The Japanese wakizashi is a traditional Japanese short sword that was usually carried by samurai along with the katana. The wakizashi was used when the samurai had to defend himself in narrow places or when he was inside and could not draw his katana. The wakizashi was also used for ritual seppuku (suicide). The wakizashi has a shorter blade than the katana, usually measuring between 12 and 24 inches. The word “wakizashi” literally means “side-inserted sword”, referring to the way it was traditionally carried. Today, the wakizashi is still carried by some members of the Japanese police force and is considered a ceremonial weapon. It is also occasionally used in martial arts training.
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