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Page Revision Date - 04 Jun 2015 12:46
Tanto - Japanese Short Blade
The Tanto (short blade, also known as the Aikuchi) is as it's name implies the shortest of Nihonto (traditional Japanese blades). The blade of the Tanto is on average around 6 to 8 inches long with the handle being around 4 to 5 inches. It is taught to some degree in most forms of Kenjutsu and Budo/Bujutsu and due to its easily concealed size is utilised to great effect in Ninjutsu techniques.
Like it's bigger brothers the Wakazashi and Katana, the Tanto can be used to parry attacks from other blades but is best suited for 'in close' combat situations (traditionally on the battlefield for finishing of a vanquished opponent as it was much more suitable for slipping beneath vulnerable spots in Samurai armour). Like the slightly longer Wakazashi, the Tanto is also ideal for use in confined areas such as indoors, or dense forests or anywhere where it is impractical to swing a longer weapon such as the Katana.
The Tanto was also notoriously the weapon of choice for failed or disgraced Samurai to use to commit seppuku or as it also known Hara kiri (literally belly cutting) which was a form of ritual suicide (not as common as is portrayed in Samurai movies nowadays but nevertheless did take place).
Picture of a Tanto and Scabbard
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