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The chokutō (直刀, "straight sword" ?) is a type of Japanese sword that dates back to pre-Heian times. Chokutō were made in later periods, but usually as temple offering swords. Chokutō were straight and single-edged (sometimes partially double). That chokutō's design was originally imported to Japan from China. It is based on the archetypal Han Dynasty long straight iron sword with a ring pommel.

Chokutō was among the earliest in the history of Japanese sword forging. It was created before the differential tempering technology evolved. Chokutō typically come in hira-zukuri and kiriha-zukuri tsukurikomi (blade styles) which make them very distinct from later tachi and katana which rarely use these forms. The main distinctive feature of the chokutō is the blade, which is curved on the katana and straight on the chokutō. Its blades are also often confused with shikomizue. Very few examples of chokutō mountings remain and there is little evidence to suggest that they were ever mounted as cane swords.

Chokutō was less effective against other swords which were lighter and had curved blades. This is why the samurai culture turned towards a sword with a curved blade. However, the curvature of the katana required learning a new stroke, a 'draw-cut' as opposed to the older, chopping blow often used with a straight blade. Later, several talented swordsmiths learned special techniques to improve the blade of the chokutō sword. They made it more resistant and at the same time kept its original straight shape.

Chokutō in modern fiction

See also

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