Sword-making is their culture and tradition, and the Japanese have perfected this art for centuries. The most popular and famous Japanese swords fall into the category of Long Japanese swords. These swords were made in various forms and were famous for their strength. The phrase “samurai sword is the soul of the samurai” can only be understood if you know about the samurai’s way of life.
The samurai warriors always carried a weapon, usual swords with them. They have trained all their life. This is why they had to have the correct sword because having the wrong word could mean death. Samurai were from a specific Japanese group that lived between 600BC to 6AD and were known as Mononofu. They believed in many gods and thought that they could only worship them by sacrificing enemies.
This is why the job of the samurai was so important, and thus the effort and workmanship put in the creation of Japanese long swords was impeccable. Nowadays, however, there is no use of swords in fighting. But history fanatics and collectors of samurai swords know that the perfect workmanship in the making of swords cannot be found nowadays. Let’s look at the various types of Japanese long swords.
Nodachi was extensively used in the period of 1336 to 1392. It is a long sword that measures over 60 cm in length and became popular as the soldier’s sword… Due to this long length of the blade, it was effectively used in battles. However, longer length meant heavier swords, so not everyone could use it properly. Only warriors who received extensive training could use it well. Trained warriors used this sword effectively against the enemy’s horses by throwing the swords at the horse to handicap the warriors.
This sword was created in the period where rough and unrefined metal weapons were produced. In addition to the unrefined finish, the long length of the blade did not allow it to be properly forged and quenched. It was huge with over 90 cm in length, which is why it was not suitable for being utilized in battle. So Odachi was utilized as a ceremonial sword for rituals. Every samurai warrior owned an Odachi and used it for rituals and made prayers to gods for victory.
The Tachi was invented when Japan was at war with the Mongols, in the time period of 794 to 1184. This long sword was made keeping the cavalry in mind. This invention completely changed the way the Japanese fought. Its curved and stronger blade offered a competitive advantage over the enemies in the battle. The samurai warriors would hang this sword from their belt and pair it with smaller swords or daggers. It is quite difficult to tell the difference between Tachi and other samurai swords, but Tachi is a little longer.
After the 16th century, the new and legendary sword replaced Tachi. This long sword that is famous and well known even today is Katana. It was a single-edged narrow sword that unleashed terror and death. Moreover, it offers a long handle to accommodate both hands, thus allowing better reach and strength to strike opponents.
These unique long-blade Japanese swords with history engraved in them are no doubt the reason why people continue to collect them and explore them. The samurais, being known for their exceptional training in fighting, were masters of wielding these swords for protection, ritual, and death of enemies.