The Plum Blossom Practical Wakizashi from Handmade Swords is such a nice piece of work that it’s hard to believe it’s only an entry-level cutter. Even entry level cutters can be great swords when they’re done right.
Nothing on this sword looks out of place. Usually when cost cutting measures are taken, it’s easy to spot where pennies were pinched and substitutions were made. Here I don’t see that — all the parts fit in terms of style as well as craftsmanship. Emblems on the plum blossom wakizashi are clear and easy to understand — Mt. Fuji on the blade guard, and the image of a samurai warrior on the kashira or pommel. Both sageo and ito — the wrappings on scabbard and sword handle — are artfully done using Japanese cotton cord. Beneath the ito, real same or rayskin covers the hardwood handle. Small five-petaled plum blossoms dot the lacquer on the wooden scabbard.
The economy enters the picture in the 30-inch sword’s full tang blade. There’s no hi or traditional blood groove, and the hamon or tempering mark is only polished on. The sword 1045 high carbon steel is not differentially tempered, but the slightly heavier design of the blade allows for that, and the sword is still a practical cutter. Collectors, students of kendo, and students of iaito will all appreciate this fine wakizashi and its katana counterpart.
Traditionally the wakizashi was the parrying or backup blade to the main weapon — the katana — and dealt the finishing blow to an opponent on the ground, saving the edge of the katana from damage. With this wakizashi, that might be a tough choice — it’s too good to mess up.
Visit the Practical Plum Blossom Katana to see the full-sized partner to this weapon.