Nodachi The Sword for The Battle Field

Nodachi: The Sword for The Battle Field

The Nodachi swords were prominently longer than normal swords in terms of appearance and layout. Soldiers held this sword on foot because of its size. Its design was specially made for the war and to open the battlegrounds because of its length.

Handling it indoors or for an enclosed area of battle would destroy the purpose for which it was created. However, this is not used most of the time.

The Nodachi sword is usually associated with a Katana. Even today, collectors have diversified views on which of these two are the better swords. Some believe that this sword comes under a category of great sword and a Japanese polearm because of its enormous size. However, polearm was allotted to soldiers because of its convenience of use. In this regard, this sword does not allow the owner to use it with exceptional comfort.

Katana is still considered as one of the most favorite swords by the Japanese. Not only because it provides a twist to traditional swords, also enables the uncommon technique of drawing and striking in a single movement, but it was also very convenient for fighting in situations where there was not so much space.

Nodachi is a sword competent in use by both foot soldiers and horsemen. A weapon was skilled in protecting you even when you are being charged by a troop of the army. A weapon that, some suppose, was competent in cutting a horse in two.


History of the Nodachi Sword:

It is assumed that Nodachi first seemed in the 5th century. Some associated these swords with Japanese mythicism.

For instance, it was supposed that the sword named “Hutsunomi-tamano-tsurugi”, of immense proportions, had been presented to the emperor by the hand of a god, in order to stop a revolt. Today we comprehend that such a sword had been built during the Heian period. Supposedly, the emperor had demanded it just as a duplicate of a sword from Japanese mythology.

During this era, only the most powerful and most skilled combatants were assigned the duty of taking a Nodachi to the battleground. This is because it was greatly challenging both to use it correctly, due to its weight and size, and to draw it because it was carried on the back or on the hand.

Its huge size made it unmanageable to use it indoors, so it was only accepted in an open area in battles in which the antagonist had army troops. During this era, the faith emerged that this sword is capable enough to cut a horse and its rider in two.

Prohibition of Nodachi:

After the combat of Osaka-Natsuno-Jin between Ieyasu Tokugawa and Mitsunari Ishida in 1615, the demand of Nodachi as a battle weapon dropped, and it started to be used essentially for rituals and ceremonies.

This is because of two reasons:

  1. Open-field clashes discontinued after 1615. This made the Nodachi suffer its importance, in most of the reduced environments battles where the katana was more effective to use.
  2. The Bakufu government imposed a new law banning the carrying of large swords. This made Nodachi unlawful to carry, so many of them were lessened to comply with the regulative standard.

This is one of the major causes of why getting old Nodachi is so rare.

Main Use of a Nodachi Sword:

The Nodachi has a similar usual look as its close kin, the Tachi. The peculiarity is that this is a huge sword that normally measures more than half of its carrier. As stated earlier, however, using it required exceptional ability and power, so only a few were capable of using it efficiently.

The following are some of the most basic uses for these swords.

  • Sword against troops

The purpose of their presence and the main use provided to the Nodachi was to face the army troops. In this regard, it was assumed that it was competent of cutting a horse and its rider in one stroke. But not only that. Because of its length, it was ideal for hitting the horse’s legs, hurting it, and making it drop along with its rider.

  • As a conventional weapon

As discussed above, this type of sword is completely connected to the gods. It is therefore not unexpected that they were also conventional weapons, used for gifts, or decoration, or for prayers in which success was asked.

  • Symbol of power

Nodachi was also used to show the power and presence of an army, as well as a banner, weapon, or other pieces designed to encourage troops. And it is clear why; their appearance alone requires respect.

  • To practice

It is well known that many martial arts schools based on swords have determined to train their students with Nodachi. In this way, having given a big deal of time training with such a huge sword, handling a Katana or any other type of weapon would become a much simpler job.

Whichever purpose it is destined for, it is obvious that the Nodachi is a sword that stands out with the naked eye, as it is one of the huge swords in Japanese history.

Purposes of a Nodachi Sword:

  • Offering for gods and shrines. Some of these swords were given before going to fight while others were placed on shrines as traditional swords of mythology
  • Use by soldiers as weaponry during fights
  • Too long swords were used as symbols for an army. When it is impossible to use such a sword they use it as a flag
  • Use for ceremonial purposes
  • Reveals the abilities of a swordsmith

Reasons Why the Nodachi did not Continue:

  • This sword was challenging to produce than that of a regular size sword
  • It will take a lot of steel to create a Nodachi and it would be costly to have another piece designed
  • Wielding this sword demands more general power. Soldiers prefer using naginata or nagamaki since these are more convenient to use in the battleground
  • If the soldier using it is not that skillful enough the use of this sword can hurt him. Legend states that Nodachi can cut a soldier and his horse in just one stroke
  • Short stint fame from 1330 to 1390

Hope this information about the Nodachi sword will broaden the vision of the sword. If you have any query do not forget to ask.


I am Sofia Mendela. My passion is to write about new businesses, leadership and capture interesting stories. I am quick in research and craft better stories.

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