Naginata

That would be this

shown here with samurai for scale, whose weapon it was

A naginata could be over twelve feet in length, butt to blade tip. Other than the obvious uses — stabbing, slicing, hooking, clubbing, kneecapping charging horses, disemboweling and/or beheading their riders — the naginata user’s advantage was by how far it extended the user’s reach over an opponent armed with a sword. The naginata was also the only weapon women were allowed to use in medieval Japan. Read more here.

The naginata is the weapon of choice for Silk and Song’s samurai, Gokudo. His quick hand on the, er, shaft may have in part led to his banishment from Chipangu, and to his intersection with my plot.


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4 thoughts on “Naginata

  1. Kate Pavelle says:

    I LOOOOVE naginata! It’s not nearly as heavy to wield as either European pole arms, nor the Japanese spear, yari. There is another variation, and I dont have a picture but I can take one for you tomorrow when I’m at the dojo (sensei has quite collection). This one has four metal prongs about 6″ long that extend parallel to the blade, and are designed to capture and *break* your opponent’s blade. It’s a wicked, vicious weapon and I wonder if it was inspired by the Okinawan long fishing spear. Some naginata also did come with a small spear point on the opposite end, which was sheathed.

    I am so looking forward to your book! In the meanwhile, enjoy your weapons 😉

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  2. Kate Pavelle says:

    Nantubo – that’s the name of the Okinawan fishing spear. But I don’t think the Okinawans used it as a weapon yet; the Chinese had already brought kung-fu during your time period, but the Japanese oppression started a bit later. (Senior moment on the name there…)

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  3. Al says:

    One of my favorite stories from Japanese history/mythology is about a troop of women with Naginata successfully defending a bridge from advancing samurai.

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  4. Glenn says:

    The first photo appears to be a Nagamaki with a slightly longer than normal haft. Despite the lack of wrapping on the haft; not all Nagamaki had wrapping. And the blade is definitely a sword type typical of Nagamaki rather than the more cleaver like Naginata blade.

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