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Know More about Traditional Japanese Weapons

  • Posted by:
  • August 19, 2012

Japan has a history filled with wars and warriors, so it’s not surprising that the residue would be a wide array of ancient weaponry, from iconic to unusual. Here are some traditional Japanese weapons.

Japanese Longbow

Samurai warriors and soldiers in olden times were trained to be skilled archers. Their favored weapon was the Japanese longbow, usually seven feet long. There were two kinds: the Shigetou was primarily used by Samurais and the Kazuyumi was commonly used by soldiers. Shigetou means “coiled rattan,” as rattan is commonly found wrapped around the bow’s body.

Japanese samurai armor and weapons. | Kai Hendry


A highly unique weapon, the tessen was a folding iron frame or a solid bar that was made to look like a folding fan. Samurai kept them as a self-defense weapon and would tuck them in their obi (belt) when in ceremonial attire.  It was handy especially during times when the samurai didn’t have access to his sword.



Also known as the kusari-kama, this strange weapon was composed of a sickle connected to a long chain with a weight at the end. The range of this deadly weapon made it difficult for enemies to come closer. The weight and chain were used to entangle the opponent’s legs or to disarm him, making it easier for the wielder to attack with the sickle. The downside of this weapon was that it was awkward and hard to handle.


Another popular Japanese concealed weapon is the shuriken, or ninja star dart. It was used as a throwing weapon, or to stab or slash an opponent’s arteries.

Shuriken. | kaex0r



The tanto is a knife that looks like a miniature version of the katana with its curved blade. It was used by samurai and some women for self-protection. It was also favored by ninjas because it was lightweight and easy to hide.


The katana is a two-handed sword famous for its curved sharp blade and exceptional quality. The blade’s sharpness was achieved by layering hard steel between more flexible layers. The heated metal would then be hammered and folded numerous times, a task performed by a master smith and many apprentices.

Katana sword. | malweka


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