The Japanese Katana and WWII

“In order for the soldier carrying it to feel he was mightier than his foe, that his right to win was unquestionable, he was to be sold a story about his heritage, the nature of the country he fought for, and of those for whom he fought. He was lead to believe that his interests were in line with those who governed because they shared the same land to live on and looked the same. He was taught that regardless of his actual ancestry he was the inheritor of the samurai spirit, that he was required to expend his life to protect and expand the interests of his mother land. To this aim he was given this sword and told he was a warrior. It invokes a certain romanticism, steeling him in his belief that he fights with his ancestors at his side. It looks for all the world like a traditional sword, and it can certainly kill like one, but it is innately different. … It represents the nullifying nature of fascism, which reduces an individual to a vessel for ideology and unquestioning action – the blade incites to violence. Just like the fascist ideology, this sword attempts to imitate and utilise imagined glories from the past. Anyone with any sense would recognise that a sword is generally a very silly thing to have on a modern battlefield, considering how likely you are to be killed at range by rifles, or from artillery fire sometimes originating miles away. So then this item is not a weapon in the traditional sense, but rather an ideological tool. Just as the nazis carried banners resembling Roman standards, these swords were designed to instill an idea in its bearer.It is a wonderful example of the dangers that come with fetishising and utilising times gone by as examples of how to live your life, and a reminder of how those with power will use every tool at their disposal to instill their ideologies in the common people, the vast majority of whom have nothing in common with theirs rulers at all. The sword you possess is a powerful warning to all who gaze upon it. It says, “I tried to build a new world in the parlance of the old, and now I lie crumbling and dead”.”





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