Introduction to the Naginata and Odachi in Japanese Katana
In terms of length, the longest samurai sword is Naginata, which is similar to the long pole blade of the Chinese Crescent blade and is very popular in Japan. This kind of sword is shorter than the spear, usually the handle is three to six feet long, if the handle is seven feet long, then it is called a big Naginata. There are also very large Naginata with a maximum length of 3.6 meters, but they are not practical weapons. Naginata was appeared early, during the Heian period, it was used by monks and soldiers in temples. It wasn't until the end of the Kamakura period and the Muromachi Period that the Naginata became a major weapon of war in Japan.
1. Naginata is often used by women in Japanese anime nowadays, and it is even considered a female weapon
This is because there was a time that the Shogunate banned the samurai from carrying Naginata during the Edo period, which caused that Naginata had to be left at home. When the samurai were away, and women in the family needed protection from harassment or burglars, Naginata had been left and gathered dust at home was put to use. Eventually, the Naginata becomes a weapon for women to defend themselves, and of course, its size has been reduced accordingly. In the middle of the Edo period, there was a kind of Naginata with a handle roughly equaled to the length of the blade, which was called Nagamaki. Looking for Japanese naginata for sale? Coolkatana would be a great choice!
2. Odachi sword can be regarded as a representative Japanese katana
The appearance of odachi sword is the demarcation line in Japan for the recognized Japanese katana. In the mid-Heian Period, Japan was influenced by the Warabi-tetou used by Aynu in Hokkaido, Sakhalin and Kurile Islands, and came up with the Kenukiki Tachi. The body and handle of this kind of sword are integrated forged, but the handle is too heavy if it is a whole piece of iron, so in order to reduce its weight, the handle is with a hollow line shape in the middle. Ancient tube tweezers in Japan are called Kenukiki, which is mainly used for plucking hair, and because the hollowed-out hilt is shaped like the ancient Japanese Kenukiki, it is called Kenukiki Tachi. The handle of Kenukiki Tachi is about the length of a single-handed knife, which is basically the same as that of Chinese willow leaf sword and cow-tail sword.
Odachi sword was officially appeared in the late Japan Heian Period, and was called Tachi Era because Odachi sword was extremely popular at that time. The early Odachi sword was used as a cavalry sword, so the handle of the Odachi sword was not as long as that of swords can be seen today, and it also existed as a single-handed knife. Until the Nambokucho period in Japan, warfare was still tactless, the popular samurai at that time is "one riding dhao" for single combat, and even ashigaru as infantrymen are not allowed to fight against each other. As a narrow-edged sword like odachi sword, the wielding of both hands requires lightness of speed rather than strong strength, but the samurai at that time were proud of their extraordinary strength, which was more consistent with the fighting style of one-handed knife.
3. The biggest difference between Odachi swords and the more common Uchi katana in the later period is the scabbard
Although generally speaking, the arc of the Odachi sword will be larger than that of Uchi katana, and the length will be longer, there are always Uchi katana with large arc and relatively short odachi swords. So in fact, the difference between the two is not big from the knife type. Therefore, the simplest way to distinguish Odachi swords and Uchi katana is to see the way of wearing. The Odachi sword is worn by double ear hanging method, that is, the way Chinese swords have always been worn after the double ear hanging method was introduced from Persia during the Southern and Northern Dynasties.
After the end of the Heian Period and into the Kamakura period, since there were no tactics in combats, and samurai versus samurai were popular at that time, samurai were proud of their strong strength. So there was big odachi sword that was more than 1.5 meters long and became popular in the end of the Kamakura period. At that time, samurai used long swords as evidence to show their strong strength, even some samurai, who were not strong enough to wield a big Odachi sword at all, had to forge a big enough Odachi sword that they could not handle to make them be an expert. And because the big Odachi sword was too long, and the most common method used by samurai at that time was to lift the knife over the head and cut it down, if it hits the air it would hit the ground and bounce off, the requirement of the knife toughness is very high. So many big Odachi swords at that time were even unquenched to make sure the blade wouldn't be broken.