Tachi Sword – Traditionally Made Swords

Name:  Tachi
Blade Length: 60 to 80 cm
Handle Length: 26-35 cm
Weight: 1.1 – 1.5 kg
Used By: Samurai Class of Feudal Japan; Cavalry
Function: Used by cavalry for battle
Place of Origin: Japan
Date Produced: Koto period before 1596
Special Features: Has two hangers that allows the sword to be worn horizontally with the cutting edge down

History of Tachi Sword

Tachi was a traditional sword worn by the Samurai class of feudal Japan. Japanese Tachi preceded the development of the Katana. Katana started being used during the end of the 12th century. Tachi sword is similar to Katana with some few exceptions. One glaring difference is on the way that these swords were worn. Tachi was worn with cutting edge down and Katana was worn cutting edge up. The Tachi sword was said to be effective when carried in cavalry.

Size Matters

Tachi that are short and closer to the size of wakizashi are referred to as kodachi. The longest known Samurai tachi in existence was constructed for ceremonial purposes. In the 1600s, many of these blades were converted into Katana by cutting off the original tang.  Suffice to say that this Japanese sword has a more curved blade than that of a katana.

Tachi Sword

Tachi Uses

The uchigatana was derived from this sword. Because of these swords close resemblance identifying them depends on the way these are worn. The Mongol successfully invaded Japan which prompted swordsmiths to produce thicker and wider tachi. High ranking warriors who became the ruling class wore this sword with the edge down.  With the rise of Statism in Showa, Japan and its right wing political ideologies, swords were worn with the cutting edge down.

Tachi Unknown Facts

When the katana became more popular than this sword it was relegated for being used during ceremonies held in court. This sword was richly decorated with traditional cord wrappings with special designed handle. This sword was worn by horsemen.  Because of its strong curved blade it was easy to use this sword for slicing. Even if this was a long sword it was light enough to be carried in just one hand. Its hilt can be held together with both hands though. Not all kinds of this sword were of standard size and it can comes in various styles, shapes and sizes.

Swords of this kind that are on display on museum have chips along the back of the sword. The cutting edge looks untouched while the blade is mirror polished.  Experts were impressed with the ability of this sword to allow Samurai in making the smallest move to use this sword to kill their enemy. The blunt end of this sword was use to hit the enemy while the cutting edge was used to cut them down.

Methods use for this sword allows the user to maneuver it in an opening with weak point. This will allow the user to stab or cut his enemy. Some of the methods used look similar to the medieval Western style of using half sword for grappling. Using the sword to lock up an opponent was also a method taught to users of this Japanese long sword.

Tachi vs Katana

There was different emphasis on the way that these swords were used. The Tachi sword was also used to be worn together with an Auxuliary sword as a backup or close range personal arm. The Tachi was created before the Katana. and until the arrival of the Katana, Tachi was a preferred choice by many Samurai. It would be safe to say that those who belong to the upper class favor the use of this sword. The biggest difference between these two is that the Katana was used for combat on foot while this sword was used by cavalry mounted on horses during combat. Mostly The katana has a shorter tsuka with some exemptions. Kissaki for the katana was longer to enhance the cut and pierce ability against armor. However, the Tachi sword kissaki is generally small to fit between the gaps of armor, and the blade is has more curve than the traditional Katana.

Personal Connection to Japan

A Japanese sword is a made from nature’s elements: earth, wind, fire and water and constructed with human hands. There are no culture that has developed their sword to a level of technological excellence while at the same time giving importance to the sword spiritual side. To this day, swordsmiths aim to recreate pieces of art that are forged according to the methods used by masters of long ago. This is an art that continuous to evolve. It is an art form that continues to thrive because there is respect in the new generations as well as those who belong to eras gone by. Swords like the Tachi are unique symbols of modern day warriors. A lot of sword enthusiastic are looking for Tachi swords to add uniqueness to their collection.