Post by MaximRecoil on Feb 26, 2015 8:31:23 GMT
That's a French political cartoon from the late 1890s. It is too bad there is no way to find out where the artist got the idea to draw a sword that many people refer to as a Hollywood invention, nearly a century before Hollywood invented it.
That style of blade originated in China during the Tang Dynasty, and they are known today as "Tang dao":
Tang Daos were exported from China to Japan (and Korea), resulting in Japanese swordsmiths making their own versions, which fall under the general category of "chokuto", and more specifically, kiriha zukuri:
As for "ninjas", it is hard to say anything for certain about them, but it is commonly believed that the people who would become known as "ninjas" came to Japan from China during the Tang Dynasty. If that's true, it follows that they would have likely used and made the Tang dao style of sword, at least in their early history. It is also commonly believed that they were mainly comprised of secluded clans living in mountainous regions (e.g., Iga, Koga), and if that's true, it isn't hard to imagine them, or some of them, holding onto the Tang dao tradition of their ancestors long after the rest of Japan had moved mainly to curved blades.
With regard to the "Hollywood Ninja Sword", commonly referred to as a "ninjato": it is exemplified by the swords used in the Cannon ninja movies (which were the main driving force behind the '80s "ninja craze"), starting with Revenge of the Ninja in 1983 (the sword props used in the first Cannon ninja movie: Enter the Ninja , were similar, but they had a slightly curved blade). The Cannon sword props didn't use the Tang Dao / kiriha zukuri style of blade, but rather, they usually used a blade that looked like a normal Katana blade (e.g., shinogi zukuri with a ko kissaki), except straight (mu sori). For example, here's a screenshot American Ninja (1985):
And here's a screenshot from Revenge of the Ninja:
That one is a "shobu zukuri" blade style (i.e., no "yokote" [vertical line/ridge at the tip]). So even though a lot of mail order companies sold/sell "ninjatos" with a triangular / flat chisel tip Tang dao style blade (they probably were/are repurposed Tang daos in the first place), in the most famous Hollywood ninja movies they were actually more like this historical Katana blade from 1860 (albeit, shorter):