I’m always intrigued by the life of a samurai. 10-12 years back, when I first saw a Japanese Samurai movie, I felt so motivated that I picked up a stick from my backyard to use as my samurai sword and started practising.
Though the practice was just a kid’s play but I still ended up hitting myself with my Katana (my stick-sword). Later to realize that this happened because of my wrong sword selection.
For samurai their sword is not just their weapon, it’s a part of them. No matter if you want to buy a sword to follow the path of the warrior or buying it just as a showpiece, you have to make a selection.
To help you with that, here is a list of different types of samurai swords:
The most common and I bet you all must have heard of it, Katana, which is officially known as a samurai sword. It is the primary weapon of a samurai which has long handle that allows the wielder to grab the sword with both hands. Their larger handle gives more stability and allows the warrior to perform precise moments.
Samurais always carry two swords, Katana is their primary weapon but they also carry a smaller sword as their secondary weapon, which is known as Wakizashi. Not everyone is allowed to carry this sword, only official samurais and swordsman are authorised to use a Wakizashi along with Katana. It not just serve as a secondary weapon. During the feudal period of Japan, Wakizashi was also used for a specific ritual suicide called seppuku.
Rather than being a sword, it’s a knife. Pretty useful when a samurai has to engage in close range combats. Tanto is a sharp knife that can pierce the armor of their opponent. You might underestimate it, but if you look at the past you’ll know it’s a pretty deadly knife and samurai loves it.
With no particular size, this is the longest traditional samurai sword. Designed specifically for the war, where samurais can take advantage of its larger size. Though, carrying this sword is a pain in the ass. That’s why they started to use this sword for more than just fighting and began using it for ceremonial purposes. Samurais pray to their Ōdachi before going to the war.
As you can guess from its name, Shinobis (ninja’s) of feudal Japan choose Ninjato as their official weapon. It’s different from all the other traditional Japanese swords. Instead of carrying the curved design, it is forged in the form of a straight sharp blade. I know you are intrigued with the concept of ninjas and if you want to be one, you know what sword to pick.
Katana is one of the most successful Japnese swords, but this doesn’t mean it’s can’t be modified. In order to increase the range, Japnese forged this new sword called Nagamaki. It consists of the same Katana size blade but a larger handle. That helped to increase the range and made it more comfortable to swing.
Not many people know about this sword because it is one of the Japanese concealed weapons. Shirasaya is a handcrafted sword, it’s wooden handle and stripped down blade might not look as attractive as Katana but because of its simplicity, it has become a home decor item. But don’t forget it can still cut you.
Combat skills of a samurai depend on the strength of his sword, a samurai picks his blade depending on the purpose he needs to serve.
Honestly speaking, I didn’t even know about the last four blades until now. I think I should reconsider what blade I want to carry when I’ll become a samurai.
One more thing before I end this, these samurai swords also look good hanging on the wall of your living room.