chronicles the history of the
samurai sword, which dates back to before the 10th century.
outlines the several-stage
manufacturing process of making the katana, Japan's legendary samurai
describes throughout the program what happens to the sword on an atomic level
as it is fabricated.
points out how the process
begins when very pure, iron-bearing river sand is combined in a clay furnace
with charcoal and heated to a near-molten state to create a pure steel known as
explains what metals are and
details the properties that make them useful.
shows how small metal samples
and large metal structures are tested in university labs.
illustrates the similarities
between samurai movies and their modern Western counterparts and shows how
samurai films influenced the American Western.
clarifies the difference
between iron (a naturally occurring element) and steel (a manufactured alloy)
and explains how steel is made and why it is so much harder than iron.
reports that the best pieces of
steel are sent on to the swordsmith, who heats, hammers, and folds the steel
repeatedly in order to further combine the iron and carbon, and to draw out any
remaining undissolved impurities.
explains how the swordsmith
folds and beats the steel to form a bimetallic blade with an outer high-carbon
steel shell around a low-carbon steel interior.
shows how a mixture of clay and
charcoal powder is pasted over the blade's surface to further refine the
follows the sword as it travels
to the final polishing stage, where it is rubbed with a series of grinding and
polishing stones, some no larger than a grain of rice.
describes the life of the
samurai and his code of conduct.