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MexSamurai
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 7:42 pm    Post subject: vital sword for samurai Reply with quote
My question is:

Is it true that the sword did not become a vital weapon(katana) for the samurai until at least the fourteenth century?

Arigato. bow
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JLBadgley
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Well....

The original horse warriors (bushi, samurai, etc.) were archers. I believe it was an episode of the Heike Monogatari that set the typical progression of weapons forms during a fight: Bow, polearm (naginata or yari), swords, daggers, then wrestling.

You almost never see pictures of soldiers in armour fighting where they don't have a sword, unless it has been lost in the fighting. However, the swords you see are generally tachi, worn slung edge down. Katana are really just koshigatana or uchigatana and seem to have served a function similar to a wakizashi as a backup weapon. They could range in size from a dagger to a small sword.

The evolution of the 'katana' as an important weapon seems to come from the rise of foot soldiers, where the katana seems to have proved more practical. I think the rising urbanization also had something to do with it, as the katana appears to have been employed as a weapon for self-defense on the street as well as a status symbol.

I think that it was really the 16th century and later that made the sword 'the soul of the samurai'. It was finally codified by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the Tokugawa Bakufu in their various edicts regarding owning and wearing swords.

-Josh
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MexSamurai
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PostPosted: Sat May 03, 2008 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
Thank you for detail.

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MexSamurai
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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2008 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
After suggesting reasons for the decline of archery beginning in the 14th century and but Tokugawa era when various schools(archery) sprang up and archers became highly proficient at shooting missiles down a long corridor and hitting a target.

Interestingly, Launching as many as 13,000 arrows over a single twenty-four-hour period, one bowman was calculated to have released an arrow every 6.6 seconds.
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MexSamurai
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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
On the topic of early swords... The important role of the warabite to, the scepter of the "barbarians" (emishi) of northeastern Japan. It may have been the first curved sword used in Japan, ancestor to the samurai weapon.
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