What is a ninja sword?
Learn more about the ninjato, the famous sword use by ninjas
A ninja sword also known as ninjato or ninjaken is a Japanese sword used by ninja warriors or stealth assassins of feudal Japan.
The reality behind a ninja is sometimes speculated to be a legend until today because of the ability of ninjas to appear in a certain place and disappear without anybody noticing it. However, some say that ninjas were real and only their stories have reached mythological status because of the belief that ninjas had some magical powers.
The ninja sword history is also very hard to track down. Even if ninjas existed in the past, there was particularly no such thing as a ninja sword as the ninjas used whatever swords they could make out of their limited available resources.
The following describe what is a ninja sword in general:
• The correct length for a ninja sword is only 24 inches making it shorter to the samurai katana which is usually 26 to 37 inches long.
• The ninjato sword is three-inch shorter than its sheath or saya. This had many purposes.
o First of all, a sword of a ninja was designed for fighting in enclosed areas as they are often designated as spies and intelligence gatherer. Samurais who had longer swords may find it difficult to fight inside a Japanese house or any closed rooms.
o It was also to deceive the opponents on how fast the sword could be drawn out from the long saya. The enemy could not immediately then prepare for the attack.
o Bringing short swords will make the ninjas be easily identified, so, they use longer scabbards so it would look like they are bringing a katana. Only samurais were supposed to bring katanas.
o One of the most known uses of the oversized ninja sword sheath is that the space can be used as a compartment for medicine, fire crackers, daggers, and some other smaller tools.
• The tip of the ninjato saya is detachable that it may be used as a breathing tube if the ninja jumps off a river and stays underwater for a time.
• The best description of the ninja sword is that it is an inferior type of sword in terms of quality and aesthetic value. While authentic Samurai sword is a highly honored sword, the ninjaken is but a weapon or a tool.
• The ninjato blade is not sharp enough to slash enemies. It is only appropriate for stabbing and sometimes, ninjas had to do it in a motion like they were using a saw.
• The sageo or the cord that holds the scabbard and the waistband is unusually longer than those of Katana swords. This is to be used in climbing walls and for some tying needs (not limited to tying enemies so they could not escape).
• Because the ninjatos are merely weapons or tools and are made from cheap materials, the ninjas could easily abandon them if they had to. In fact, one description of a ninjato is it is disposable.
• Ninjato swords could also be used as farming tools, as ninjas also used to disguise themselves as farmers.
History of the Ninja Sword
As said earlier in this article, the history of the ninja sword is difficult to trace. However, the probable existence of ninjas could possibly lead to the origin of ninja swords.
The ninjas are said to have Chinese influence. They appeared during the 14th Century of feudal Japan and stayed on until the Edo or Tokugawa period (1603-1868).
Some ninja swords came from broken samurai katanas which are left in a battlefield. According to some stories, the ninjas would just gather those pieces and remake them into their own swords.
What is a Ninja sword today?
If judging through historical accuracy, perhaps no sword will pass as a real ninja sword. This is because the modern ninjatos are of premium quality and are perfectly straight swords. The ninja swords were straighter compared to the other swords of its time but it was itself, slightly curved. In addition to that, swords of ninjas then were made from substandard materials that they are often duller compared to Samurai swords.
What are common nowadays are functional ninja swords. They are incredibly sharp that good brands of them could cut plastic gallons and wood and could damage steel without the sword blade being scratched at all. Modern ninja swords have beautiful finish, thus, they have higher aesthetic value.