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Next on NOVA: "Secrets of the Samurai Sword"

Tuesday, October 9 at 8 p.m.
Check your local listings as dates and times may vary.
(Broadcast in High Definition where available.)

The beauty and lethality of the curved steel blade became identified with the distinctive culture of those who wielded it so expertly: the samurai warriors of medieval Japan, celebrated in countless Japanese woodcuts, prints, and films. Fifteen traditional Japanese craftsmen spent nearly six months creating the sword that NOVA follows through production, from smelting the ore to forging the steel to sharpening the blade to a keen edge capable of slicing through an enemy in one swoop. In this program, NOVA probes the centuries-old secrets that went into forging what many consider the perfect blade.

Here's what you'll find on the companion Web site:

The Stuff of Metal
Why defects make metal stronger, how hardness differs from toughness, and other marvels of metal.

Way of the Warrior
Capture the essence of the samurai code of honor, from choosing life over death to stifling a yawn.

Making a Masterpiece
Step by painstaking step, see what it takes to create a samurai sword.

History of the Samurai
In this time line, follow the millennium-long story of these legendary warriors.

Also, a video preview of the program, Links & Books, the program transcript, and a teacher's guide:

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