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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What is a Wakizashi?

Wakizashi were traditionally worn by Japanese samurai with a katana as part of the daisho – the “big sword” and “little sword” pair. The wakizashi was the close-range blade, used when the samurai had to fight in confined spaces or when he needed a backup weapon. Wakizashi are shorter than katana, with a blade length ranging from 30 to 60 cm. They were often worn tucked into the belt with the edge up, but could also be worn as a belt around the waist. Wakizashi were made using the same methods as katana, and their designs were often similar. However, because they were not intended for outdoor use, wakizashi tended to be less ornate than their longer counterparts. Wakizashi fell into disuse after the Meiji Restoration in 1868, when the carrying of swords was banned. However, they remain an important part of Japanese culture, and many families still have inherited wakizashi that are passed down from generation to generation.