The Masamune sword is featured in many games that I've played over the years, from Soul Calibur to Chrono Trigger to Final Fantasy.

It's a sword that is usually surrounded with some sort of magical property or regarded as something very powerful, yet mysterious.

Is there a specific origin of this sword? Is it based off of a real sword that exists today? Why do multiple video games use this same sword?

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    It's probably just one of the many references game developers put in their games for a laugh. A sword like 'Excalibur' is probably featured over 9000 times. Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 14:18
  • I'm not happy about that tag, it doesn't sound very useful for what it does, and we'll end up with a lot of questions about the lore of a specific game with this tag. This question might fit into terminology, but that's also weird. Maybe something like culture-reference would work.
    – MrLemon
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 15:35
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    @Bl00dylicious Excalibur clearly has world based lore on it.
    – dphil
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 15:37
  • @MrLemon I agree with you. I actually researched some tags before posting the question and I was unable to come up with a good enough tag for this type of question. I am open to ideas about starting a new one, or changing it.
    – FoxMcCloud
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 15:57
  • 2
    Based off of this question I've suggested an edit to switch the tag to Terminology. Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 19:31

2 Answers 2


The name Masamune doesn't reference an actual sword, but a legendary sword smith called Gorō Nyūdō Masamune. (Altough, his name is also attached to his swords, like Honjo Masamune, Fudo Masamune, Hōchō Masamune and Kotegiri Masamune.) And for this to make sense, you need to understand that Masamune isn't regarded only a great swordsmith, but the great swordsmith. You can read more from the linked Wikipedia-article.

The same hold true for his pupil, Senji Muramasa, whose name you've no doubt also heard in similar contexts. (Pupil as supposed by legends, actually, as some sources state that they didn't even live at the same time periods.)

Masamune's and Muramasa's names are widely used in Japanese popular culture to refer to either legendary swordsmiths or swords. So much so, that this has became a sort of cultural meme.

Something I see often is western game developers, who most likely know the names only through games, using these to refer to only swords, as opposed to people.

For more on the cultural side of the two names, mostly their use on swords, see their TV Tropes article (beware of getting lost on that site).

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    Manamune and Muramana are both swords in League of Legends. I still learn stuff after more than 5 years... Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 14:25
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    This reminds me of Stradivarius for musical instruments.
    – John
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 15:14
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    Thanks for the additional section on Muramasa. I always mentally group these two together... Probably because of the older Final Fantasy games. Both were great later-game weapons, I always thought they had similar names... It's great to learn that there is some (speculated) connection between them historically.
    – king14nyr
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 15:21
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    This trope very likely started with Final Fantasy, which is a Japanese game, so I'm kind of dubious of your claim that ignorant Westerners are the origins of these names being applied to swords. Mistranslations of the Japanese in those early Final Fantasy games, maybe, but my guess is that by the time any Westerners were using the names, they were already well ingrained as tropes for sword names.
    – KRyan
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 18:21
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    @KRyan Oh, they were defenately used a lot for sword names in Japan as well. But I'm speculating that since Japanese were more familiar with the legends regarding these two men, that they'd be more likely to us the trope in more varied ways. As opposed to western devs, who'd mostly know the names as "cool swords". This is all my personal speculating, tough.
    – DJ Pirtu
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 19:02

It is likely because of the Japanese origin/inspiration of many games.

"Masa" means approximately elegant, splendid or genuine (or perhaps military) from here


"Mune" means approximately ridge or heart from here

There are other games that utilize the -mune suffix for swords as well (ex: Manamune in League of Legends)

Further, there is a Japanese swordsmith Masamune who is commonly regarded as Japan's greatest swordsmith. His name has been used in many Cultural References

  • 2
    This is a good start, but I don't think this is a full answer. There's actually a real historical swordsmith by the name Masamune - how does that play in?
    – two bugs
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 14:21

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