The sword held a central role in the life of a samurai. It was an extremely efficient weapon to use in combat. The two swords (daisho) worn through the belt reflected the social rank of the samurai and embodied the spiritual aspects of his life as a warrior. In fact, the sword was considered the soul of the samurai.
The left hand was used to give power to the strikes and the right hand was used to direct the cuts. In actual combat, the samurai waved a sword with a much longer and more curved blade, and the handle was also much longer. This type of sword facilitated rapid movement of the blade as well as cutting power. During the Edo period, blades tended to be shorter with less curvature.
The katana (long sword) and the wakizashi (short sword) were worn outdoors. Indoors, only the wakizashi was worn at all times and even kept by the bed at night. The samurai lived inseparable from his sword that was his most valued possession.
In feudal Japan, religion and art closely
preside over the birth of a sword.
Being of divine essence, the sword is considered the soul of the samurai; thus there
is nothing too beautiful for this harmonious blade that ought to know
"only the silk or the body of the enemy..." (Daniel Gony)
Parts of the Japanese sword
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