of a well constructed shikomizue. Add to that the fact that I love stick fighting, and that a shikomizue is basically a stick with a blade in it, and I probably don’t need to explain any further why I like them.

But until recently I didn’t think there was anything more I could possibly want out of a shikomizue until I saw this one:

Handmade Zatoichi Cane Sword Nodachi Shikomizue - Black Damascus

Handmade Zatoichi Cane Sword Nodachi Shikomizue - Black Damascus

This, ladies and gentlemen, is, in all honesty, the most beautiful shikomuze I have ever seen. 40+” of shiny, jet black lacquered straight cane saya, concealing over 28″ of mildly tapering black damascus blade showing an amazing deep, orange red damascus pattern. A single accent is visible when unsheathed, a gold habaki, sitting atop the tsuka. It is absolutely breathtaking.

Now I realize that I may be a little biased, but this combination is just.. I have no words. A shikomizue, in black, with a black damascus blade…

I think I know what’s going on my Christmas list this year… 😀

Handmade Zatoichi Cane Sword Nodachi – Black Damascus – [True Swords]

Blind Justice…

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

Today I will be talking about a sword that I have always found beautiful, simple, and elegant, but deceptively benign in appearance. This is the Shikomizue (Cane Sword) used by the famous blind masseuse/swordsman Zatoichi from the Japanese TV and film series.

Zatoichi's Shikomizue

Zatoichi's Shikomizue

I have always admired the Zatoichi character. He was exemplary on many levels. To begin with, he was blind, which at the time, made you the lowest of the low on the social totem pole. Yet in spite of this, not only does he not only does not let this prevent him from being a productive member of society, but in addition, he actively fights (with some rather super extraordinary swordsmanship I might add) against the injustice he encounters on a daily basis.

And then there was his sword. Or rather Sword Cane (aka Shikomizue). Basically it was a sword designed to look like a simple walking stick when sheathed. A deceptive and covert weapon yes, but extremely suitable for a wandering blind beggar who did not wish to attract attention. I really don’t have much to say about this weapon except that because I have always been a fan of both stick fighting and swords, the Shikomizue to me always represented two weapons I love in one glorious package.

The basic premise of the Shikomizue, and the variations if it’s design have always intrigued me, and the one used by Zatoichi was one of the best. It is simply a classic must-have weapon for anyone into swords. Trust me. I wouldn’t steer you wrong. really.

Zatoichis Shikomizue – [SouthWest Blades]

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