Katana belongs to Nihonto (Japanese swords), which was carried by Samurai of ancient Japan. Samurai used these swords on the battlefield to attack the enemy and to defend themselves. Japanese Katanas are one of the landmarks of Japanese culture.
Over time, Samurai swords got evolved, and numerous types of Katana swords came into existence. These swords differed from each other in terms of features, and the most prominent feature was the length of the blade and handle.
Before you run out and start buying your first Katana, it is important to know how long the Katana is and which length would fit your need the best. And you also check out the different parts of Katana so you can choose katana that fit your need.
Although the length of Japanese Katana swords varies from sword to sword, the average length of most Katanas ranges from 60 to 100 cm (2-3 Shaku), Shaku is the Japanese unit of length.
|Sword||Blade Length||Handle Length|
|Katana||60 cm||30 cm|
|Wakizashi||30-60 cm||30 cm|
|Tachi||70 cm||30-60 cm|
|Tanto||15-30 cm||30 cm|
|Nagamaki||60 cm||Same length 60 cm|
|Nodachi||90 cm||60-90 cm|
Blade Length: Nagasa
The length of Katana sword from the blade end to its tip is called as Nagasa. This property, like other properties of Katana, distinguishes most of the swords. Just as mentioned earlier, the Katana is measured in terms of Shaku; one Shaku is equal to almost 30 cm.
Historically a Shaku was a bit larger than today’s unit, but for your ease and convenience, we are going to use the modern unit.
Before jumping right to individual swords, below, we have broken down all the swords in three categories to give you an overview of Japanese Samurai.
- 1 Shaku Short swords (Tanto daggers)
- 1-2 Shaku Medium swords (Wakizashi or Chisa Katana)
- 2-3 Shaku Long swords (Tachi, Nodachi, Katana)
Katana is mainly characterized by its blades length of more than 2 Shaku (Japanese unit of length), which is approximately 60 cm. These swords are one of the most prestigious swords, and because of their popularity, most Japanese swords are called as Katanas today.
Wakizashi blade usually possesses an average length of 30 to 60 cm (1-2 Shaku). There are two different types of blades, and both have different lengths. Wakizashi were carried along with Katana, and their pair was called as daisho.
Unlike other Japanese swords, the Tachi had a longer blade. The blade length was around two and a half shaku or 70 cm. Because of its longer blade, these were used by Cavalry (horseback riders) on the battlefield.
A traditional Tanto sword has a length of 15 to 30 cm (less than 1 Shaku). Tanto are considered as Samurai daggers of short swords because of their blade length. Samurai used these swords to combat enemies in closed spaces.
Nagamaki swords have a 2 feet long blade with the handle of about the same length. That is why these are considered as long katana swords. The word Nagamaki means ‘long wrap,’ and from there, its name originated.
Nodachi, also called Odachi swords, are giant Katana swords. The sword length is so big that these were carried on the back instead of the waist. Their blade length is around 90 cm (3 Shaku), which makes them outstand all other swords in terms of blade length.
Katana Handle Length: Tsuka
Most Katanas are double-handed swords to provide ease to the wielder. But exceptions are always there. Some Katana swords such as Tanto are single-handed while others have handle lengths, same as the blade length such as Nagamaki. But on average, tsuka is of 1 Shaku, 30 cm.
- One handed Katana: Tanto, Wakizashi
- Two Handed Katana: Nodachi, Nagamaki, Katana, Tachi
All the above mentioned measurements are subjected to some variations. You can find other Katana swords having a different blade and handle lengths.
But that doesn’t mean that those swords are less efficient. Here we have given you a detailed idea of the average Katana length, Nagasa, and Tsuka. You can browse our collection of top-notch Katana swords to get an idea of what a real Katana looks like.
Finding a blade that fits your expectations is hard, I hope this will help you in choosing the right sword for you. If you find it helpful, do let us know in the comments below. We would highly appreciate your feedback