Literature and Mythology

Things to Know about Duncan MacLeod’s Ivory Dragon Head Katana

Duncan MacLeod wielding the Ivory Dragon Head Katana

 What is the Ivory Dragon Head Katana?

The Ivory Dragon Head Katana is a notable weapon used in a fantasy series called Highlander: The Series (1992 to 1998). It was an alternate reality derived from the 1986 Highlander. In the world of Highlander, it featured a character named Duncan MacLeod starring Adrian Paul Hewett.

Duncan, a clansman, and the main character wielded the sword called the Dragon Head Katana. It was a sword given to him by Hideo Koto, his mentor, in 1778. According to Koto, it was a sword forged by Masahiro, the finest swordsmith in Japan, in 1592.

What Does the Dragon Head Katana Look Like?

The Ivory Dragon Head Katana shared similar characteristics with Connor MacLeod’s Ivory-Handled Katana. However, although they were quite similar, there were still several characteristics in which they differ. In the Highlander fantasy series, it was seen that the Dragon Head Katana owned by Duncan seemed to be longer than Connor’s Katana. Also, while their swords both have a dragon head as a pommel, both swords have different dragon designs. Both weapons also have different swords guard.

In addition, the Dragon Head Katana has a two-hand ‘tsuka’ or hilt. It is made out of Ivory, which had six small Japanese portraits carved on its handle. This weapon is also notable for its beauty. Duncan even told Hideo that the Dragon Head Katana is a work of art. Aside from that, the blade of this sword has a saw-tooth pattern. Its sharpness and strength proved that the Dragon Head Katana has a strong blade. In fact, this sword used by Duncan has broken Felicia Martin’s sword made by Masamune, the master swordsmith.

In the season six of the Highlander series and in the movies Highlander: Endgame and Highlander: The Source, the sword was seen with a bronze collar on the neckline of the dragon’s head pommel. It also sported a bronze tsuba or guard, with a motif of two roosters with an entwined tail. On the other hand, the katana’s sheath has a glossy black color and was embossed with Japanese maple leaves.

The Origin of the Dragon Head Katana

The katana owned by Duncan MacLeod was about 200 years old when he first met Hideo Koto, his mentor, in 1778. During that year, the two met when Duncan was shipwrecked on the Japanese shore. While investigating the wreckage, Koto, the samurai warrior, was attacked by several armored horsemen. Fortunately, Duncan helped the struggling Koto during the encounter. Subsequently, after the fight, Hideo took Duncan to his home. There, Hideo trained Duncan in martial arts and taught him the samurai code of ethics called ‘bushido.’

Upon his shogun’s order to perform the seppuku, a Japanese ritual suicide, Hideo requested Duncan to be his ‘kaishaku’ (assistant). Duncan, unable to convince Hideo to reconsider taking his life, made a vow to protect the Koto Family as long as he lived. In exchange, Hideo Koto then gave the Dragon Head Katana to Duncan, as a sign of loyalty and friendship.

From then on, the sword appeared in most of Duncan MacLeod’s Watcher Chronicles. He had also used the swords against his deadliest enemies, including Grayson, Slan Quince, Antonius Kalas, Jacob Kell, Roland Kantos, Xavier St. Cloud, and Kronos.Aside from that, Duncan also lived up with his vows to the Koto family. He used the sword to protect Hideo’s descendant, Midori Koto, against her abusive husband, Michael Kent.

Duncan MacLeod and his Dragon Head Katana

In 1997, Duncan accidentally killed his best friend, Richie Ryan, using his katana. Ryan was tragically killed after being mistaken as Ahriman, the evil Zoroastrian demon. Following the incident, Duncan then chose to abandon his katana, since it has been responsible for his best friend’s death. However, the mortal Watcher, Joe Dawson, convinced him to use the sword and avenged his friend.

Subsequently, after reclaiming the sword, Duncan attempted to prevent bloodshed. With this, he initially used a non-lethal weapon and empty-handed martial arts in defending himself against the immortals. Nevertheless, as time goes by, Duncan had come to a realization that he cannot run away from The Game forever. He then took up his Dragon Head Katana once more.

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