The daisho are the traditional weapons of nobles (Samurai) of the Silverstars. They are given to a person after completing their Gempukku, and are carried by that person, and only that person, until their death, at which point the daisho are generally buried with the owner. Occasionally a single set of daisho are passed down through a family.
The daisho consist of a katana (daito, or large blade) and a wakizashi (shoto, or small blade), as well as occasionally a tanto (short blade). Although every noble will own a daisho, not everyone will use them. Bushi will generally use the katana for fighting, and if a noble commits Seppuku (ritual suicide) then they will use the wakizashi. Some bushi, for example the Mirumoto family of the Kingdom of Gi, will use both blades to fight (a style called Nitōjutsu).
The katana, or daito, is a single-edged sword with a slightly curved blade about 40 inches long, forged by folding the steel back on itself up to 20 times, creating tens or even hundreds of thousands of layers of steel within the blade. The handle is quite long, enough to hold the blade with two hands. The katana is the primary weapon of most Silverstari bushi, and is by far the main weapon used in iaido (the way of iaijutsu).
The katana represents loyalty.
The wakizashi, or shoto, is a single-edged sword of a similar design to the katana, but with a blade about 20 inches long. This sword is less commonly used in combat, instead being reserved for use in certain rituals (such as seppuku), dual-wielding techniques (nitōjutsu), or situations where carrying around a full-sized blade would be impractical or not permitted.
The wakizashi represents honour.
The tanto is a type of Silverstari dagger, in the same design as the katana and wakizashi, but with a blade about 10 inches long. It is most frequently used as a covert weapon, since it can be easily concealed due to its small size, and can be disguised as commonplace objects such as a fan.
Historical Daishō (OOC)
The daishō (lit. "big and small"), is a Japanese term referring to the traditional weapons of the samurai. The daishō is composed of the katana and the wakizashi. The etymology of this word becomes apparent when the terms daitō, meaning big sword, and shōtō, meaning small sword, are used; daitō + shōtō = daishō. The katana, the longer of the two swords, was typically employed in man-to-man combat. The wakizashi made an effective main-gauche or close-combat weapon. A daisho allows for defense while fighting or the fighting of two enemies. Also, the daisho allows the fighter to have a longer or more widespread fighting range.
The daishō were limited exclusively to the samurai class and were a symbol of their rank. They came into fashion during the Muromachi period. Prior to this, the bow and horse were considered marks of the samurai class and the sword of lesser consequence. It was during this period, too, that the katana switched from a slung weapon with edge down (known as a tachi) to one thrust into the sash with the edge up. This change allowed for a much faster overhead draw while on foot.
In addition to the pair suggesting status, they were occasionally used in tandem. Miyamoto Musashi, author of The Book of Five Rings (Go Rin No Sho), became one of the more well-known founders of a two-sword style. Musashi's Niten-ryū, or "Two Heavens School" (Also known as "Nitō-ryū", or "Two Sword School"), used the daishō in combination. Nitō-ryu is currently employed in the modern Japanese sport of kendo as a variant style of fighting. While seemingly highly effective, the use of only one hand on each blade reduces speed, and forces the swordsman to compensate through technique and strength training. Nitō-ryū was and remains an uncommon form of swordfighting.
The daishō was not normally worn on the battle field, where the wakizashi was replaced by the shorter and more practical tantō (dagger) when the samurai wore armor. The daishō was worn as a symbol by members of the samurai class. The use of the weapons individually or in tandem was a matter of individual taste and training.
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