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Nodachi: Wikis


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A nodachi (野太刀:のだち?) is a large two-handed Japanese sword. Nodachi approximately translates to "field sword". However, some have suggested that the meaning of "nodachi" is roughly the same as ōdachi meaning "large/great sword".[citation needed] A confusion between the terms has nearly synonymized "nodachi" with the very large "ōdachi". Thus, while the original use of the term may have been to refer to any type of long battlefield sword (daitō), including the tachi, it is frequently misapplied to any type of oversized Japanese sword.



History and Use

Nodachi have the same general appearance and design of a tachi though they are significantly longer. The nodachi was carried by foot soldiers and was designed as a weapon for war versus cavalry and open field engagements. Nodachi were generally used on open battlefields as their length made their use indoors or close quarters difficult. They were an effective weapon against cavalry, though they were not commonly used. Foot soldiers would carry the sword with the flat edge against the shoulder and the fuchi, or butt of the tsuka, in the palms of the hands and the blade facing out toward the enemy. The sword would often be thrown down or at the enemy. Nodachi were infrequently used for several reasons:

  • The blade was more difficult to forge compared to a normal-sized sword
  • The nodachi required greater strength to properly wield
  • Weapons such as the naginata or nagamaki were arguably more effective for the same role on the battlefield.

During times of peace, the sword was worn slung across the back as a symbol of status.[citation needed] This is distinctive because most Japanese swords such as the katana, wakizashi, and tachi were worn at the waist or belt; however, it was not "drawn" from the back. The nodachi was more difficult to wield due to its size and weight. The length of the nodachi's hilt varied between twelve to thirteen inches (30 to 33 centimeters). The blade was usually around four feet long. Its cutting capability and range exceeded that of a katana, due to its weight and size.

In some Chinese martial arts, Bagua Zhang being perhaps the best known example, over-sized weapons are used for training purposes. This is done to condition the martial artist to handle a normal-sized weapon more efficiently. (e.g. in Japanese martial arts with the suburitō, a heavy wooden sword)

The Kage-ryū is one of the very rare schools of Japanese martial arts remaining that trains in the use of the Japanese long-sword (which they call choken).

This sword was also used by Sasaki Kojiro, a very skilled warrior and deadly with the nodachi. He is famous for dueling with Musashi Miyamoto, a skilled swordsman of the time.

In popular culture

In Akira Kurosawa's critically acclaimed film Seven Samurai, the sword wielded by Toshiro Mifune's character, Kikuchiyo, appears to be a nodachi due to its great size and the fact that Kikuchiyo carries it slung across his back.

The nodachi also makes an appearance in the Playstation (One) video game, Bushido Blade, where it can be selected as a useable weapon.

In the card game, Magic: The Gathering, No-dachi is a card that gives a samurai +2/0.

In the manga One Piece, Supernova Trafalgar Law wields a nodachi in conjunction with his devil fruit powers.


See also

External links

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