Bark River Tweaks Japanese Tanto with the Shinegami

Bark River‘s latest release is the Shinegami Tanto, their interpretation of the historical Japanese tanto blade. The Shinegami institutes some tweaks to its historical inspiration while remaining faithful to the overall spirit.

Historical accuracy is part of BRK’s remit, whether they’re recreating knives from early American makers or, as with the Shinegami, channeling bladecraft that’s over 700 years old. To that end, the blade shape itself may not scream ‘tanto’ to those who were introduced to the style through its distant descendant, the so-called “American tanto.” The Japanese tanto is a curved blade that runs out to a fortified, almost bullnose-style tip, albeit one that lacks the distinct secondary edge of the American variety.

Naturally, in an age before mass production, historical tanto blades varied in length. According to BRK, the standard for measuring how long one should be was the forearm length of the user. Here, they kept things simpler and settled on a 9-inch cutting edge. The blade steel is CPM-3V – a common choice for Bark River that gives the Shinegami a truckload of toughness and shock resistance, and helps it perform the outdoors cutting chores it will likely be pressed into by those who want to use their new BRK.

Other than obvious differences inherent in bringing a historical design to modern production, the biggest tweak BRK implemented on the Shinegami was to turn this particular tanto into a full tang design. Most Japanese swords of the time used modified full or stick tang construction. The swap to the full tang brings the Shinegami in line both with other BRK knives and with modern fixed blades in general. The Shinegami comes with a leather sheath and weighs 16.65 oz.

As expected, BRK is running the Shinegami production with all sorts of different handle materials. Thus prices will vary, but a black canvas Micarta model will run just under $300. The Shinegami is available now.

Knife in Featured Image: Bark River Shinegami