What is Japanese Kodachi?
Kodachi (小太刀, こだち) means "short sword" and is a traditional Japanese sword wielded by samurai warriors in the feudal era of Japan. It's characteristic is that it is shorter than a sword body such as a Katana, and thus has the same name as its own. But don't let this fool you into thinking that kodachi is a lackluster weapon. On the contrary, it was a popular choice among the samurai swords of feudal Japan. As a result, the kodachi was too short to be called a sword properly but was also too long to be considered a dagger, thus it is widely considered a primary short sword, unlike the tantō or the wakizashi which would act as a secondary weapon that was used alongside a longer blade.
The origin of Kodachi
The origin of Kodachi can be traced back to the Kamakura era (1185-1333) when the Kamakura Shogunate ruled Japan. For Japan, this is a critical moment because the region has been under constant attack by the Mongolian army. Japan can resist most of these attacks. However, in 1274, more than 600 ships carrying 23,000 infantry and siege weapons, combustible missiles and other equipment landed. If it were not for the typhoon to wipe out the invaders, the Mongolian attack would be a success.
Japan considers this to be "the intervention of the gods" and believes that the gods have rescued them from the Mongols. However, this did not prevent Japan from developing new weapons to better defend against subsequent attacks. One of the weapons developed for this purpose is Kodachi.
Features of Kodachi
Kodachi is designed to be the same type of installation as tachi, including the same type of installation. However, the difference is that kodachi is less than 23.62 inches (60 cm). This made is shorter than the tachi and katana.
Samurai usually use Kodachi as an auxiliary weapon. In feudal Japan, samurai would carry two different swords: long swords like katana and short swords like Kodachi. The custom of carrying two swords was so common that it was given its own name: daishō. In 1629, the Japanese government enacted a law requiring all samurai to carry two swords when in active service.
Due to the similarity in length and design, many people confuse the small high heel with wakazashi. The main difference between the two is: kodachi is designed to be a fixed length, while wakazashi is designed to be relative to the length of the katana used by samurai warriors. If a samurai wields a long katana, he or she usually also uses a long kodachi.