19
Nov
07

A beautiful sword for a beautiful but deadly lady…

A few posts back I introduced you to the shirasaya, which, for all intents and purposes, is an exercise in Japanese sword making minimalism. My kind of design. Well just happened to come across another stunning example of a black shirasaya, that I felt deserved a post. I present to you, one of the coolest designs I have ever seen in a shirasaya:

O-Ren Ishii Shirasaya

O-Ren Ishii Shirasaya from Kill Bill
[view full size]

The dark, lithe and lovely blade above is a reproduction is of the beautiful shirasaya used by the character O-Ren Ishii, a Japanese mafia boss, in the movie “Kill Bill”, played by equally stunning Lucy Liu. Now this shirasaya is special in quite a few ways. Let me count the ways… 😛

The most noticeable is it’s shape. You can see the mild s-shape that this shirasaya takes when sheathed. Sweeeet. 🙂 And then you have the almost elven sword like blade, with a large ricasso. A ricasso is unusual for a Japanese swords, but here it adds a more organic feel to the blade, much like the sword of Arya, which I found equally alluring.

And of course, the black laquer treatment of the scabbard and blade is just superb. All and all, I really like the elegance and simplicity of this swords design…

O-Ren Ishii Shirasaya– [True Swords]

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9 Responses to “A beautiful sword for a beautiful but deadly lady…”


  1. November 21, 2007 at 11:10 am

    Exquisite shape and wonderful laquer treatment, Sweeeeeeeeet!

  2. November 22, 2007 at 3:56 am

    Indeed… I put on a bib every time I look at this, so I don’t get drool on my keyboard… 😀

  3. 3 Niccolo
    April 26, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    My recollection is sketchy, but wasn’t the blade also much darker than shown here? I thought the whole thing was in the darkness of the night, Rabbit-girl (I forget her name, eh) couldn’t tell which one was the blade and which was the sheathe.

    I’m probably wrong, but that’s what it looked like in the movie to me at least.

  4. April 29, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    No, I think the blade was a regular polished blade. It might have been at night, or at least in darkness, though I’m not sure exactly which sequence you are referring to. And Rabbit-girl? who, exactly, are you calling Rabbit-girl? Think carefully before you answer, lest you get the ban hammer dropped upon your head… 😀

  5. 5 Niccolo
    April 30, 2008 at 3:21 am

    >_> Wasn’t the main girl’s assassin-nickname rabbit-something? People kept calling her ‘silly rabbit’, didn’t they? (Truth be told, it’s been so long that I can only remember that part about her… that and her awesome skills with her katana.)

  6. April 30, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    LOL Oh Yeah, I remember that scene now, that was the one where O-Ren Ishii (Cottonmouth) was laughing at The Bride, saying “Silly rabbit.” The Bride answers “Trix are…” And O-Ren goes… “for kids…” ROFL…

    While I didn’t really watch the movie for it’s cuteness, for some reason I found that exchange rather cute… Or maybe I liked it because it was Lucy Liu being cute…

    Also, The Bride, (whose real name was Beatrix Kiddo), carried the name “Black Mamba” in the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad… I believe O-Ren was the only one who called her “Silly Rabbit”. The silly rabbit thing was simply O-Ren making a humorous play on Beatrix name… Perhaps an inside joke from when they used to work together on the DVAS…

  7. 7 Relativelybest
    August 21, 2008 at 3:23 am

    The ricasso isn’t just unusual for a Japanese sword; as far as I know it’s totally unheard of. Same goes for the reverse curve tsuka (grip), which is probably more likely to disturb proper kenjutsu techniques then helping them. To top it of, O-Ren’s sword didn’t have those awful golden decorations painted on it.

    Over-all, it looks more like someone took Arwen’s sword from Lord of the Rings and tried to modify it into something looking like O-Ren’s katana, and making a pretty bad job as well. Personally, I think it gives a very cheap impression. O-Ren’s sword in the movie was just a regular katana, and I think it’s really sad they couldn’t even reproduce something that simple.

  8. August 21, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    Good points there RB, And you are right, this does have a very uncanny resemblance to Arwens sword Hadhafang… And has some features that O-Rens sword didn’t have in the movie, but I actually like these particular design features in both this and Hadafang…

    As for the reverse curved tsuka, yeah you’re right, it would probably wreak havoc with anyone attempting to use a traditional Kenjutsu technique with it, but as an independent design feature, it is actually a very useful ergonomic form for many sword styles. Personally, I prefer this design to a regular katana, there are so many of those floating around, once you’ve seen one, with a few exceptions, you’ve pretty much seen them all.

    While I am a big fan of authenticity, I would much rather have a unique but inauthentic reproduction of a run of the mill blade, than the spitting image of mediocrity. This is the kind of creative license I like to see…

  9. May 28, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    I want to to thank you for this wonderful read!
    ! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it. I’ve got you saved as a favorite to check out new things you post…


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