There are times when an all-purpose knife is not necessary because you actually want and need a tool that only does a single thing perfectly and precisely. If you are in search of a knife that is excellent at piercing through tough items and materials, then the perfect knife for you would be the tanto blade which is also probably the item that you have always been searching for. A tanto is among the many traditionally made nihontos or Japanese swords that were carried around by feudal Japan’s samurai class and the weapon dates all the way back to the Heian period. It was primarily utilized as a weapon but it later on evolved and improved in design, becoming more ornate and stylish over the years. These weapons were also used in tantojustu or traditional martial arts – a term that has experienced a revival in the West around the 1980’s since the point-style tactical knives have emerged during that time. Additionally, the knives are also known to be excellent when it comes to stabbing or piercing.

Features of the Tanto Knife

The tanto is a dagger with either a single or double-edged blade that also has a length that ranges from fifteen to thirty centimeters (basically six to twelve inches which is equivalent to one shaku in Japanese). The tanto knife was primarily created and designed as a stabbing weapon yet its edge can also be utilized for slashing; the knife also has a high point as well as a flat grind that leads directly to an extremely strong and durable point which is excellent for stabbing or piercing through different types of hard materials. Furthermore, the thick point of these blades are made up of a lot of metal close to the tip; this is the reason why it can easily take and withstand various impact and shock coming from frequent piercing that would usually cause most knives to break. The front portion (edge) of the tanto knife meets the back of the knife’s unsharpened edge at a specific angle instead of a curve; this results in the tanto blade not having a belly which is basically sacrificed so the tool has a much stronger and durable tip. Since the tanto does not have a belly which is specifically for slicing, it is generally not that useful as a utility knife; however, its extremely strong point allows the tanto to be a great item during situations where tough and rigid piercings are necessary for hard materials. If you are someone searching for the best tanto knives made from high-quality materials, Katanas for Sale offer some of the best and most excellent tanto knives ever made.


The history of the Japanese tanto all started midway through the years 794 to 1185 of the Heian period and was mainly designed as a weapon for killing. During the Heian period, the Fujiwara family dominated, controlled, and ruled over Japan. However, the family needed to be protected and safeguarded from rebels and enemies who threatened their rule and power, so they relied on the assistance of professional swordsmen and foot soldiers to protect them during that time. The individuals who had served under the Fujiwara family, as well as other noble families eventually defined themselves by such services, and would eventually be known by the end of the period as the samurai.

Yet as time passed, the quality of such blades were further developed and improved which would better suit fighting or battling purposes due to the increased warring states and clans from the year 1336 to 1573. Since swordsmiths were more focused on the strength, durability, as well as the efficiency of such blades, its artistic quality and design slowly diminished.

Since there was a mass production of the tanto during these years, the blade was eventually forged into something narrower just so swordsmiths were able to create more blades out of the materials present. Before World War II, a lot of tanto blades were forged because of the restoration period when the Emperor was brought back to power; and also because of this, those who were part of the Imperial Court once again started carrying a set of tanto and tachi. After the Second World War, a restriction on the forging and creation of tantos were implemented, thus causing the manufacturing process to drop drastically; however, there was a large demand for the tanto among European and Americans who were interested in the traditional martial arts of the Japanese, and this was from the year 1960 until the present.

The tanto is usually forged in a way that the sides do not have any ridge lines like the katanas, and due to its appearance, these weapons were usually carried by the samurais for additional protection. Moreover, women also brought similar weapons but they had something smaller and were called the kaiken. These were also utilized for self-defense especially during those times. The tantos were also put into two different categories and these were called the Koshirae Tantos and the Suguta Tantos. It was believed that the tanto was utilized by women primarily to avoid dishonor, killing themselves using the weapon through a process called seppuku. As for the men during that time, they mainly used the Wakizashi to push up through their stomach, all the way up to the heart or just to disembowel themselves.

The Different Types of Tanto

The Japanese Tanto come in different types and these vary depending on their mountings and blades.

Blade Types

The size of the tantos blade is generally about twenty-five centimeters long with a width of seventeen millimeters (which is close to the tang); its thickness is about 8.0 millimeters and is known to be straight. One of the most common types of tantos would be the Hara which features edge bevels that go all the way from the edge to the back portion of the blade; there are also no separating flats located in between the weapon so it creates a somewhat triangular cross-section. Its back portion is jagged just like other types of blades which is why the tanto features an almost perfect asymmetrical diamond-shaped form. The Hara is also considered to be common because of the simplicity and durability of the design.


As for the mountings, there are two different types and these are the Hamidashi and the Aikuchi; the latter is known to be a tanto koshirae that does not feature any handguard. These also have simple wooden hilts and just like other types of aikuchi, these have kashiras that are created out of animal horns. When it comes to the Hamidashi, these are tanto koshiare’s that have smaller handguards compared to the Aikuchi.


Although smaller compared to the usual size of the katanas, the Japanese tanto is still considered as a great weapon for attacking as well as self-defense. Today, these are used to practice martial arts and for this, the tantos are usually featured with blunt plastic or wooden blades to avoid any form of accidents or injuries. There are still tantos that are made from blades but these are blunt versions of the real ones and are more commonly utilized for demonstrations and advanced training sessions. The following martial arts that make use of the Japanese tanto include the following: Aikijutsu, Koryu Bujutsu, Aikido, Shorinji Kempo, Ninjutsu, Modern Arnis, and Kenpo; the martial art that makes use of the tanto knife is known as the tantojutsu.

For a survival tool, the tanto knife is considered to be one of the most versatile knives around that can easily be utilized even during the toughest and most aggressive situations; so if you are someone searching for the best and most effective tanto that is made from high-quality materials, Katanas for Sale offers these weapons and are forged thoroughly and precisely to perfection.