The 10 main types of Japanese swords

What are the different types of japanese swords?

Why are Japanese swords loved and sought after all over the world? Japanese swords are indeed well made and of great artistic value.Prior to the 10th century, ancient Japanese swords were generally straight-edged and double-edged. Therefore, swords such as Kusanagi no Tsurugi and Totsuka no Tsurugi, if any, were straight-edged and double-edged. However, straight swords have many inconveniences in use, especially when slashing, only weight and speed to kill, too sharp blade is difficult to withstand the resistance of bones and armor, easy to break, so after the tenth century, when the Tang sword technology was introduced to Japan, in the Japanese localization in the evolution of the process of gradual emergence of the "sori", which means that The blade began to have a curved shape and became what we see today. The curved blade appeared at the end of the 12th century. In the Heian period, Japanese swords were still relatively straight, and there are two swords from the Heian period in the Shitennoji Temple, both of which have a single edge.

To this day, There are already many different types of Japanese swords, there are 26 categories, Produced in different eras and backgrounds,and we will focus on 10 representative ones,the ranking starts with the most common.

Katana-The most common Japanese sword in the public's impression


The katana that became popular during the Edo period (1603-1868). a design a wooden handle covered with leather or rope, and a guard to protect the hands. it is usually made of high quality steel, using special forging techniques such as bending to increase the density of the blade. 

Katana blade length is also more than 60 centimeters, with hilt length of 70-90 centimeters, but the arc is smaller, and the width of the blade is uniform, more flexible, inserted in the waist when the blade is facing up. katana is relatively short, in the battlefield is not very useful, so the real katana is used for close combat or assassination.

Katana is considered the soul of the samurai, so the samurai in the go out when the Generally wear two swords, a long and a short, respectively, is katana and wakizashi. two swords and not a strict division of labor, more does not exist a kill a hara-kiri situation. katana in the actual combat use rate is higher than wakizashi, more because of the length of the advantages, but does not mean that wakizashi difference can not kill the enemy. In fact, the so-called double kill is basically a katana in one hand and a wakizashi in the other, such as Miyamoto Musashi's Niten Ichi-ryū.

Tachi-This is an old type of sword that debuted in the Heian Period and was used in battle from then on.


The tachi is a type of Japanese sword used primarily on horseback during the Kamakura period (1185-1333). It has a longer blade than the katana and is usually carried backwards. The design of the tachi is similar to that of modern Japanese swords, but it is generally larger and heavier.The Tachi blade is over 60 centimeters long, with a clear large arc, and the middle of the blade is wider, with the blade tip gradually narrowing, making it suitable for chopping the It is mainly used as a weapon of war, for fighting on horseback. tachi is often made of high quality steel and is tempered to increase the hardness of the blade,when worn at the waist, the blade is facing downwards, opposite to Katana.

There is also quite a lot of categorization within tachi. Generally speaking, a tachi is a sword with a blade length of 60 centimeters or more and 90 centimeters or less, and is different from a katana. In addition, any blade with a large sori (curved blade) is called a tachi.

Nodachi-Mostly an alienated product of ornamentation


Originating in the late Kamakura period in Japan and flourishing in the Southern and Northern dynasties (185-1392), it was a product of the alienation of tachi in a particular period. According to popular opinion, nodachi was a specific product of the Southern and Northern dynasties, when the grandiose style prevailed. Nodachi has a large curvature, and the blade length of more than 150 cm is called nodachi.

Nodachi is usually carried behind the back, but if it is longer than 180 centimeters, it is carried at the waist as usual. This type of sword is rarely used in martial arts, but it is used on the battlefield.
The Japanese use the Nodachi sword technique, where both the sword and the arm are extended relatively straight, and the sword is cut from the top of the head until it bounces off the ground. For this reason, some nodachis were not heat treated at all to prevent them from cracking when they hit the ground. However, this shows that the Japanese have taken full advantage of the length and strength of the nodachi.

Wakizashi-The short sword that samurai used to pair with katana

The wakizashi is a type of Japanese sword that is shorter than the katana, usually less than 60 cm in blade length, and appeared during the Edo period (1603-1868). It has a similar design to the katana, and is usually made using the same forging techniques as the katana. It is used as a hand weapon for close combat, also as a secondary weapon for the samurai. It serves as the shorter of the two swords carried by a samurai and is generally not used in combat, it is shameful for a superior warrior to draw two swords at the same time.
In addition, there are not many restrictions on the wakizashi. Before the Meiji Restoration, samurai had the privilege of using their family name as a sword, but although ordinary people cannot carry tachi or katana, they can still carry wakizashi.

Guntō-Symbols of Japanese military officer status during World War II


guntō blades range in length from about 60 centimeters to 73 centimeters, due to different sword shapes in different eras. They have a similar degree of curvature to Japanese swords, with the curvature controlled at 5 inches below the point. When cutting, the maximum force is applied at this point, in accordance with the principles of mechanics.
In 1899, Japan began mass production of swords. Supply for military use. These knives are also called Murata knives. (Murata-to) To commemorate the founding of modern Japan. One of the heroes of the army
In 1906, in order to support Futong Japan, knife maker, Emperor Meiji appointed Masaichi Yueshan (Gassan Sadakazu) and Miyamoto (Miyamoto) Kanenori) is the "Imperial Chamber Technician" (Teishitsu Gigej-jn), the royal craftsman. The government also promotes Another measure is to nominate and commend important Japanese knives. As a national treasure to maintain Daquan's interest in Japanese sword. And understanding.

By 1935-1945, the Japanese Army was producing lieutenants' mating swords, called 'Ninety-five' style sergeant's swords, at the Gina and Tokyo Arsenals. The modern Japanese saber has the 3-2 style, the 9-5 style, the 9-8 style, and the 3-style. The Type 9-8 is a general's sword, and the Type 9-5 sergeant's sword, as well as the marshal's sword and the lower sergeant's sword, are also available.

Tanto-Concealed small swords for harakiri and self-defense.


The tanto is a type of short Japanese sword, usually less than 30 cm in blade length, which first appeared in the 9th century. It is similar in design to Japanese swords, with a straight or slightly curved blade, a single edge, a wooden handle covered with leather or rope, and a guard to protect the hands, and is usually made using the same forging techniques as other Japanese swords.
There are many types and uses of tanto, from daggers to even hunting swords, as long as they are traditional craftsmanship, they should all be included in tanto. The tanto is usually used for abdominal incisions, as a hand weapon for close combat, but also as a secondary weapon for the samurai who carried it in addition to the katana or wakizashi. It is also used in ceremonies and martial arts.

Naginata-Long handled weapons primarily used by female


The Naginata appeared as early as the 9th century and is a type of Japanese weapon similar to a halberd, with a wooden handle and a curved blade in the shape of a lotus leaf. It is usually made with forging techniques similar to Japanese swords.
As a melee weapon used primarily for long-range combat, it is more popular among women than men due to its thin blade, and several famous female samurai warriors in Japanese history used Naginata. Many Naginata heads were actually made from damaged samurai swords that were returned to the furnace, so their sharpness may be slightly inferior. However, as a long-handled weapon, it compensates for other shortcomings in range.
In terms of shape, there are generally two types: thinner blade and thicker blade (in fact, there are many types). Traditionally, the majority of Japanese who use naginata are women, but there is a small proportion of men who use naginata. It was widely used during the Kamakura (1185-1333) and Muromachi (1336-1573) periods and became less popular with the advent of firearms. It is still used in traditional Japanese martial arts such as Kendo and Jodo.

Chokuto-The ancestor of modern Japanese swords


The chokuto is a type of Japanese sword that appeared during the Kofun period (250-538) and was used until the end of the Heian period (794-1185). It is considered the ancestor of the modern Japanese sword.
The design of the chokuto is very similar to the Chinese swords of this period. It has a straight blade with a single edge. The blade is usually very narrow and has a diamond-shaped cross section. The handle is usually made of wood and covered with leather or rope. There is no guard, but there is often a hook-like projection to protect the hands.
Chokuto were usually made of imported metal, most often damascus or Chinese steel.
The main use of chokuto was as a weapon of war, primarily for close combat. However, they were also used for more common tasks such as hunting and chopping wood.
With the advent of new forging techniques and designs, the chokuto was gradually replaced by more modern types of swords such as the katana and wakizashi.

 Yari-A popular melee weapon


The yari is a type of Japanese spear with a wooden handle and a steel blade, usually straight and pointed, it's more like a sword mounted on a wooden handle It appeared as early as the 9th century. It is usually made using forging techniques similar to those used for Japanese swords. It is primarily used as a melee weapon for long-range combat and was primarily used by samurai and warriors for battlefield combat.
It was widely used during the Kamakura (1185-1333) and Muromachi (1336-1573) periods and became less popular with the advent of firearms. It is still used in traditional Japanese martial arts such as Sojutsu.

Swordstick-Perfect Hidden Weapon Sword


Swords are usually hidden in crutches and cigarette packs. Swordstick is usually straight, while Japanese swords' sori are burned out (mostly natural sori, but some are made to increase the curvature, but this involves the production process of Japanese swords). Therefore, Wikipedia is not very practical (it is not easy to draw without bending, and curved swords can also help cutting), but it can be unexpected.


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