The Shimazu family was founded in the late 12th century by
Shimazu Tadahisa (1179–1227), who adopted the surname of Shimazu after he was appointed governor of the southern portion of Kyushu. The clan prospered by taking advantage of trade with Korea
and the Ryukyu Islands. By the 16th century the Shimazu had become the major power in southwestern Japan, and they also controlled most of the island of Kyushu.
The Art Gladius Shimazu Katana has a decorated brown handle and a stainless steel blade.