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Swords and knives

Aikuchi:  The Aikuchi is a short dagger with a cutting edge of about 9 inches that was carried by samurai.  It has no tsuba or hilt guard.
Bokken: The bokken is a wooden sword, built to represent the real thing.  It is primarily used in training, but Miyamoto Musashi killed at least one person using a bokken.  
Katana:  The katana is a single edged, slightly curved sword.  The total length of the sword is about three foot, there are many variations.  The katana is forged from two steels; one soft, one hard.  These two metals are heated and folded many times, the making of a katana is an art in it self.  When well made the katana is light, well balanced, strong, flexible, and resilient.  The quality of the forging allows the blade to be razor sharp.
Ninja-to: This is the famous sword of the ninja.  It has a straight blade approximately 19 inches long.  The tsuba or sword guard is usually square in design, and the end of the saya or scabbard is usually pointed.  By this design the ninja could stick his sword in the ground and use the handle as a step to climb up to something out of reach, then the ninja would pull up his sword with a string or rope previously attached.
No-Dachi:  The No-Dachi is a great sword, usually five to seven feet in length.  It has similar construction as the katana.  It was best used on horse back.  
Tanto:  The tanto is a knife, the blade is constructed much like that of a katana.  It has varying lengths usually the blade is under seven inches.  
Wakizashi:  The wakizashi is the samurai's short sword.  Wakizashi blades are usually around two feet in length.  They were often carried together, a matched pair of katana and wakizashi are called a daisho.  It is constructed in the same manor as the katana.

Last updated: 4/01/00