The History of a Unique Weapon
Throughout history, the primary uses of the Japanese Tanto for combat were quite varied. In general, it was primarily a stabbing and piercing weapon. However, this short sword was also one of the favored weapons of the Samurai warriors for close quarter combats. For Close quarters battles, The Tanto would prove to be a deadly weapon.
Early Japanese weaponry had little use for a blade
until the introduction of firearms. Firepower allowed the use of swords and daggers for concealed carry by the samurai. As time went on, and with the advent of heavier steel and iron, the Japanese developed their own take on a concealed blade. A much longer version than what we know today, the katana was developed specifically as a concealed weapon.
With this weapon came a completely new class of weaponry
These were termed “tsuba”. The most popular type of Japanese tanto was typically a shorter weapon with a single-edged blade, which was capable of penetrating soft tissue and causing deep, slashing cuts. However, due to its reliance on soft points for cutting, this style of short sword was not as effective in combat as the longer, harder katana.
In Japan, the concept of concealed weapons
was taken to a new level with the development of what we call the “kaiken” or “yari”. Japanese tanto blades would be made relatively long for optimum blade strength and then attached (axed) to a handle for a hand-to-hand combatant. The “kaiken” was eventually phased out, but never completely disappeared, and was instead incorporated into other styles of Japanese martial arts such as karate.
In Japan, the tradition of keeping a Japanese steel sword
close at hand dates back for two centuries. During the Meiji Period (circumgyration of Japan), in 18 67 the first licensed blacksmith, Kitsubata Gozo, came up with the first method of creating swords. He used a copper wire wrapping method, combined with sanding and forging. The result was what we know today as the blacksmith, and his creation was the foundation for all that is known about Japanese swords today. In modern times, Japanese swords are often still forged using these traditional methods.
Today, the tanto is a common weapon
amongst Japanese sword enthusiasts. This weapon is known for its versatility, being able to be used in several different situations. However, despite its flexible nature, this weapon is typically used for two main functions; to cut and to pierce. This makes the tanto one of the most versatile blades in existence.