Japanese Language Blog

Japanese Swords Posted by on Jul 23, 2010 in Culture

The samurai class has long been disbanded and the use of swords in public places has been banned. However, the swords of the samurai are still of keen interest to collectors and sword aficionados. Just by looking at the sword, you can tell the period in which it came. If only swords could talk! Imagine all the amazing and perilous stories they would tell!

The Tachi (太刀) is a type of sword with a severe curvature. The tachi was very useful on horseback. When the enemy came forward, the tachi was an efficient hacking tool. On the ground, however, the tachi wasn’t as useful. As a result of this disadvantage, the tachi was later abandoned in favor of the Katana.

The Katana () is moderately curved, especially in comparison to the tachi. The katana was worn with the blade facing up, which allowed the user to pull out the sword and attack the enemy in a single swipe. This advantage allowed the sword bearer to react faster.

The Tantō (短刀) was a dagger – like weapon used for the purpose of stabbing. The blade of a tantō is almost straight, unlike the tachi and katana. The tantō was also used for ritual suicide and was often worn with the tachi by samurais.

The Wakizashi (脇差) was shorter than the katana and worn with the katana. Contrary to public belief, the wakizashi was not often used in ritual suicide called seppuku (切腹). Rather, the wakizashi was used to decapitate the enemy in battle.

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