Japanese Swords and Daggers
Tsurugi: A Japanese word referring to any type of broadsword, or various weapons or Chinese swords. In Western culture, a Tsurugi refers to a specific type of straight, double-edged sword that is no longer commonly used.Uchigatana: A type of Japanese sword. In the Momoyama and Edo Periods, the custom of wearing a pair of long and short Uchigatana together, the became the identifying and most recognizable sign of the Samurai.
Kodachi: Means a small or short sword. A Kodachi is a Japanese sword that is too short to be a longsword, but too long to be a shortsword or dagger.
Wakizashi: This word means side arm, and is a traditional Japanese sword with a blade length between 12 and 24 inches, with the average blade being approximately 20 inches. A Wakizashi is similar to, but shorter than, a Katana. It is usually shorter than the Kodachi. Traditionally, the Wakizashi was worn together with a katana by a Samurai. When the two swords were worn together, it was called daisho, which means large and small.
Zanbatou: A Japanese sword that was called a "horse-slaying sword" or "horse-chopping saber." It is very large type, and the historical use has been much debated. The increased length of the blade, combined with an extra grip, would have given it dual use---as a sword and as a polearm for repelling advancing cavalry. It is believed that this particular sword was inspired by the Chinese zhan ma dao, as both swords were said to have been used for killing the horse and rider in one fell swoop, with a single swing.
Tanto: A common single or sometimes double edged Japanese knife or dagger. The Tanto has a blade length that is between 6-12 inches, and was basically designed as a stabbing weapon, although the sharp edge may be used for slashing, too.