It was once carried by men and women of the samurai class in Japan. It was useful for self-defense in indoor spaces where the long blade katana and intermediate sword wakizashi were inconvenient. Women carried them in their kimono either in a pocket-like space (futokoro) or in the sleeve pouch (tamoto) for self-defense and for ritual suicide by slashing the veins in the left side of the neck. When a samurai woman married, she was expected to carry a kaiken with her when she moved in with her husband.
- Stone, George Cameron (1999). Glossary of the Construction, Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor in All Countries and in All Times. Dover Publications. pp. 405–. ISBN 978-0-486-40726-5.
- Sinclaire, Clive (1 November 2004). Samurai: The Weapons and Spirit of the Japanese Warrior. Globe Pequot Press. pp. 88–. ISBN 978-1-59228-720-8.
- Tarassuk, Leonis; Blair, Claude (1982). The Complete encyclopedia of arms & weapons: the most comprehensive reference work ever published on arms and armour from prehistoric times to the present. Simon & Schuster. p. 306.
- Arai, Hakuseki; Joly, Henri L.; Inada, Hogitarō (1913). The Sword Book in "Honchō Gunkikō". C. E. Tuttle. p. 42.
- Mol, Serge (2003). Classical Weaponry of Japan: Special Weapons and Tactics of the Martial Arts. Kodansha International. pp. 27–. ISBN 978-4-7700-2941-6.
- Cannon, Garland Hampton; Warren, Nicholas W. (1996). The Japanese Contributions to the English Language: An Historical Dictionary. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 65–. ISBN 978-3-447-03764-8.
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- Minoru, Nishio (1985) . Nishio Minoru; Iwabuchi Etsutarō; Mizutani Shizuo (eds.). Iwanami kokugo jiten (in Japanese) (3rd ed.). Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten. p. 155. ISBN 4-00-080003-5.
- Nihonto message board forum
- Richard Stein's Japanese sword guide
- Japan Arts Council e-book Mamori-gatana pp. 179–180
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