Wakizashi vs Katana-Two swords worn by samurai

In the eyes of people all over the world, most Japanese samurai are portrayed as having two swords, one long and one short, on their hips. In fact, this is not a movie, television or anime game portrayal, but a real historical reality. However, why would a samurai wear wakizashi and katana? There have been various stories about this, and the one that has been widely circulated is that the long sword was used to kill people, and the short sword was used to disembowel them. Is this true?

Samurai class

The reason for this was in the meaning symbolized behind the sword, the symbolic samurai class. In Japan at that time, the samurai had the right to execute any commoner that he felt disrespected him. The weapon with the right to execute naturally became a symbol of this class. At that time, some of the samurai were very poor, while the merchants were rich and prosperous. It was not uncommon to see the well-dressed merchants at banquets, whereas the ragged samurai were seated at the top of the table. So how can you tell who a samurai is? Just see if he wears two swords on his belt.

What weapons did samurai use

Wakizashi officially appeared in the Edo period from 1603 to 1867, when the Tokugawa Shogunate organized the various types of swords used in Japan, and then developed a system for wearing them and categorized them according to the length of their blades into katana and wakizashi, thus formalizing the wakizashi form. Prior to the advent of the wakizashi, samurai generally wore only a tachi, because in the early days samurai fought mainly on horseback, and the tachi was primarily used as a cavalry sword. Until the end of the Heian period to the beginning of the Kamakura period, Japan's wars began to slowly change to the infantry, so more suitable for underfoot combat katana slowly eliminated the tachi became the mainstream weapon, in the martial arts law, wearing two swords has become a system, samurai warriors to wear two swords as a matter of pride, and then now we all know, wearing a long and a short wakizashi and katan Japanese samurai image began to appear. Then the image of the Japanese warrior wearing a long and a short wakizashi and katana began to appear.

Wakizashi vs katana

There is no strict division of labor between the two swords, much less one for killing and the other for hara-kiri, and the katana is indeed used more than the wakizashi in combat, more because of the advantage of length, while the wakizashi is used as a back-up weapon for confined spaces or to break through armor. Of course, there are some masters who have perfected the combination of wakizashi and katana. Using both hands and katana as the primary weapon, wakizashi can be used to surprise an enemy in a melee confrontation and end his life with a single slash.

In the end, the Japanese samurai wore one long and one short sword, ultimately to save face and show off their status. However, there were cases where poor samurai had only one katana and did not wear a wakizashi. Also ronin samurai who have lost their masters don't emphasize their rank as much (because the master died and lost his privileges) they usually wear only one katana.



Wakizashi-Short katana
Wakizashi-Short katana

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