Top 5 Greatest Samurai Swords

First, we need to look back in time. It seems so long ago now, but there was a world that existed with no electricity and where technology was non-existent. There was a time when life as we know it seemed like nothing more than myth and legend. So how did this once-familiar world come to be? We can thank the samurai for all of our modern conveniences...

The history of samurai began around the 9th century. It reached its peak during the 16th century when feudalism started to fade out in Japan and ancestor worship became more popular (which usually sparked controversy). The samurai were the protectors of the emperor, or shogun, and the warrior class. 

A samurai was ranked higher than a farmer and below a lord. The samurai's duty was to serve his lord by protecting him from enemies and bringing glory to his family name. It took great strength, courage and mental discipline to become a samurai...

The most famous warlord in Japanese history is Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616). He founded the Tokugawa shogunate that ruled Japan for more than 250 years. The Tokugawa shogunate had strict laws on how it treated its citizens.

The Great Samurai Swords

For centuries, samurai swords were the preferred weapons of Japanese warriors. These swords were created with two different types of metal to make them more durable and effective: a type of steel that was used for the blade and a type of iron used on the handle. 

The first use of these swords was in ancient Japan around 500 AD. This type of sword became prevalent during this time period because they were able to be made quickly as well as sharpened easily, making them more useful when facing an opposing force. A traditional samurai sword could weigh anywhere from four pounds all the way up to 58 pounds and have a 12 inch long blade. 

These swords were used primarily for melee fighting and were often given names to be used when referring to the blade. The first swords began as nothing more than one-sided knives. Over time, the metal was mixed together in a way that would make the real swords fuller, sharper, and stronger. 

Like many cultures, certain warriors or groups of warriors would engrave their weapons with specific symbols or designs that told another warrior something about them or who they belonged to. 

For example, a dragon symbol on their sword indicated that the warrior belonged to a private army in Japan around 700 AD. During this time period, there would be many private armies who did not serve a specific lord but instead served those who could afford them.

Major Samurai Swords

Samurai Swords are also known as a Katana, traditionally forged in the feudal era by Japanese swordsmiths that have been used for over 400 years. These blades vary from one katana to another from the length to the width of the blade along with the thickness of their blade. 

There are different types of blades made such as Wakizashi, Tanto, Yumi and Nagamaki which all come in different measurements as well. They have been used as tools for men and women to use in battle and self-defense during Japan's feudal era.

Samurai sword

1. Katana

A katana (?) is a type of Japanese sword. The blade is traditionally made of steel and is approximately two feet long. Kata means “cut” or “to cut” in Japanese, so the name may literally mean “cutting swords” or “slicing swords.” 

These samurai swords are used for hacking-and-slashing techniques, and the traditional samurai form of fighting was to use a katana in one hand with a wakizashi (another type of sword) in the other hand for close quarters combat. 

The katana was probably developed by blacksmiths from across Asia around 500 A.D. The blade is similar in shape to those from Korea and China, but it was forged with a pattern of high quality steel which allowed for the creation of more complicated shapes. The Japanese began to call their katanas “war swords” (??), but this did not refer exclusively to warfare. 

The katana was used by peasants who also carried wakizashi as their primary weapon. Over time, the martial arts became more prominent. Samurai culture developed around the sword, and different schools of swordsmanship developed within the feudal system, especially in the provinces of Kyushu and Honshu (the main islands of Japan). Each province had its own school which differed from the others in philosophy or techniques.

Read More: 11 Best Katana Swords in the Market

2. Wakizashi

Wakizashi is one of the types of samurai swords, usually between 90 and 120 centimeters in length. The blade is fairly narrow and may be curved or straight. Wakizashi were often used for duels, but not exclusively. They were common weapons in the later part of the Edo period (1603–1868) and into the Meiji era (1868–1912). 

With its relatively short blade, it was intended for a variety of combat situations where a long sword would have been impractical. You can find wakizash as wooden swords in the market today. This made the wakizashi a very popular weapon for close-range fighting. Wakizashi were often forged with the same method as katana, although sometimes they were forged in hira-zukuri or other variations of mounting. 

The blade could be constructed from many different materials, depending on the stylistic school and intended use of the end product. Metal is usually folded to make katana, but it is rare to fold metal when constructing wakizashi (except when making the tsuba).

Samurai sword

3. Tanto

An important weapon in the history of Japanese weaponry, it is a dagger-like sword that is commonly carried by samurai. Tanto are among the most popular types of samurai full tang swords used by the samurai in Japan. It has a long blade, straight back and two small holes to allow for lightning strikes. 

This blade usually measures anywhere from 8 inches to 18 inches long and has a rectangular or pointed tip with an edge slightly curved on both sides as well as an overall length that varies between 12 inches and 32 inches. The hilt of this sword also features different designs depending on its use such as rings or grooves running around the blade area. 

The tanto was used for stabbing in close quarters, slashing, or piercing. Their history of the Tanto dates back to the Nara period when it was used as a weapon. In 994, the Tanto was made into a traditional ornament called uchiwa. It included a small hole at one end to allow for it to be worn as an ornament on the breast. 

During this time, it became a popular weapon and was used with lethal effect by samurai fighting in battle. The tanto was also used in ceremonies and festivals, possibly in connection with Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples.

4. Nodachi

If you've ever wondered what the perfect weapon for a samurai would be, look no further. The nodachi is a long sword used by samurai in feudal Japan. It was typically taller and more curved than other swords of the time, resembling an "european" broadsword or nihonto, but with a distinctive square handle (tsuka). 

They were so named because of their resemblance to the Japanese word "nodachi". Two popular nodachi are the odachi, which has a square handle and a sharply pointed blade, and the naginata, which has a curved blade with multiple cutting edges. The nodachi was later used by samurai in other feudal societies.

Nodachi history goes back about as far as the sword itself does. With various types of samurai swords being brought to Japan from China in the 6th century, long before this, there have always been longswords in Japanese history. The sword's use has varied between eras however with some periods seeing its popularity greatly increase or decrease.

5. Tachi

A tachi sword is a type of Japanese sword. It is distinguished by being worn with the cutting edge facing out rather than down the handle, as in other Japanese anime swords, such as the katana. This distinguishes it from tsurugi, which have their blade parallel to the handle and are worn with the edge facing in (in contrast to western swords which have their blade pointed towards their wielder). 

Furthermore, because of its time-consuming construction and relatively rare use outside Japan (at least compared to other styles), these samurai swords tend to be more expensive than other types of Japanese swords.

The tachi's design is often cited as not being "functional" for its intended purpose: warfare. Instead, it is a symbol of status that some samurai wore on the battlefield. The tachi was also used as a "sento sugata", or "display cut", to make an opponent's blade dull, or damaged without actually cutting it.

As a result, tachi are commonly associated with the samurai swordsmanship and yumi archery. Tachi techniques include wakizashi techniques as well as tsuri (blade-kissing), suki (blade-kiss) and kote kiho (across the blade). The word tachi is also sometimes translated as "sword" in English, although this is not very common in Japanese contexts.

Samurai Swords: Historical and Modern Value

These samurai swords made their first appearance in Japan around the 12th century. It is traditionally used as a tool to be used both for work and self-defense. This sword is also known as a Katana and has an elongated, more curved blade with a shorter hilt. 

These swords from the period of Japanese history are very highly prized due to their quality, rarity, and expense. Many swordsmiths make replicas for collectors of art or for use in actual combat training but some blades are still made in limited numbers by hand today by feudal craftsmen with skills dating back hundreds of years. 

According to blade experts, one of the major factors affecting the quality of a sword is the particular steel used in its creation. The quality and durability of a sword are directly related to the high carbon content in its steel core. 

Higher carbon content means that it can take a larger amount of impurities without becoming brittle instead of soft and deformed. If a samurai sword is out of repair, it can be polished and re-tempered for new steel and resharpened.

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