Samurai swords

The culture of Japan is known as the “culture of sword-blade and the brush” since there is no country where the martial arts traditions were so much closely intertwisted with the widely-spread culture of spirit and art, such as painting, calligraphy, versification. That’s interesting but the art of sword-blade weapon manufacturing has not been acknowledged as the high art  anywhere as in Japan to make people get astonished so far in every corner of the world. Thus, the art of mastering such weapon has been brought to the extent as never done in any of countries. This relates to any weapon, whether it is the sword, poleaxe or spears and the short blade weapon.

Due to regular wars and military conditions a plenty of weapons were made and used in Japan to ХІІІ century. The most popular for the Samurai warriors was the sword, though.

There were several types of samurai swords classified by the length as follow:

Daito is a long sword, traditionally used in Japan. The blade is 24 inch in length. Daito was used by the Samurais only. This type of swords includes also:

⇒Nodachi, which is a long Japanese sword. Nodachi was used at the battlefield as the infantry weapon to defeat horsemen and the skilled Samurais were able to defeat the opponent and the horse in a single stroke with a spear. Nodachi was not used for the close combat. Instead, it was dropped out and other kinds of weapon were used, shorter and lighter;




Shoto is a short sword of Samurais. The blade of the shoto is about 24 inch in length. Shoto was used by the Samurais as the auxiliary weapon. Shoto was afforded by anyone who did not belong to the class of Samurais, as farmers, merchants and other class of people. This type of weapon includes:




Daisho is the pair of swords used by the Samurai. It includes daito and Shoto as one. This type of weapon is not katana and wakizashi, though used as tachi and katana, the shoto is katana.

Japanese daggers:

⇒Tanto is one of traditional swords in Japan used by Samurai class warriors back in the feudal Japan;

⇒Kwayken is the variety of tanto, though it was used predominantly in premises where the dagger was more convenient than swords due to its size. Currently, the kwayken is included into the list of wedding gifts for the bride in Japan;

⇒Aikuchi is the most popular variety of dagger in Japan. It has slightly curved one-side-edged blade of 4 to 12 inch in length. The smooth shift from the haft to the blade was the typical feature of aikuchi daggers.


In the medieval Japan the weapon could tell a lot about its owner and people could judge about the particular person, including his/her class, the school of martial arts he or she represented, the financial state, the service status and a lot more based upon the variety of the weapon they would wear.

The Japanese swords did not disappear as the institution of Samurai did. Yet, there are plenty of people who aspire and do study the martial arts (for example, Kendo and Iaido schools which train martial arts based on swords only), the collectors who just get the swords and keep them at home and merely people who are interested in Japanese culture and martial arts weapon.


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