What Are Some Types of Real Samurai Swords?


Quick Answer

Some types of samurai swords include the tachi, the katana and the wakizashi. Japanese samurai swords are characterized by the time period of their construction. The tachi is the oldest type of sword, while the katana and the wakizashi are more recent.

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Full Answer

Typical of the early Koto period, the tachi was the original Japanese samurai sword. The tachi is slightly longer than the katana and was worn by samurais with the blade facing down. The maker's signature is found on the blade near the base of the sword, and when the sword was worn, the markings were always displayed facing outward.

The katana is the archetypal samurai sword, which evolved from the tachi in the late 14th century. During this period, fighting styles began to change, and the katana differentiated itself from the tachi by being sheathed with the blade up. Unlike the tachi, which was slung, the katana was slipped through a belt-like sash called an "obi," which allowed it to be drawn more quickly in a single motion. In the 19th century, during Japan's Meiji period, increasing Western influence caused the popularity of the katana to decline.

The wakizashi sword has two distinct types: a larger version, similar to a katana, called the o-wakizashi, and a shorter version, called the ko-wakizashi. The smaller ko-wakizashi was a popular choice for close combat, and it was also traditionally used to commit ritual suicide.

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