The wakizashi is one of the most popular swords of the samurai era. However, it is speculated to have existed way before then. The wakizashi is a very vital weapon to any samurai. It has practical applications in the battlefield. Not to mention its traditional significance in the samurai society.
Swords of Wakizashi
So, exactly what kind of swords is the wakizashi? What is the traditional role of the wakizashi in the samurai custom? Since it is considered as one of the most popular swords, what are the rest? Can you get a wakizashi today? All these, as well as a few fun facts, will be highlighted in this article.
The wakizashi is a short sword. It rose to prominence as a must-have for a samurai. From 1192 to 1333, the samurai having emerged from warrior bands of various provinces awed the world with their military skills. But their military skills was not the only feature of the samurai that made them famous. The samurai lived very austere lifestyles.
They had very disciplined lifestyles and stoic personalities. They valued loyalty, honour and bravery a lot. These attributes were said to be even more important than life itself to a samurai. Their practices were influenced by their exposure to Buddhist beliefs. Later on, the practices and beliefs of the samurai came to be known as Bushidō.
The wakizashi is a short sword with a blade length of about 30cm. The wakizashi when worn or carried by a samurai soldier had the cutting edge or sharp side facing up. The design and production of the wakizashi sword date as far back as the 8th century CE in Japan. The wakizashi was made from or crafted from steel using a unique design. The design at the time was the most viable option. It was made to accommodate the materials used and optimize their sharp edge and durability.
Role of Wakizashi
However, the Wakizashi is much more than just a short sword with a sharp edge. It has concrete roles in samurai society. A typical samurai would rather lose his life than suffer defeat or be subjected to dishonour. Literally. This is where the act of seppuku comes in. Seppuku is an act of ritual suicide by disembowelment. The wakizashi is used to perform seppuku. A little extreme? Maybe. But it was tradition and a samurai would choose it over dishonour.
Since the wakizashi is viewed as one of the most common samurai swords, this means that there are other common types. In fact, in addition to the wakizashi, there are three other popular sword types. These four of them altogether are the Tachi, the wakizashi, the katana and the tanto. All these swords are unique in their ways. They were also vital to the samurai warrior.
How to get your own Wakizashi
To get your very own wakizashi, you would need to contact swordsmiths (www.samuraiswordsmith.com). Yes, they still exist. Some with over 30 years of experience still make use of traditional swordsmithing techniques.