Japan has a long history of creating deadly weapons, commonly known as samurai swords. The earliest samurai swords looked nothing like the popular katana. 

The truth is that early samurai swords were straight double-edged blades. Unfortunately, the Japanese didn’t feel that this kind of blade was good enough for battles. 

After that decision, A Japanese man named Amakuni created the “Tachi”. It’s the first true samurai sword. The Tachi has the same appearance as a Katana. However, it isn’t curved. 

The fighting skills of Samurai were greatly reliant on the intensity of the sword they used. Samurai held a lot of various weapons, which happened through different developments in their style over time. 

These swords become a part of the identity and social class of the holder. Every single type had its own characteristics and was used depending on the type of engagement the Samurai was involved in. 

Tachi Sword

Tachi is one type of Samurai Sword. According to experts, it is a bit longer and more curved compared to the Katana. 

Many years ago, the Tachi was used mainly on horseback. The additional curve and length of the sword made it especially fit to cutting down any enemy running on foot. 

The Tachi is the prototype of the Katana. It is the preferred sword for the warrior class of Japan. Over the years, the Tachi has evolved into later designs. 

You can easily differentiate a Tachi Sword from a Katana by the fittings on the blade and how they’re worn. 

Nodachi Sword

The Nodachi is another type of samurai sword. It is big and requires two hands to wield. The name “Nodachi” roughly translates to “field sword”.

This type of samurai sword looks almost the same as the Tachi. However, it is a lot longer and bigger. Foot soldiers typically carry the Nodachi and were made as a weapon for open field wars. 

In general, the Nodachi was used on open battlefields. The reason for this is that their big size made engagement in constricted surroundings difficult. 

The Nodachi was a great weapon against cavalry. However, they weren’t used commonly. Oftentimes, foot soldiers throw the sword at the enemy.

Tanto Sword

Another type of samurai sword is the Tanto. However, it is not a sword at all. It’s mainly a Japanese dagger. That is why some people do not consider it as a samurai sword. 

It’s a small blade. However, it has all of the fittings used on swords. This samurai sword rarely exceeds 12 inches in length. Typically, users would accompany a Katana with it. 

When paying a visit, the samurai would constantly carry this type of samurai sword. They do not leave it at the door. 

The Tanto sword was mainly designed as an instrument for stabbing. However, users can use the edge to slash enemies. 

Wakizashi Sword

Another type of samurai sword is the Wakizashi sword. The name translates to “side insertion”. This type of samurai sword is a traditional Japanese blade with a length of 30-60 inches. However, the average length of the Wakizashi sword is 20 inches. 

It’s almost the same as the Katana. However, it is a lot shorter. It’s also shorter compared to the Kodachi. 

Typically, the swordsmen or samurai of feudal Japan use the wakizashi sword together with the Katana. 

When used together, the pair of swords were known as Daisho, which means “small and large”. Oftentimes, the Katana was known as the long sword and the Wakizashi was known as the companion sword. 

Warriors use this type of samurai sword as a backup weapon. On a couple of occasions, the samurai would wield the Wakizashi in his off-hand. This is especially true if the samurai knows how to use two swords at the same time. 

In some cases, warriors use the sword to commit ritual suicide, also known as Seppuku. That is why the Wakizashi is also called the “Honor Blade”.

Katana Sword

This is perhaps the most popular type of Japanese sword. Almost every samurai prefers to use the Katana. That is why it’s commonly known as a “samurai sword”.

People can characterize the Katana sword by its distinctive look. It has a long grip to accommodate two hands. It also has a squared or circular guard and a single-edged blade. It is also slender and curved. 

Almost every Katana will have a round or square handguard. The handle is also long to accommodate two hands. 

The Katana has always been associated with feudal Japan and the Samurai class. Because of its appearance in pop culture, people can easily recognize the Katana sword. 

Chokuto

This is another type of samurai sword. It’s also the first sword that has a single-edged blade. The Samurai would import this sword from Korea and China.

The name translates into “straight sword”. These swords were some of the early swords. Unfortunately, the Chokuto got replaced by the Tachi towards the end of the 8th century. 

The reason for this is that the curved blade of the Tachi was more effective. 

Uchigatana

This is perhaps one of the unknown types of samurai swords. The Uchigatana was a successor of the Tachi.

The samurai class of feudal Japan use this type of sword. It was invented during the 15th century. It has the same length as the Katana. 

Compared to the Tachi, the samurai wore the Uchigatana in the belt. Combat in Japan was always happening fast. Having a sword that enables quicker strikes is extremely helpful.

The curvature of the Tachi sword was near the hilt of the sword. On the other hand, the curvature of the Uchigatana is near the point of the sword. 

This change allows cutting while drawing.

Conclusion

These are some of the bladed weapons that the Japanese warriors used many years ago. Each sword has its unique purpose and characteristic.

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