Wakizashi is a classic and elegant Japanese blade. It is smaller than the samurai sword, called the “kodachi sword” in the early 17th century. Samurai generally held the two swords in tandem. The Wakizashi completed the task of the katana blade.
The length of such a sword can range from 12 to 24 inches. The shorter variant was known as “ko-wakizashi”, while the longer version was known as “o-wakizashi”. Let’s explore this amazing sword further and see what makes it an important part of a samurai’s blade set.
What are the useful facts about Wakizashi swords?
The swords of Japan are widely known. Although virtually all Japanese blades are important, the twin katana and wakizashi blades are more well-known than others due to their use as daisho by the samurai. Even during the atmosphere of prosperity, this duo was a symbol of their greatness. With the exception of the blade length, the Wakizashi was identical to the Katana in all aspects.
Samurai took their wakizashi swords with them wherever they traveled. Even weapon enthusiasts and martial arts professionals may be surprised to learn that some truths about the Wakizashi are rarely known.
Different types of Wakizashi
There are two varieties of Wakizashi made in Japan: ko-wakizashi and o-wakizashi. The former had a longer blade than its katana counterpart, while the latter had a smaller blade comparable to tanto. There were several ko-wakizashi and o-wakizashi variations.
Some had cross sections, forging techniques, unique metal compositions, etc. However, depending on the total length, most Wakizashi can be classified as ko-wakizashi or o-wakizashi.
The Daisho set
Even though the Wakizashi is shorter than the Katana, Japanese fighters sometimes associate it with a small blade, like a tanto. They even coined a phrase to refer to the act of wielding two swords in this manner: daisho. It means “little-little”, and it involves wielding both a small and a larger blade. This allowed the samurai to choose the best sword for the situation they found themselves in at the moment.
Customs and Traditions
A wakizashi blade was an indispensable weapon. According to Japanese custom, when a warrior enters a house or other structure, he must deposit his Katana with a servant. The Wakizashi, meanwhile, can be worn anytime, anywhere.
The Wakizashi is commonly referred to as the samurai’s handgun because of this. Because samurai usually placed him at the bedside table, the Wakizashi followed his lord even when he fell asleep.
Wakizashi was typically worn on the thighs and wielded with one arm. The warrior held the Katana in the other arm. Warriors found the Wakizashi remarkably useful when the size and heaviness of the Katana made it difficult to use. The Wakizashi is more agile and requires less effort to slice the opponent.
Vendors and artisans (categories of traders) who could not use a katana used Wakizashi instead. This explains why there have been more wakizashi swords discovered than katanas. There are more wakizashi swords in Japan than katana swords, despite the fact that katana swords had more cultural significance in Japan.