-- Ninjato
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Time Period: 15th-17th century
Location: Japan
Common Construction: Steel

The ninjato is a general term for a short sword associated with the ninja of Japan. Modern replicas are straight bladed with a square tsuba or guard, however it is likely that this is not accurate. There is no historical "standard" ninjato, a ninja would use whatever was available, either a cut down katana, or a steel bar filed down into a sword.

The tsuba was strong enough to act as a stepladder for the ninja to scale walls, he then retrieved the sword by a string that was tied to the scabbard. The fittings would have looked like that of a katana because the idea behind the ninjato was that it looked like a more dangerous sword than it was. Ninjatos were straighter than a katana, but there was still some curvature so that they could fit into the scabbard.

Ninjatos were usually of inferior quality due to the nature of its usage. The ninja only engaged in combat as a last resort, they were primarily intelligence gatherers and occasionally assassins. The shorter blade was sheathed in a full length scabbard, for several purposes. First, a shorter blade would allow the ninja to deceive his opponent and draw the blade to strike more quickly. Second, the Ninja could hide additional equipment inside the scabbard. Finally, the shorter blade would be more helpful in close quarters and inside narrow hallways where a katana is at a disadvantage due to its length.

CE 15th Century, CE 16th Century, CE 17th Century, General Term, History, Japan, Sword, Weapon

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