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  • double edged sword

    So when see pictures of samurai swords there always single edged. Did the samurai ever us double edged swords?

  • #2
    No double edge swords. Samurai swords were made with layers of differing ratios of carbon in the steel, heated to different temperatures; the 'back' of the sword is not the same kind of steel as the edge side. The 'back' side can't be sharpened to keep an edge and the 'business' side is made of a more brittle steel that sharpens right up.

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    • #3
      Prior to the invention of the nihonto, chukoto were imported from continental Asia. These were straight double edged swords. In fact, Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, a legendary sword passed down from Amateratsu, the mother goddess of Japan, is one of the three Imperial regalia and a chukoto (it's arguable whether the present artifact identified as this sword is in fact the original as the original was lost in the sea during the Gempei War to be "recovered" later).

      The samurai class did exist prior to the invention of the single edged curved nihonto but their primary weapon was the bow at the time chukoto would have been in use. As a class they evolved over time so this would have been a very early version of the samurai class. This is my understanding at least.

      I don't have the book here in Tokyo with me that briefly explains the invention of the nihonto but basically there was a battle and the warriors came back with broken swords. The swordsmith saw this and endeavored to come up with something better. So he went to a shrine, prayed for a long time and was given the divine inspiration for the construction of the nihonto. After this, the army he supplied came back from their battle with their swords pretty much all in tact and thus the era of the nihonto began.

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      • #4
        I'm sure I've seen a photo of nihonto in which the third of the mune (closest to the kissaki) was edged. I remember wondering how they could do a traditional noto with it.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Kokoro777 View Post
          I'm sure I've seen a photo of nihonto in which the third of the mune (closest to the kissaki) was edged. I remember wondering how they could do a traditional noto with it.
          I've wondered how you do noto with a tachi? Flip it over 180? Grow really long arms? Not re-sheath until the battle is over and you are off your horse?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Kokoro777 View Post
            I'm sure I've seen a photo of nihonto in which the third of the mune (closest to the kissaki) was edged. I remember wondering how they could do a traditional noto with it.
            I've seen shinobi weapons like that. Good for thrusting threw armor.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by hl1978 View Post
              I've wondered how you do noto with a tachi? Flip it over 180? Grow really long arms? Not re-sheath until the battle is over and you are off your horse?
              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cd6C5RdUIhY

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              • #8
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kogarasu_Maru

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                • #9
                  Hmm, very informative link. Thank you.

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                  • #10
                    It's an interesting piece, to be sure!

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