Meito is the status of a sword.
In Japan, this means the sword has a history and is of legendary status. The blade is normally a quality blade which stands out above all other swords in its endurance and sharpness.
A meito is sometimes associated with the warrior who wields it and becomes part of his identity. Regardless of who owns them, a meito is regarded with highest respect in Japan and to be given a meito is to carry a great honor alongside it. Often warriors who lose in battle would have their meito taken from them by the victor, thus losing their honor alongside it as to lose a meito is to disrespect the honor of wielding it.
To wield a meito honorably, usually it would be passed down to them from master to pupil or from another family member. There exists several other methods alongside this which are acceptable but uncommon. Another method of gaining a meito honorably was to be offered it, this was usually out as show of respect from one person to another. A warrior may also win it in battle against another warrior in a fair duel and thus be allowed to claim it as their own.
To steal a meito or gain it using another dishonorable action is to show the meito disrespect and warriors who do so were often frowned upon. To put the status of a meito in a western style of thinking, a meito would be considered in status on par with swords like Excalibur (which would be regarded as King Arthur's "meito" in the Japanese sense).
One Piece SeriesEdit
In One Piece, meito is often mistranslated as either part of the name of a sword (e.g. Zoro's Shusui is often recorded by fans as "Meito Shusui" instead of just "Shusui", ignoring the fact that meito is a status) or as a "renowned blade" (understandable given that if broken up, 名刀 gives 名 "renowned" and 刀 "sword").
Tashigi's dream is to free all the meito from the hands of criminals such as pirates. She believes the swords are crying because instead of being used for noble and honorable deeds, they are being used for criminal use. Her reason for tracking Zoro is to gain ownership of his meito, the Wado Ichimonji, which she believes is in the hands of a malicious person. As of yet, she has no victories over Zoro in her quest and, while she has taken the swords Kashu and Yamaoroshi, she has taken none of the meito in her journey of justice, while Zoro still possesses Wado Ichimonji and has also acquired Shusui.
List of MeitoEdit
12 Saijo O Wazamono Grade SwordsEdit
There are twelve Supreme Grade Swords. These seem to be the highest quality swords.
- Yoru (Dracule Mihawk)
21 O Wazamono Grade SwordsEdit
There are twenty one Great Grade Swords. Their quality is one step lower than the Saijo O Wazamono.
50 Ryo Wazamono Grade SwordsEdit
There are fifty Skillful Grade Swords. Their quality is higher than the Wazamono but lower than O Wazamono grade swords.
- Kashu (Mr. 11 → Tashigi)
- Yubashiri (Ippon-Matsu → Roronoa Zoro → Destroyed)
- Yamaoroshi (Billy → Tashigi)
Wazamono Grade SwordsEdit
There are an undetermined number of Grade Swords. They are sharp swords, and the lowest grade possible for a named blade.
- Though there are many named swords in the One Piece world, many of which fall into the katana grades, only a few of them have been mentioned so far as "meito" when introduced.
- So far in the One Piece series, Zoro has held the most meito to date.