A wakizashi is a type of Japanese sword with a blade length between 30 and 60 centimeters (12 and 24 inches), similar to, but shorter than, a katana. The wakizashi is usually not a primary weapon for samurai and was often worn together with the katana. The pairing of a katana with a wakizashi is called the daishō.
The first usage of a wakizashi dates back to the period between 1332 and 1369. It is a one handed weapon, crafted so that the handle fits into the palm of the hand. It can also be used as a tool to decapitate defeated enemies and sometimes used by samurai to commit seppuku, or ritualistic suicide. As the blade is relatively short, fighters have more control over their movements than when using a longer blade. During the Edo period (1603–1868), the Yakuza were permitted to carry wakizashi, which has become their melee weapon of choice.
The wakizashi is similar to a combat knife, with the same AP, Strength requirement, and range, but deals slightly more damage. It is weaker than "Little Jesus" in comparison. The sword bypasses the Damage Threshold of any armor.
Behind the scenes
Wakizashi (脇差) means "side arm" or "short sword" in Japanese.