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Collection: Tanto - A Modern Twist on Traditional Japanese Short Sword

Japanese Tanto knife was the second weapon of the samurai. It is also used as a short knife and an excellent weapon of choice in close combat. Traditional ways of making Japanese Tanto blades are so meticulous that they can count as art. Their functional characteristics have been exploited to get them a spot in the modern knife industry.

Here is what this article will cover:

  • The distinctive features of the blade itself

  • How Tanto blade fits into the samurai weapon arsenal

  • The difference between modern and traditional Tanto blades

What is So Special about Tanto Knife?

The Tanto blade was forged in the Heian period in Japan, before the 12 century. It stood up to the test of time, so it is still in use. It was created to aid the samurai in close combat because their beloved Katana was too bulky in certain situations.

Because it was created as a stabbing blade, tanto doesn't have a ridgeline. In the Japanese traditional blade-making glossary, such crafting is called hira-zukuri style. The sides are completely flat. Some Chinese martial arts still use Tanto blades. But, the primary purpose of the Tanto blade today is a pocket knife.

Still, some skilled smiths created traditional Japanese Tanto blades with so many details that they easily pass as high art.

Modern Vs. Traditional Tanto Japanese Blade

Modern Tanto blades are also called American Tanto. It has evolved from a traditional blade, and become more of a tactical knife, used in schools for self-defense. 

The attractive Cold Steel fixed blade Tanto popularized modified shape. Modern Tanto blade knives also have strong tips, because they have been designed for stabbing and piercing. 

Additionally, manufacturers explored the versatility and functionality of Tanto blades in the kitchen and gave them purpose in food preparation. They can cut through meat, fish, and vegetables and serve like everyday knives.

Nowadays, you can choose between tanto fixed blade and tanto blade folding knife versions. Folding blades are more discreet and convenient, but fixed blades are stronger and capable of cutting and piercing through harder objects. 

Tanto Blade Pocket Knife

Its versatile design with two pointy tips makes a Tanto blade an ideal pocket knife. You can use it for self-defense, to cut food on a flat surface, to open mail, to cut the rope, etc. 

But, sharpening a Tanto blade can be tricky because of separate bevels.


What is a tanto blade used for?

Tanto blade is versatile, and people use it in the kitchen, in traditional martial art practices, such as tantojutsu, for self-defense, as a pocket knife, or as a tactical blade.

Is a tanto blade good for self-defense?

Yes, both folding and fixed blade options are excellent for self-defense.

Why do people like tanto blades?

The distinctive shape of the knife tip provides more strength when piercing sturdy objects, compared to traditional one-tip knives. They also have an aesthetically pleasing look.