A sword displayed at Fukuoka City Museum in Fukuoka is gaining popularity, especially among women, thanks to the online game "Touken Ranbu" featuring a personified figure of the weapon.
Visitors line up, on some days for hours, to see and take pictures of Heshikiri Hasebe, a legendary sword created in the 14th century and designated as a national treasure.
"Heshikiri" could be translated as "pressure slash," deriving from a legend that when warlord Oda Nobunaga executed a defiant servant with the sword, he only had to let the weight of the blade fall, because it was so sharp. Oda is said to have presented it to Kuroda Kanbei, a strategist and warrior regarded as the founder of Fukuoka.
Museum officials said the sword had been put on display every January or February, but visitors increased sharply last year after the release of the online game. People who visited the museum during the three-day holiday earlier this month had to wait for three hours, they said.
"The character that appears in the game is slim, but the actual sword looks rougher than I expected," said 27-year-old Erina Yamaguchi from Osaka.
The sword will be on display until Jan. 31.