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  • Are there Japanese broadswords?

    I am just curious if there are broadswords in Japanese history. I imagine that their must be since so many of the Japanese weapons were derived from Chinese weapons - such as the Naginata being developed from the Chinese horse cutter and other polearm weapons from China - and since the broadsword was so popular I figure there must be something like that somewhere.

    Does anybody know if this is the case?

  • #2
    Okay. So it turns out there is a Japanese broadsword call the danbira. There are also the two war swords, the nodachi (described as a very long sword worn across the back and wielded with two hands) and the nagadachi which I could not find a description of. I am curious which of these would be very long and with a wide blade, since I am currently in the process of working on a story in which one of the characters wields such a weapon.

    I suspect it is either the nagadachi or the danbira since the nodachi seems to have the same blade width as a katana but I am not totally certain. Any help?

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    • #3
      Well I am not sure why you should wear a long sword across the back unless you were over 2 metre tall with arms like an orang utan.

      Most people have difficulty drawing a long sword from the obi. From the back is a physical impossibilty. Trust me. I know.

      You will find that on the contrary Chinese curved japanes style weapons nd styles were from Japanese pirates.

      Quote:"...Swordfighting stances from the 1588 edition of Chinese General Qi Jiguang 's Ji Xiao Xin Shu. General Ji inflicted a great defeat on the Japanese pirates in 1561 at Taizhou, capturing the leader and 1900 pows. These techniques were obtained after interrogating (ie torturing) the pirates...." http://www.sevenstarstrading.com/ar...2hand/ming.html

      Hope this helps

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      • #4
        Hmm. I think they mean it is worn on the back the same way a european greatsword is worn on the back. When you are just walking around and not fighting it is pretty much the only place it can be carried (since it is too long for the hip) though fighting with it is a different story entirely.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by IsahoNaginata
          Hmm. I think they mean it is worn on the back the same way a european greatsword is worn on the back. When you are just walking around and not fighting it is pretty much the only place it can be carried (since it is too long for the hip) though fighting with it is a different story entirely.
          The nodachi was also known as a dai-katana and was worn across the back due to it's length being greater than 80+ cm. Your research was quite thorough and correct. I found an interesting website with a few pictures and information regarding nodachi. Some of the blades featured on the web site are as long as 226 cm!

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          • #6
            Wasn't Sasaki Kojiro a famous nodachi user? From all sources I've seen he drew it from his back (and pretty quickly, at that)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Eldritch Knight
              Wasn't Sasaki Kojiro a famous nodachi user? From all sources I've seen he drew it from his back (and pretty quickly, at that)
              I have heard that Sasaki Kojiro sword was a Nagamitsu the 1st of the Bizen Osafune school. This would make it a Kamakura period tachi and would match in length to the longer tachi of the period 1300. These tachi were very very light in weight and extremely sharp. Nagamitsu's swords are valued $100,000 plus today. Only fifty years later during the Nambokucho sword had grown heavy and very large. During this period the Nodachi became a symbol of power but not a very good weapon. Teppoh or guns caused the decline in the length of the Japanese sword although they had grown into lengths as long as seven shaku or about 7 feet.

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              • #8
                I remember reading that he did indeed carry it on his back and the style he used was "swallow cut" and the sword was known as "The Drying Pole" due to its length?? Do I remember it correctly? Can anyone expand on this?

                cheers michael

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                • #9
                  odachgis wear usually carried my hand. so they could actully be used

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                  • #10
                    According to the Musashi series on Japanese television, Sasaki carries the sword on his back, and when drawing the sword uses his left hand to bring the saya over hisleft shoulder. From here he cuts in a downward diagonal from left to right, but perhaps this isn't necessarily based on fact....

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                    • #11
                      THat's actually false. It is true that Japanese pirates wielding single edged swords freaked out Korean and Chinese soldiers and in turn spurred production of single edged swords. However, single edged, curved two handed swords had been in existence in China and Korea well before 1588 and pretty much everywhere in Asia! e.g. First King of Chosun had a famous single edged, two handed curved sword called daegum. You can probably find a picture of it somewhere on the net. Vietnam also has rich history of two handed curved single edged swords. China too.

                      Not too sure why myth of curvedswords or single edged swords being uniquely Japanese is coming from.

                      Originally posted by Hyaku
                      You will find that on the contrary Chinese curved japanes style weapons nd styles were from Japanese pirates.

                      Quote:"...Swordfighting stances from the 1588 edition of Chinese General Qi Jiguang 's Ji Xiao Xin Shu. General Ji inflicted a great defeat on the Japanese pirates in 1561 at Taizhou, capturing the leader and 1900 pows. These techniques were obtained after interrogating (ie torturing) the pirates...." http://www.sevenstarstrading.com/ar...2hand/ming.html

                      Hope this helps

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mero
                        Not too sure why myth of curvedswords or single edged swords being uniquely Japanese is coming from.
                        Most likely from the hollywood "japan boom" period and the fact that most chinese martial arts movies (recent and past) uses thin double edged single handed swords.

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                        • #13
                          Well you do hope for a little more from people who actually practice kendo... or is that asking too much?

                          I also suspect good old ethnocentrism play a part in this.

                          Originally posted by aru-ma
                          Most likely from the hollywood "japan boom" period and the fact that most chinese martial arts movies (recent and past) uses thin double edged single handed swords.
                          Last edited by mero; 10th June 2004, 04:38 PM.

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                          • #14
                            'Well you do hope for a little more from people who actually practice kendo... or is that asking too much?'

                            ...no-one told me it was required learning...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mero
                              Well you do hope for a little more from people who actually practice kendo... or is that asking too much?

                              I also suspect good old ethnocentrism play a part in this.
                              Well my opinion was based on the fact that I am Shihan of the Kageryu not as a Kendo Yudansha.

                              http://www.hyoho.com/Nkage1.html

                              Where on earth does everbody get all this Sasaki Kojiro info from. Even down to the weapons he used? Even the professors of history and Kokura Historical society does not possess information like this. Seperating fact from fiction would help.

                              Drawing a sword off the back. Just strap a normal Iaito over you shoulder and give it a try. As I said its a physical impossibilty unless you are a trained orang utang.

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