If I had to describe the Cheness Kaze in one word, it would be: "Breathtaking"
Shipping and wait time: 5/5
The sword arrived here in Australia much faster than I had expected- in little over a week! It was a very pleasant suprise to come home to after a long day at work, to say the least.
This blade is an absolutely gorgeous work of art! The beautiful, subtle, AUTHENTIC, unenhanced hamon is amazing, fading in and out depending on the angle at which its viewed. And in bright sunlight, the hamon simply blew me away, practically "coming to life" as some might say.
The blade is also nice and solid, with no Bo-hi/"blood groove" (which I personally prefer for a number of reasons).
It is also exceedingly sharp. I havent cut much with it as I use it mainly as a display piece, although all it took to cut a sheet of paper was the sheer weight of the blade, if that helps any.
As many of us know, Cheness sacrifices the "bling" of the fittings on their swords in order to keep the costs down, but still keep maximum functionality. The brown ito is very (very) tight, comfortable in my hands and a beautiful shade of brown.
Underneath the ito is one of my favorite menuki(?) I've ever seen, depicting a Japanese "Oni"(demon), which is firmly affixed between the ito and the real, white rayskin underneath.
The fuchi, kashira and tsuba, while plain, are very attractive in their simplicity, and are very tightly assembled and strong.
The only reason the Kaze gets a "4" here is because I prefer a bit of "flash" in my fittings, but thats all up to personal preference.
Despite not having a Bo-hi to reduce weight, the Kaze handles better than any other katana I've ever held (although admittedly I havent handled all that many), being assertive and having what some might refer to as "presence", yet still light enough for great speed and maneuverability.
I am more than satisfied with this sword as a whole and I would highly recommend it for martial artists and collectors alike. Makes for both a phenominal cutter and a fabulous display piece.
Photos of the Kaze katana can be found on the Cheness website (I would have taken photos myself, if I had a camera =p).