The sword of the samurai was truly symbolic of the wielder's nature, skill, and power. Not only was it artistically admired, it was considered the “soul of the samurai” It was literally a badge of status that the bushi, warrior class, wore. The daisho, literally translated into “big-little,” refers to dual swords that were carried by the samurai, one being long (daito) and the other a short one (shoto). Both swords were usually called katana, yet the smaller sword was also reffered to as the wakazashi. Furthermore, the wakazashi held such an importance that samurai even went to the lengths of going to sleep with them and having them under their pillows.
Another type of sword was the tachi (long sword) which gained prominence during the Gempei Wars (1180-5) till the times of the Onin War (1467-77), in which the infamous katana (long sword) took its dominance among the arsenal of weapons of the samurai. The katana is the sword most synonomous with the samurai and essentially the most popular. The standard size for the katana was about 24 inches, lengthened, and slightly curved with a clean cut razor finish on one side of the sword. Samurai even gave names to their katana because they were such a significant aspect of their lives and combat. Many other types of swords were used by the samurai such as the the tanto (dagger) and the no-dachi (extra-long sword). Thus, no standard design of the sword existed, because different types of swords met success in different situations.
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