Recognizing Different Types Of Japanese Samurai Swords

Recognizing Different Types Of Japanese Samurai Swords

Japan was once home to some of the most honored, acclaimed, and distinguished swordsmen known as the samurai and these samurai were particularly skillful, dangerous, and proficient in their art. The Samurai would name their swords in the belief that their warrior spirit lived in the sword. The Samurai mainly used swords like the Katana, Wakizashi, and Tanto together with their skills in the martial arts to conquer their opponent. The Samurai used wooden swords to practice specific moves and in this article, we look at some of the specific swords used by the Samurai. 

Chokutō Sword

The word Chokutō translates into “straight sword” and this was the first sword to be imported from China and Korea. The Taichi were some of the first to use this sword around the end of the eighth century. One way to recognize this sword is that it can easily be taken out of its sheath because it was used for stabbing or slashing the opponent while walking. This is a very basic single-edged sword with a straight blade. 

Tachi Sword

The Tachi sword was a popular sword of choice before the 15th Century and this is the trailblazer sword of the Katana. It was crafted by the Amakuni after the Chokutō and the Tachi sword has an average sword length of 30inches long because it is crafted to be used by horseback riders attacking foot soldiers. There are many different types of Tachi swords and some examples of these swords are the Dōjigiri Yasutsuna, Honjo Masamune, Juzumaru-Tsunetsugu, Kogarasu Maru, Mikazuki Munechika, Onimaru Kunitsuna, and the Ōtenta-Mitsuyo swords all of which are extremely valuable. 

Katana Sword

The Katana sword is one of the most celebrated Samurai swords that can be historically affiliated to feudal Japan and the Samurai class during the time between 1392 and 1573. The average length of a Katana is about three to four feet and its hilt, or grip, accounts for one-fourth of the total length of the sword. The sword has a curve of approximately an inch and this is the longest sword used in outdoor combat. The word Katana simply translates into “sword”. The Kissaki-Moroha-Zukuri, Shinogi-Zukuri, and the Shobu-Zukuri are different types of Katanas. 


The Tanto is a form of dagger rather than a sword with a length of approximately 12 inches. The Tanto of a Samurai can have a single or double-edged blade depending on the proficiency of the Samurai wearing the Tanto. This dagger was worn at all times as a form of self-defense for emergency situations.

Wakizashi Sword

The Wakizashi sword has a length of approximately one or two shaku, 11.9 to 23.8 inches and it was a common practice to carry the Wakizashi sword together with the Katana. The pair of the Katana with the Wakizashi sword together would be known as the “Daisho” which translates to “large and small”. The Wakizashi was especially used in indoor combat because of its lightweight and superior maneuverability. The term Wakizashi means “side inserted sword” and this was seldom used in combat because this was a means of punishing traitors.

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