What Are The Different Types Of Japanese Katana And Their Purposes?

Japanese weapons have always been highly stylized and finely crafted. With a closer look at the individual parts of a Japanese sword, we can learn about the different parts of a Japanese katana and how they were made to suit specific purposes. The Japanese sword is a hand and a half sword, with a blade length of 60 ~ 70 cm that double-edged and usually tachi, although there are some other types. Here are the different types of katanas and how they were used.


This is the most common type of Japanese sword, being used mainly for close-quarters combat. The blade was usually shorter than the older tachi, perhaps because it was originally designed as a weapon for infantrymen. The katana’s hilt has a curved guard in the shape of a D and is covered with an animal pelt called Same. Katana are often worn with two swords. That is to say katana and wakizashi or tanto which are traditionally carried together known as daisho.


Tachi are the predecessor of Katana. Tachi were also used in warfare, but they were mainly used by cavalry as they were worn with the blade facing upward. Tachi have a curvature of 60-80cm, and the back of the blade was concave so that it could be worn inside their scabbards. Tachi can be worn along with katana and wakizashi for rituals or ceremonies.


Wakizashi are used for close combat and some ceremonies, but it is not considered a good as katana. Wakizashi were usually worn on the left side of the body. They are shorter than tachi and do not feature both sharp blade and curve like their middle-sized counterparts. They are used side-by-side with tachi.


The ken is a large curved sword and one of the ceremonial swords used in kendo. Ken has a blade length of about 60cm if it was used for war, but if used for ceremonies or rituals, their blade length would be about 40cm. Ken have been used by warriors since the Edo period, although not much information is available about its origins. It has both concave and convex parts on the blade and is also known as mei-bari.


Jitte are all rounded circular hand, which is attached to a handle. It can be used for close and mid-range combat. The jitte was used in Benkei and the samurai who fought in uchigatana during the Edo period. In addition to its use in martial arts, jitte is also believed to have been used as a weapon as well as a ceremonial container.