Naginata Katana: the Characteristic Samurai Sword of Ancient Japan
The samurai sword and bushido are the characteristic cultures of Japan. The image of the Japanese samurai who wears flip-flops on his feet has a wakizashi on his waist, and raises his sword with both hands is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. However, the samurai sword, which is synonymous with samurai, is not some kind of sword. The name, to be precise, the samurai sword is the collective name of all the swords used by the samurai, just like the Chinese Tang sword, it is just a collective name, and there is no such sword. The naginata katana, spears and the like are the most used by Japanese samurai on the battlefield.
Samurai swords include Tachi, naginata katana, wakizashi, dagger, etc. Contrary to everyone's traditional impression, the most common katana has a relatively short history. It is the youngest samurai sword, which matured at the end of the Warring States Period and the Edo period in Japan. After the Meiji Restoration in Japan, the Japanese government urgently needed a local cultural image that could correspond to the Western knight culture, so the image of the samurai with swords and wakizashi was elected. The katana was originally positioned as a substitute weapon for samurai. When the bow, spear, naginata katana, Tachi and other long-handled weapons in the hand were damaged or dropped, or when they were on a narrow battlefield, the samurai would use the katana.
1. The naginata katana is a type of Japanese polearm
It can also be written as an eyebrow knife, which has a long handle, a wide blade and a large arc. The standard blade of the naginata katana is one chi (about 30 ~ 60 cm) long, but there is also three chi (about 90 cm) long blades. There is a short blood groove in the middle of the blade, and it is equipped with a scabbard. The blade with a large arc is generally called naginata katana, and with a small arc, is called a long roll, but the ratio of the length of the long roll blade to the handle is about 1:1, and the stabbing function is stronger than the general naginata katana. Usually, the handle of Japanese naginata is 3 feet and 6 feet long (about 90 to 180 cm), and the handle is mostly made of wood or bamboo, and rarely made of iron. The naginata katana with a length of about seven feet (about 2.1 meters) is called "big naginata katana", and Japan even has a super-large naginata katana with a length of 3.6 meters. It has to be said that the Japanese have a special affection for giant weapons.
2. The history of Japanese naginata
From the Nara period to the Heian period in Japan, the naginata katana was mostly used by the monks and soldiers of the temple to protect the temple. Later, from the end of the Kamakura period to the Muromachi period, it gradually became the main weapon on the battlefield, and the appearance rate and usage rate were much higher than those of the sword. During the Yingren Rebellion, that is, the Warring States Period of Japan, because the blade of the naginata katana was too short and too thin, and the whole knife was too light, the attack method was mainly slashing at medium and long distances, and the stabbing function was weak, which was not suitable for intensive combat. It has been replaced, but it still has a high usage rate on the battlefield, and Japanese monk soldiers especially like to use it.
After the establishment of the Edo shogunate, large-scale field warfare disappeared. For some time, the shogunate prohibited Japanese samurai from carrying naginata katana to maintain social stability, but the naginata katana did not disappear because of this. Instead, it was widely used as a protective weapon for women. Martial arts, which is compulsory for women, are still being studied in Japan today.