Category: Term of the day
The daisho is a Japanese term for a matched pair of traditionally made Japanese swords worn by the samurai class in feudal Japan.
The word "daisho" literally means "big-little."
The concept of the daisho originated with the pairing of a short sword with whatever long sword was being worn during a particular time period. It has been noted that the tachi would be paired with a tanto, and later the uchigatana would be paired with another shorter uchigatana. With the advent of the katana, the wakizashi eventually was chosen by samurai as the short sword over the tanto.
The wearing of daisho was limited to the samurai class after the sword hunt of Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1588, and became a symbol or badge of their rank. Daisho may have become popular around the end of the Muromachi period (1336 to 1573) as several early examples date from the late sixteenth century. An edict in 1629 defining the duties of a samurai required the wearing of a daisho when on official duty. During the Meiji period an edict was passed in 1871 abolishing the requirement of the wearing of daisho by samurai, and in 1876 the wearing of swords in public by most of Japan's population was banned; this ended the use of the daisho as the symbol of the samurai, and the samurai class was abolished soon after the sword ban.