Weapons of the Samurai

    When most think of a samurai's weapon, they think of a sword or a katana. In reality, the sword was not a samurai's main weapon until the Edo Period (1603-1868). In the beginning, the samurai's primary weapon would be the longbow, which was about two meters long. It took years to master and was usually used on horseback. Soon enough, basic foot soldiers became better trained and equipped so to counter this threat; the samurai abandoned the longbow and started to use spears.

    When the sword rose to prominence, it was a symbol of status and was considered as the soul of the samurai. It is also not uncommon for samurai to give their swords names. Until the Edo Period, the sword was considered as a secondary weapon. When it was more common for samurai to use it as a primary weapon, a second, shorter sword usually accompanied it. All swords had strict quality guidelines. If a newly forged sword could not slice through a body in one strike, it would be melted down.

    Other weapons used by samurai were the naginata which is a halberd like weapon, a tanto which is just a dagger, and a sai which is a three-pronged dagger.