Tanto refers to Japanese swords with blades up to 30 centimeters long, There are also some more realistic colorful tanto lengths in the upper 30CM range. made in a style distinct from wakizashi, which first appeared in the 9th century.There are many different types of tanto, and many different uses for them, ranging from daggers to hunting knives, and anything that is traditionally crafted can be categorized as a tanto. The Japanese samurai we know as hara-kiri is also usually done with tanto.
There are four main types of tanto: Kwaiden, which are small daggers without a hilt, usually carried in the folds of a kimono. Aikuchi, a type of dagger that is more effective than the former, はみだしつば, a dagger with a half-sized tsuba, and よろいどおし, a short, wide-backed, tapered blade used to break through rattan armor, were mostly carried by high-ranking samurai and women as a means of self-defense.
What is a tanto used for?
Tanto was originally used as a samurai's self-defense, and soon became known as one of the standards of the samurai class due to the small size of the tanto, which made it easier to make to exquisite perfection. It is common to see Japanese movies and TV shows showing samurai with a tanto slung around their waist and a fan in their hand. Most of the time the tanto was rarely used on the battlefield, but certain war periods saw derivatives such as the すんのびたんとう and よろいどおし with a clear tactical purpose.For example, すんのびたんとう is usually attached to the right arm, and when close to the enemy, it is quickly pulled out and used with the left hand. There are also the familiar Japanese assassins who use the tanto in melee sneak attacks.
Why did samurai carry a tanto?
For the samurai, the tanto was generally used for harakiri. Since the total length of the tanto was no more than 30 centimeters, and the ratio of handle to blade length was one to four, the actual penetration into the abdomen was not very deep, and the location of the harakiri was usually not fatal enough to kill, so the samurai did not die immediately after the harakiri, but still needed to be accompanied by the Kaishakuhito, which was used for ending the harakiri with a long sword.