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Five Most Popular Types of Japanese Samurai Swords

The Samurai was also known as “bushi,” were a class of warriors that emerged in the tenth century CE in Japan, and warriors of the ruling first class wore Japanese samurai blades. The Samurai performed military service until the nineteenth century CE. The Samurai used different kinds of weapons, for example, bows and arrows, guns, and spears; however, their symbol and the key weapon were the swords. Japanese samurai swords were prestigious for the craftsmanship, which created strong and solid yet flexible bent steel edges with a solitary, super-sharp cutting edge. Numerous swords were deadly weapons as well as family legacies of Samurai, and a few Japanese medieval swords are even recorded as official National Treasures of Japan. Japanese swords can be categorized according to their shape, size, and their field of use. Here are the five most famous kinds of Japanese samurai swords:

Katana:  

During Japan’s Kamakura Period (1185 to 1333), the primary notice of the word “katana” occurred. During the Muromachi period, Katana created between “1392-1573”, it became the most legendary sword in Japanese history. It was historically associated with the Samurai class of ancient and feudal Japan. The first Samurai weapons katana was a type of weapon with a straight blade; by using Katana, samurai warriors were competent to fight and save from attacks of Mongols and other different groups. The Best Katana Swords were eminent for its sharpness and unbelievable cutting ability. It was generally worn with the sharp edge facing upwards that permits the wearer to take out the blade and strike the opponent in only one move.

Katana can also scalled daito among Western sword lovers. A single-edged blade characterizes the Katana with a squared guard and a two-handed hilt. It has a long blade and long grip that is made to hold appropriately with two hands and strike from an enormous distance. This Japanese sword has a curved blade no longer than 60- 73 centimeters. It was different from all types of Samurai swords because it had a different set of dimensions and measurements it would measure 3 to 4 feet in absolute length.    

Wakizashi:

Another traditional sword wielded and used by samurai warriors in feudal Japan is Wakizashi, which means a side-inserted sword in Japanese. This sword was commonly worn by the Samurai all the time together with the Katana and acted as a side weapon; however, it might be worn by classes other than the Samurai as a single word. The two swords Wakizashi and Katana, pair up to Daishō, which translates “large and small.” The Wakizashi was also known as Katana’s companion sword, and it was quite similar to Katana in most aspects but shorter in size. These two swords were considered as symbols of the Samurai’s integrity.

If any warrior lost or broke his Katana during combat, this sword was used as a backup sword, and he can uncover his Wakizashi. This sharp edge was utilized in battle by the Samurai to behead their opponents or commit ritual suicide or Seppuku. People refer to Wakizashi as an “Honor Blade” because of its utilization in samurai suicides. Samurai used this sword in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was a curved blade with a typical length falling somewhere in the range of 40 and 60 cm. It was particularly appropriate for indoor combat.

Tanto:

Tanto is a type of Japanese dagger technically not qualifying in the category of blades. The Tanto was invented partially through the Heian period. The samurai class of feudal Japan used it. The Tanto sword is one of the most established and oldest Samurai weapons by Japanese and enthusiasts of Japanese history.

 It could have a single or double edge sword no more than 12 inches of length. The sword is straight instead of curved, and it usually goes together with a Katana. The primary purpose of designing a Tanto was to be used as a stabbing instrument, but the pretty sharp edge can be used to cut and slash. It was the custom that the wearers don’t have to leave Tanto at the door of a castle or palace but bring this sword as a self-defense weapon. Sometimes women carried a small Tanto called a kaikeny for self-protection. Tanto with blunt wooden blades was also used to rehearse hand to hand fighting and practice martial arts.

Tachi:

Historians supposed that Japanese swordsmiths created the Tachi in the Koto period. A Tachi was a kind of Japanese blade worn by the Samurai class of feudal Japan. It is important to note that the Tachi was supposed to be the predecessor to the Katana. Before the 13th century, the sword of any type made for Samurais used on horseback. It was incredibly helpful for warriors who were not riding. The Tachi was the favorite weapon of Japan’s elite warrior class.

The word Tachi means “The soul of bushi.” A sword which was slightly longer and curved blade than the Katana. The bend to the blade made it especially fit to cutting down any foe soldier. Japanese Tachis highlighted this sharp blade length of 27 to 31 inches. It was a long sword; it was sufficiently light to be handled with one hand.

Chokuto:

Chokuto was among the earliest kind of swords in the history of the Japanese. Its basic techniques and style were likely developed from similar swords of ancient China and brought into Japan by way of Korea before the 10th century. The Mongol Empire used a curved blade that was helpful and more effective in fights than the blade of Chokuto, which was completely straight. The Kamakura Shogunate warriors were defeated because they were using straight-bladed swords. 

The characteristics of the Chokuto was the single straight blade like ancient Chinese swords found in China. Such swords were called Tachi till the Heian period. The two best-known styles of these swords were Hira-Zukuri and Kiriha-Zukuri Tsukurikomi. This sword was used on foot for stabbing and slashing the enemy.

Reference:
Swords Kingdom

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