A ninja sword also known as ninjato or ninjaken is one of the most famous swords in Japanese history. As the name suggests, these swords were used by the ninjas, who were trained in various forms of unorthodox war arts such as assassinations, espionage, sabotage and other martial arts.
A ninja sword is quite different from the samurai sword or a traditional daito katana. A ninjato is much shorter than the katana; also it is a straight blade, square guard sword.
The ninja swords are very popular even today. They depict the culture and philosophy of the ninjas but itís quite different from that of samurai swords.
Unlike a samurai sword, which is intricate and ornate, a ninja sword is considered purely practical. Where the samurais revered their sword and considered them as part of their souls, ninjas thought of their swords as useful and disposable. Ninja swords were rather inexpensive as compared to a daito katana.
However, the modern day ninja swords are crafted with a lot of intricacies. Today, these swords are one of the most popular choices amongst the sword enthusiasts.
The ninja swords were much shorter than a katana; however the ninjas used to place them in a katana saya (scabbard). This was done to deceive their opponents into miscalculating the length of their swords. Ninjas were masters of stealth therefore their swords were designed to be perfect for an impromptu situation or sudden combat. A longer blade would mean a hindrance in such circumstances.
The purpose of a ninja sword is to stab their opponents in a quick stroke and kill them instantly. Ninjas did not have time to indulge in sword fights, unlike the samurais. Their techniques of fighting were quick and very agile. So the ninja swords were crafted in a way that was easier to maneuver.
The ninjas would drop or discard their swords and run if the circumstances arise. Therefore a ninja sword was much cheaper and was easily available so that the ninjas could have another weapon handy before their next venture.
The ninjas were required to fight in stealthily so their bodies were contorted in awkward positions such as ceiling tops, sides of the walls, trees and wild vegetation environments. The ninja swords were well equipped to be used in such situations.
A ninja sword had a pointed tip so that it could be pierced into different places and the ninjas would lift themselves holding the handle and fling themselves across any obstacle. The sword was then drawn back with a help of a long cord attached to the saya.
To summarize, samurai swords were elegant and held a lot of prestige amongst its community, whereas ninja swords were crude, fierce and practical.