Why do samurais carry two swords?
Watched a couple of shows and movies with samurais and I was just wondering why they always carry two swords with them.
- ShienaranLv 79 years agoFavorite Answer
To my understanding, basically, the small sword was a status symbol of rank for Samurai. It showed that they were servants of the emperor or in later cases the Shogun and his representatives. Technically, a samurai's life was at the mercy of his daimyo or warlord. The daimyo can demand the samurai take his own life at anytime by committing seppuku or ritual suicide to show his devotion to his daimyo. In exchange for this, a Samurai held certain privileges in Japanese civilian society and pretty much got away with anything short of murder because their special status allows it. The two swords was a badge of first class citizenship. Hence only the Samurai were allowed to carry two swords as a symbol of their way of life, the longer one for fighting their enemies and the other shorter one for fighting indoors and also for taking their own life. After all, it is quite difficult to try to commit hara kiri with a katana, the shorter wakizashi is more convenient. They are also forbidden from entering a Daimyo's house or be in the presence of the Shogun or the Emperor while carrying a katana, the wakizashi however, is allowed due to their status as Samurai, so this can also serve as an indoor weapon. Think of it this way, the difference between a commissioned officer and an enlisted infantry soldier or a private in the modern infantry army today is that the officer is usually issued a pistol and a rifle while the ordinary grunts are usually just issued a rifle. When an officer enters an office building, he usually doesn't go around the office carrying a rifle on his shoulders, but he can carry a sidearm strapped to a holster in his hip anytime indoors or outdoors.
- BonLv 69 years ago
Actually, two swords is the minimum. In addition to the katana and wakizashi, they also carried a shorter tanto which is similar in function to the combat knives used by the SpecOps soldiers of today. In times of war, it was common practice for a samurai to carry more than 1 long sword because swords could break - even a samurai sword.
Why 2 swords? Because in the minds of the Japanese, a long sword is an offensive weapon and the short sword a defensive weapon and anyone can carry a short short for self-defense. For much of their history before the Tokugawa Shogunate came into power, Japan was recked by incessant civil war and banditry was very widespread in the countryside. So, even an authoritarian feudal government could not begrudge a commoner from wearing a short sword.
However, the long sword was a different matter. A katana is not only very expensive, but requires a great deal of training to wield it properly. A such, only a samurai could afford one and have the training to use it. So, it became a symbol of the warrior class. In certain situations, a samurai may be required to relinguish his katana such as when being presented before a nobleman or a great lord. But he would not be expected to handover his wakizashi or tanto.
- YamakageLv 59 years ago
Actually, that is not entirely correct. In the early Edo period, commoners (artisan, trademan, merchant, etc.) were allowed to carry short swords. The Tokugawa Shogunate issued several orders governing the length and conditions under which commoners could carry swords. Commoners were allowed to carry short swords as a result of these policies (the laws established a maximum length of the sword they could carry)...so basically commoners were allowed to wear short swords and this was not an exclusive right of the samurai.
As for wearing daisho (long and short sword together), this practice began sometime in the Momoyama period (though some suggest it was done as far back as the Muromachi period), but as to why this style emerged isn't known exactly. Prior to that it was more common to wear a tanto, particularly on the battlefield, but it has often been assumed the wearing of a wakizashi/shoto came into practice since it was more practical for fighting indoors. So to have both essentially provided the samurai with the capacity to fight effectively both inside and outside. The wearing of daisho become more formalized during the Edo period, and samurai were required to wear them during official duty.
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- 4 years ago
The longer sword ( katana ) was the fighting sword and was lethal in the hands of a samurai warrior. It was specially forged in a manner which allowed a finely honed sharp blade with the strength of harder steel by combining different types of steel The sword was a two handed weapon designed to achieve a high impact rate but they were used to slice rather than hack. As a result of training since a teenager they learnt combinations of strokes, some of which were feints to open up the defences of the opponent, and it is reported that a competent warrior could segment a body depending upon what opening an opponent presented. The shorter sword was more like a dagger but its sole purpose was for the owner to commit Hari Kiri for males and seppuku for woman The male version was to plunge the sword into the abdomen drag it sideways through the intestines and then upwards. If that was done bravely he would lean forward and his second would decapitate him. In the case of a woman she would drive it up from the windpipe into the brain. The Movie Shogun and the book of the same name is well worth a look and read. The book goes into greater detail than the movie does.
- Anonymous5 years ago
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Why do samurais carry two swords?
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- Anonymous4 years ago
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Carrying two swords was the mark of a samurai, a priviledged class particularly in the Edo Period. The longer blade was the Katana which was a samurai's principle fighting blade - though they'd make use of a variety of weapons such as spear, bow, and gun from the mid-16th century onward. The shorter blade was either a short sword Wazikashi or short dagger Tanto. This blade could be used for a variety of purposes: *in close-quarters fighting where a Katana would be at a disadvantage *as a last measure of protection/defense - samurai would sometimes be required to surrender their weapons when meeting with rivals or lords but would allowed to carry their smaller blade which in case of treachery they could make use of. *protection at night - samurai often slept with either the wakizashi or tanto under the pillow or close at hand in case of attack *for throwing - musashi miyamoto used the wakizashi for this purpose *fighting style with two swords - again Miyamoto used this style of fighting using both the katana and wakizashi *seppeku: ritual suicide. Generally the tanto was used for this grisly operation of cutting the guts open *claiming heads - wakizashi was often used to "collect" the heads of fallen foes
- ?Lv 54 years ago
samurais carry swords
- 6 years ago
qu for all .......... has there been a case of a samurai that carried only one sword do to there rank in life ?
- DJ 7r3kn0Lv 59 years ago
mainly they have 1 n a dagger...
sometyms it's a big 1 n small 1
other carry 2 big swords...i think it has 2 do with rankings