Sakabato Unveiled: The Collector’s Guide to the Reverse Blade Sword

Sakabato Unveiled The Collector's Guide to the Reverse Blade Sword


The Japanese katana sword is the samurai warriors’ emblem, which means ‘people who gave their lives to the Japanese feudal lords. In the “Rurouni Kenshin” anime series, sakabato is a made-up sword with a reverse blade called a ‘sakabato’, which is typically inward curved, the edge being on the opposite curve, compared to traditional katanas. This unique design and its cultural significance from the anime have fascinated many sword fans and collectors. This guide will look at the different types of Sakabato, their history, and why collectors prize them so highly.

Types of Sakabato:

Katana-style Sakabato:

katana Japanese

The most common type of reverse blade sword is modeled after the traditional Japanese katana. This sword features a curved blade with the sharp edge on the inside, opposite of a typical katana. It is often associated with fictional characters, such as Himura Kenshin from the manga and anime series “Rurouni Kenshin,” who wields a Sakabato to avoid killing.

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Length: Approximately 70-80 cm

Blade: Curved with a reverse edge

Usage: Designed primarily for practice and non-lethal combat

Tachi-style Sakabato


The tachi is an older type of Japanese sword that predates the katana. Tachi-style Sakabato retain the elegant, longer curve of the traditional tachi but with the blade edge reversed.The swords often reflect the craftsmanship of the period when the tachi was originally used, being more ornate.


Length: Approximately 75-90 cm

Blade: Pronounced curve with reverse edge

Usage: Display and ceremonial purposes

Wakizashi-style Sakabato


The wakizashi is a shorter companion sword to the katana. Wakizashi-style Sakabato are ideal for those who prefer a more compact sword, offering ease of handling and versatility.


 Length: Approximately 30-60 cm

Blade: Slight curve with reverse edge

Usage: Collection, display, and martial arts practice

History of the Sakabato

History of the Sakabato

In 2013, a real-life parallel emerged with the discovery of a reverse-edged kogatana in Shiroi City, Japan, despite the Sakabato being primarily a fictional creation popularized by the manga and anime series “Rurouni Kenshin,” where it symbolizes a vow to avoid killing. Found in a cellar dating back to the Edo period (1603-1867), this small utility knife features a blunt outer curve and a sharp inner edge, much like the Sakabato. This kogatana, measuring approximately 27 centimeters overall with a 21-centimeter blade, is significant as it suggests that reverse-blade tools existed in Japanese history, blending myth with reality and enhancing the cultural lore surrounding the Sakabato

Collecting Sakabato

Collecting Sakabato Sakabato-Rurouni-Kenshin-s-reverse-edged-sword

Authenticity and Craftsmanship

Apart from Sakabato, authenticity and craftsmanship should be your priority: collect the original ones. However, choose swords made by reliable swordsmiths who are familiar with traditional techniques in the production of swords so that quality and durability can be achieved.


High-carbon steel is commonly used for crafting Sakabato, offering a balance of flexibility and sharpness. Some high-end models may use tamahagane steel, the same material used for traditional katanas, though this is rare and significantly more expensive.


Like all swords, Sakabato require regular maintenance to prevent rust and damage. This includes oiling the blade, cleaning the handle, and storing it properly to maintain its condition.

 Legal Considerations

Before purchasing a Sakabato, check the legal regulations regarding sword ownership and transportation in your area. Some regions have strict laws that may require permits or prohibit ownership altogether.


More than just a counter fictitious weapon, Sakabato is a peacemaker and an exquisitely crafted piece of art at the same time. Whether you are a seasoned collector or a newbie, understanding the differences and history of the reverse blade sword will deepen your respect and fascination for this unique piece.

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