Kaiken (dagger)

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Japanese kaiken/kwaiken style tanto.

A kaiken (懐剣?, prior to modern orthographic reform kwaiken (pocket knife);[1] also futokoro-gatana) is an 8–10 inches (20–25 cm) long, single or double-bladed dagger[2] without ornamental fittings housed in a plain mount, formerly carried by men and women of the samurai class in Japan. It was useful for self-defense in indoor spaces where the long katana and intermediate wakizashi were inconvenient. Women carried them in their kimono either in a pocket like fold (futukoro) or in the sleeve (tamoto)[3] for self-defense and for ritual suicide by slashing the veins in the left side of the neck.[4][5] When a samurai woman married, she was expected to carry a kaiken with her when she moves to her husband's house to live.[6]


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References[edit]

Nishio Minoru, Iwabuchi Etsutarō, Mizutani Shizuo, ed. (1985). Iwanami Kokugo Jiten (in Japanese) (3 ed.). Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten. p. 155. ISBN 4-00-080003-5. 

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