I'm on episode 7 of Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works, where Assassin has shown up. From what I have read, his sword is a long katana, but it doesn't have a tsuba (hand guard). As far as I know about katana, they can have shirasaya (mountings without tsuba), but they weren't used for battle. Was the sword just a katana that they didn't bother to put a tsuba on for stylistic reasons, or was it actually a different kind of sword?

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An exact solution is not traceable... The closest katana is a Nodachi (大太刀) without a Tsuba 鍔 (Handguard) and with a blue/light yellow decorated Tsuka 柄 (Hilt).

Nodachi Image from Sakura no kuni.

As you mentioned in your question it could also be a shirasaya 白鞘.

A Shirasaya actually contains two plain wooden parts. The Saya さや (Scabbard) and the Tsuka. These parts are used to store a katana blade and prevent it from corroding.

The Shirasaya Tsuka is actually not made to be used in combat because of the missing Tsuba 鍔 (Hand guard). I also do not think that a storage tsuba is fixed strong enough to the blade to use it for fighting.

Shirasaya Image (Sakura Shirasaya) by Bahr3DCG from DeviantART.

Furthermore there is also a Shikomizue 仕込み杖 that general also do not have a tsuba.

A Shikomizue is actually a sword hidden in a stick. Propose of such a stick is to hide the sword from the public because it was not allowed to openly carry a sword.

Shikomizue Image (Shikomizue Katana) by bernardfokke from DeviantART.

In addition they are mostly decorated because it should look nice and unobtrusively like the tsuka of Monohoshizao.

Anyway it is rather be a Nodachi because of length and it is also slightly curved. Just without a hand guard.

  • In my opinion, I don't think it is the first one, since Assassin is a swordman, not a ninja, and there is no need to hide his sword. I also don't think it is the second one either, since the second one is for storage, not for fighting.
    – nhahtdh
    Dec 13 '14 at 13:34
  • @nhahtdh You are actually right. Nevertheless he could use the Shikomizue even if he do not hide it. Both weapons are not made for combat because the missing handguard is deleterious. In addition the secound one can be used for fighting if the hilt is mounted correct.
    – Gerret
    Dec 13 '14 at 14:13
  • The missing handguard means that he can't thrust, only slash, but I think Assassin's style doesn't involve any thrusting, so I think it is still usable for him.
    – nhahtdh
    Dec 13 '14 at 14:21
  • @nhahtdh Edited my post. What you think about the nodachi? This is the best I could find but it general has a handguard...
    – Gerret
    Dec 13 '14 at 14:30
  • From my search, I also think that nodachi is the closest. I don't know about the handguard, though.
    – nhahtdh
    Dec 13 '14 at 14:45

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