Ten fascinating weapons used by samurai
The samurai were a class of warriors in feudal Japan who emerged in the 12th century and lasted till the 19th century. They were highly skilled martial artists and expert swordsmen. The samurai were loyal to their daimyo, or feudal lord, and served as their personal bodyguards and military commanders. They used various weapons, and in this article, you will learn all about those fantastic and fascinating weapons.
Confucianism and Zen Buddhism heavily influenced samurai culture, emphasizing loyalty, honor, and self-discipline. The samurai, highly skilled warriors in feudal Japan, employed many tools and weapons to enhance their combat abilities. Here are ten fascinating tools used by samurai:
The katana, a long sword with curves, was the samurai’s primary weapon. It gained renown for its sharpness and versatility, and the samurai underwent training to wield it with deadly precision. The rugged steel forms the sword’s outer shell and fatal blade, while the tough steel is the katana’s core. This perfect merge of properties made the katana the samurai’s most durable and robust weapon. The sword still is so famous and rich, but costly as well.
The wakizashi is a shorter sword that samurai often carry as a backup weapon. They also used it for close-quarters combat and ritual suicide. A wakizashi is a short sword with a highly sharp blade; its length is about 30 to 60 cm. They were usually worn in tandem with a full-length sword (katana). Wakizashi was fashionable in the Muromachi period, which was from 1392 to 1573 and later. Hence, they used wakizashi along with the Katana sword in ancient times, a famous weapon used by samurai.
Samurai used the yumi, a type of Japanese longbow, for hunting and warfare. They commonly crafted it from bamboo and employed it to shoot arrows at long distances. Moreover, the yumi was a mighty bow with a recurved and laminated structure, long lengths, and heavy hands. The most serious of yumi arrows will land you closer to 200 feet. At the same time, the lightest arrow will land you closer to 100 feet.
Samurai used the yari, a spear weapon, both on foot and horseback. It had a long blade and was particularly effective against cavalry charges. The simple yari had a shaft made from bamboo or oak. It was an essential battlefield weapon that took incredible skill because of its length and size, as its length is a minimum of 6 feet and a maximum of 19 feet.
The tanto is a short sword or dagger that samurai sometimes carry as a backup weapon. They also used it for ritual suicide. The Japanese blade, dating back to the Haien period, was designed for stabbing and can also be used for slashing. Women used to hide their weapons under their sash for self-defense.
Samurai used the long staff bo for defensive purposes and training in unarmed combat techniques. They manufactured this weapon with red or white oak, almost 5 to 9 feet long. They employed the bo to block and strike opponents and their weapons.
Samurai used the shuriken, a small throwing weapon, to distract or disable their opponents. They often crafted it with metal and gave it sharp edges. The shuriken served as a sword hidden in the hand. Only Ninjas can use this traditional weapon. Samurai used this tiny weapon along with other primary size weapons in battles. The main aim of this sword was to use it after they had no other weapon left to fight with.
The kusarigama is a type of weapon, a traditional weapon that combines a sickle with a chain and weight. Samurai used this weapon for both offensive and defensive purposes. Kusarigama is such a fantastic weapon that can be used in different ways based on the art of the user. But a beginner must avoid using it most, for he may not hit his body.
Samurai used the tessen, a type of fan, for defense and as a signaling device. They constructed it with metal, often equipping it with sharp edges. Similar to a sword, samurai could dual-wield the tessen, using one hand to block and the other to strike. Samurai typically employed this weapon when other weapons were prohibited. Some Koryo still uses Tessen for developing techniques using this fan-like instrument.
The jitter is a type of metal truncheon that samurai used for disarming opponents and self-defense. Samurai used this defensive weapon with other weapons, such as a sword or spear. Initially, in Edo-period Japan, people used this tool as an alternative to a badge that was carried by all standards of police officers, whether they were high- or low-rank officers. If the jitter is in the hands of the master user, it may not only traps but also break a sword blade.
The samurai were famous for their expertise in martial arts and the use of various weapons. Here are some of the most common weapons that samurai used. Each weapon had unique advantages and disadvantages, and samurai were experts in using them effectively in combat. Hence, these historical weapons are still as important today as they were in ancient times.