Daisho – Pair of Samurai Swords: What You Need to Know

Are you fascinated by the history of samurai and their legendary swords? Or you’re looking into buying your own pair of beautiful Japanese long swords that symbolize power, courage, and honor. Either way, you’ll want to know the basics before purchasing or starting your study.



Daisho is a term used to describe a pair of swords–usually a long sword and a short sword–worn by samurai during the Edo period in Japan. Daisho, which translates to “big-little,” refers to the two swords, the daitō (long sword) and the shōtō (short sword). The daitō typically had a blade length of two to three shaku (a traditional Japanese unit of measurement equal to around 30 cm or 11.8 inches). The shōtō was a bit shorter, with a blade length of one shaku.

The swords were often made with the same metals and had similar designs, but each was unique in its own right. The daitō was used for striking heavier armor and performing ceremonial rituals, while the shōtō was used more as a side arm during battle.

Symbolism of Daisho

In addition to their practical use, daisho held deep symbolic meaning for samurai. The swords were symbols of courage and strength, and wearing them was a sign of immense pride and honor. Samurai believed that wielding the two swords together would bring balance and harmony in life in battle and everyday activities.

The daitō, which was the larger and more powerful of the two swords, was associated with male energy and strength. The shōtō represented softer, feminine qualities like wisdom, grace, and thoughtfulness. Together, they were seen as embodiments of a perfect balance between power and gentleness.

How Daisho is Made


Daisho swords were traditionally made from Tamahagane steel, created by smelting iron sand in a Tatara furnace. The process involved burning charcoal and forcing air into the furnace to reach a temperature of over 1,000℃. This method produced high-quality steel that could be used for weaponry and armor.

Modern daisho swords are often made from stainless steel, which has a lower carbon content and is more resistant to rust and corrosion. The steel is heated, hammered into shape, and then polished until it is sharp and ready for use. Decorative details like tsuba (hand guards) and says (scabbards) are then added to complete the look.

Whether you plan to buy or just admire daisho swords, it’s important to understand their history and symbolism. Not only will this give you a greater appreciation for these art pieces, but it will also help ensure that your purchase is authentic.

Daisho Today

Although daisho are no longer used for warfare, they continue to be popular among martial artists and collectors. Many of these swords today are made with higher-grade metals, so they can last through rigorous use. Some sword makers also make replica daisho sets, which feature handcrafted blades and intricate details.

Daisho swords can be quite expensive, ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars. However, the craftsmanship and artistry of these weapons make them truly one-of-a-kind pieces that are sure to impress. Whether you want a functional sword or simply want to add an impressive piece of history to your collection, daisho swords are the perfect choice for any enthusiast.

Purchasing Daisho


When buying daisho, choosing a reputable dealer who can provide you with quality swords is important. Do your research on the maker’s history and ask questions before making a purchase. You should also ensure that the store offers each sword an authenticity certificate or proof of origin. Finally, it’s important to remember that daisho swords are works of art, so be prepared to pay top dollar for a truly unique piece.

In Conclusion

Daisho swords are a timeless symbol of power and courage and a great way to show your appreciation for Japanese culture. With their unique design and intricate details, these weapons make an impressive addition to any collection. Whether you’re looking for a functional sword or something to add to your home decor, daisho is sure to be a great choice. With some knowledge and research, you can find the perfect daisho set to suit your individual needs.

About Jeanette Iglesias