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A sword, similiar in design to a katana, wielded not only by samurai, but by "non-warrior" class people who were forbidden by law to wear a longsword. The wakazashi has a shorter blade than a katana, usually ranging from 12-23 inches in length.
Should a samurai's katana break in combat, or if the samurai needed an offhand weapon, he would usually carry a wakazashi as a back-up.
by Atticus October 31, 2004
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