Japanese Swords and Daggers Glossary
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Japanese Swords and Daggers

Part 1

Here is a glossary of various Japanese swords and daggers, with brief descriptions of design and use.

Shinken: This literally means "real sword". It is a term used to describe a Japanese sword that is sharp, and that is used for actual cutting or combat, instead of a practice sword.

Nodachi: A large two-handed Japanese sword, often confused with the very large Odachi sword. But, in order to qualify as a true Odachi sword, the blade length must be just a little less than a meter.Odachi: Literally means "great big sword", see above.

Chokuto: This is a type of Japanese sword that dates all the way back to the pre-Heian era. Although still around in later eras, Chokuto were usually made as temple offering swords. Katana: A type of Japanese sword often referred to as a Samurai sword. To be precise, though, the term "katana" in Japanese applies to any single-edged sword.

Shin gunto: A neo army or military sword. The Shin gunto is a style of Japanese Tachi, and was part of the uniform for officers of the Imperial Japanese Army from 1934 until the end of WWII.

Tachi: A Japanese sword, curved and a little longer than the Karana. However, some experts say that a sword is referred to as a tachi when it is hung from the obi, a belt or sash, with the edge down. According to these experts, this sword becomes a Katana when it is worn with the edge up, and thrust through the girdle.


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