Monday, December 26, 2016

What is naginata?

Naginata is sword made in the form of a pole weapon consisting of a wooden shaft with a curved blade on the end which measures between 30 and 60 cm. There were also large naginata with a shaft of more than 2.7 m.

It used mainly by warrior-monks in the Ashikaga period of medieval times, and by foot soldiers and women in the Edo period.

shizuka shape (top) and tomoe shape (bottom)
The earliest clear references to naginata date from 1146 in the late Heian period. In earlier 10th through 12th century sources, it was termed as ‘long sword’ but it is ambiguous to what kind of sword these entries actually referred.

Generally, there are two basic shapes of naginata, namely the shizuka and the tomoe shape.

Naginata were used mainly to cut the hocks of horses. Some warriors used a similar weapon, but with a shorter handle and longer blade, called nagakami, Some naginata had a steel point called ishizuki on the end of the handle, used to pierce armor.
What is naginata?
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