Samurai sword? No, knife and even knives. What they are? Part 1.
Allow to ask you one interesting question. What second word you will call to the word “ samurai “?
Almost all to whom I asked this question, without reflecting answered “ sword “. “ And still?. “ Someone remembered the code of honor, someone - samurai spirit, and one, only one person remembered a samurai knife - Tanta! And a sword - actually big knife. And knife history is much more ancient than a sword!
Besides, the knife always, along with a sword, remained the military weapon. Efficiency of a large knife concedes in skillful hands to a sword a little, but, for example, as the secret weapon the knife is almost irreplaceable.
So, we will begin with legends of old times Japanese … the Most ancient Japanese knives are mentioned by
even in “ Kojiki “ (“ Notes about affairs of antiquity “ about 700 AD) the oldest Japanese written source which reached up to now. Then the fighting knife had in length from 5 to 22 cm and was called to a tos . In a form he reminded a direct economic knife of a kogatan who, probably and is a lineal descendant of this nice weapon. Often several tosa of different length was carried in one sheath. By the way, swords in those gray-haired times were straight lines, and the word the Samurai did not exist in general!
In later times when a fighting armor appeared, fighting knives began to call the general name yory - Doce that in a free translation means “ protykatel of an armor “. They were carried outdone behind. Is later than their steel to carry also and in front, having outdone.
From such “ protykatel “ also there were types of knives about which it is told below.
The best-known successor of family of yory - Doce, of course, Tanta !
The name of this weapon is written with two hieroglyphs of Tan - short, - a sword.
On the Japanese canons Tanta has all signs of a sword - the unilateral blade shaped with obviously visible line jamon, a removable tsuba (protection for a hand), a handle braid with all put details (the cashier, a menuka, fuch) and fastening between a blade and tsuby (habaka) which, actually, and is the main sign of a sword (without habaka any iron strip with the handle - just a knife). A sheath, as a rule, had pockets for kogay and kogatana (an economic knife and a wooden hairpin for removal of an armor).
Tanto, vakidzas and the katana is practically “ one sword, only the different " size;.
Tanto in ceremonial exits was carried in couple to a ceremonial sword the Tat. Then it was called mow - a gatana (I ask not to confuse to kogatany - a small economic knife).
Except Samurais, Tanta dealers, handicraftsmen, doctors … just for self-defense carried.
By the way, according to information from Wikipedia, this type of weapon is very popular among the Japanese mafiosi now - the yakuza.
During the last 700 - 800 three types of knives Tanta were made, as a rule. The Tsuba - from a tsub, a hamadasa - a blade with shortened a tsuba and aykuch - a blade without hilt. Edge length Tanta varied from 5 to 12 inches (from about 13 to 30 cm). Blades more long than 33 cm carried the name to - vakidzas, or “ small short sword “.
Hamadas - differs from Tanta in lack of a tsuba, but has pronounced transition from the handle to an edge even if in the form of a rim. Usually has a handle braid.
Aykuch (aykut) - a knife in style Tanta, but without tsuba in general. Transition from the handle to a blade is almost imperceptible. It is the main distinctive feature of an aykucha - lack of transition between a blade and the handle. It was actively used by Samurais up to the Tokugavsky era for … striking a blow on the lying opponent who (under the samurai code of honor) could not be killed with a sword. As aykut was not considered as a sword as classical Tanta, was not forbidden to kill with it the lying opponent. Aykuta handles (by tradition) are never braided that nothing to remind a sword.
After end of the Era of wars (approximately since 1600) aykut was more work of art, than the weapon.
And all this?
No! To be continued …