The Yamato no Orochi is named for the 8-headed sea dragon depicted upon the tsuba, which in itself is an intricate, dimensional panel depicting the defeat of the great sea dragon by Susanoo, the Shinto Storm God.
The blade is forged from highly polished and sharpened T10 high carbon steel and its hamon was created by clay-tempering the blade to imbue it with a very hard edge. The turbulent hamon is a fine match for the roiling waves and coiling serpent upon the tsuba. The blade omits a bo-hi groove in favor of keeping the full potential of its decisive cutting power. The tip has a geometric yokote and an enlarged O-Kissaki tip.
The habaki and seppa are brass and the tsuba is lacquered iron and the fuchi and kashira fittings are crafted from iron as well. The tsuka grip is carved from wood and is inlaid with black-lacquered rayskin panels. A pair of brass menuki are fitted beneath the deep blue silk ito grip wrap which is both tight and well-knotted.
The saya scabbard is crafted from carved wood; it is finished with a coating of textured black lacquer and fitted with a blue and black flecked sageo cord. A cloth sword bag is included.
Please Note: Though the ito grip wrap may look black in the photos, it is in fact a very dark blue.
The tsuba of this katana vibrantly depicts the tense moments at the onset of conflict between Susanoo and his serpentine opponent, the Yamato no Orochi. At the time of this tale, Susanoo had been a wandering god who had been cast from heaven for his various misdeeds and his ceaseless agitation of his sister, the sun goddess Amaterasu.
In his worldly wanderings he chanced upon an elderly couple and their daughter, stricken with woe upon a rocky shore swept by a bitter wind. At Susanoos inquiry the elderly pair told him that the young woman was the last of their eight daughters and soon she would soon be eaten by a monstrous 8-headed sea dragon, a beast who pillaged their humble lands annually; it would only be appeased when it had consumed their last daughter.
Thus Susanoo struck a bargain in the moment; the womans hand in marriage in return for the slaying of the sea-beast. They agreed. Recognizing the power of the oncoming sea-dragon, Susanoo demanded that eight jars of the strongest sake be brought forward. Placing them upon the shore, he hid and waited.
For as much as the Yamato no Orochi enjoyed eating people, the creature loved, as all monsters do, a good sake. The greedy serpent spared not a moment and emptied all eight jars with each of its eight heads.
Its gullet now swollen with powerful alcohol, the serpent swooned with drunkeness among the shore waves. Seizing his moment, Susanoo unsheathed his sword and brought his storm-fury upon the dragon, who was no match for Susanoo in its ungainly inebriation. Susanoo hacked the serpent apart, his sword striking each hissing head from its neck; each swing booming as thunder across the waves.
When he slew the dragon, he split the creatures belly asunder – there, Susanoo discovered the legendary sword Kusanagi. He would later gift this sword to Amaterasu as his apology and she would later bestow it to her grandson Ninigi, the first ancestor of the Imperial Family. Thus the Kusanagi remains a part of the Imperial Treasures of Japan and is today housed within the Atsuta Shrine.