Throughout the history of the Samurai, Samurai weapons included different size swords, daggers, spears and more necessary for different types of kills.

The age of the sword could possibly be seen as the Edo period between 1603 and 1867 when there was comparative peace under the Tokugawa shoguns. The samurai warriors used to take two swords with them when going to battle: a longer one – more than 24 inches- called katana and a shorter one- between 12 and 24 inches- called wakizashi. Taken as a whole, the two swords were called daisho. Samurais even used to sleep with a wakizashi under their pillow. Another Samurai weapon looked more like a dagger and was called tanto.

The katana did not become the primary weapon until the Edo period. It was the symbol of his status in society and the instrument by which he would keep it. The sword of the Samurai was considered as the soul. The blade of katana was on average 24 inches long, slightly curved and was polished to a razor-edged finish although only on one side. Some people say that when worn with the blade facing upwards and through the sash or belt the blade was known as a katana but when it was facing down with the scabbard suspended it was known as a tachi. others say that it is another sword, more curved and slightly longer than the katana.

The samurais used to take two swords with them when going to battle: a longer one , the katana, and a shorter one- between 12 and 24 inches-, called wakizashi. Taken as a whole, the two swords were called daisho. Both the katana and wakizashi were used for close combat and were primarily cutting weapons. The wakizashi could also be used to behead an enemy or for ritual suicide. The battle ready katana was so precious for them that they even used to give it names. Moreover, samurai even used to sleep with a wakizashi under the pillow.

Samurais also had another weapon that looked more like a dagger and was called tanto. In the 15th century, the yari- a straight-headed spear- also became a popular weapon, along with the naginata. The samurai liked yari because it is thought that while a katana could slash a man in half in his armor, slashing attacks often didn’t penetrate deeply enough to be fatal. A yari would only need to penetrate a few inches into the flesh to be deadly. The martial art of wielding the yari is called sōjutsu.

~ By Dave Lorrez
Samurai Sword Shop

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