Nodachi The Great Battle Field Sword

Nodachi The Great Battle Field Sword

Nodachi is a truly magnificent cold weapon. For sword to be classified as Nodachi. Size does matters and this sword is very large; its blade length is at least 3 shaku or more. This weapon needs two hands to handle in order to destroy the enemy. Visually, Nodachi has some similarities to the tachi in terms of design although it is longer. Because of its size, Nodachi sword cannot be use indoors nor during close quarter battles. This sword is seldom use for fights because of its limitations. During battles weapons like Naginata and Nagamaki are preferred in the battlefield. This sword can be deadly in the hands of a warrior that has the skills to wield it. This is what legends are made of because according to folklore this sword can cleave a warrior and his horse in half with just a single blow.

Special Features

  • Huge in size
  • Fearsome weapon with a length between twelve to thirteen inches (about 30 to 33 cm.)
  • Ideal for use in the battlefield
  • Effective weapon against cavalry thanks to its size
  • Hard to forge blade compared to that of a normal sized sword
  • Requires greater strength to wield
  • Swordplay focuses on downward chops
  • Serves as a status symbol during times of peace
  • Worn slung across the back unlike a smaller sword such as a tachi or wakizashi which can be worn at the waist or belt
  • Does not require a giant to wield this sword though as some people might have believe that it was so

The Beginnings of Nodachi

The Nodachi first makes its appearance in the 5th century. A 5th century 117.0 cm. sword was unearthed from an old mound in Kumamoto. Still another longer sword of 137.9 cm. was unearthed from another mound this time located in Tochigi dated to be from the same 5th century. These swords were believed to be used by the Gods of Japanese mythology. People during that period believe that large and amazing swords like Nodachi were property of the Gods. Since the Nodachi is huge, even Samurais cannot carry this on their waist. What they do is to carry it on their back or by hand. During the Muromachi era, somebody carries the sword and helps the Samurai draw it before using it. Foot soldiers would carry this sword while its flat edge lies against their shoulder. The blade faces toward their enemy. This weapon would then be hurled against the enemy. It can cut several enemy soldiers at once. The samurai would then draw his Katana to join the melee.

Functions of Nodachi

  • Dedicated to Gods to gain victory in battle
  • Use for ceremonies
  • Battlefield weapon. This sword was used by soldiers in the battlefield
  • Some versions are used when fighting from horseback. This serves like a polearm and is perfect for cutting down enemy in a single swoop
  • Shows the swordsmiths skills
  • In some martial arts, this oversized weapon is used to train practitioners in handling a heavy sword. The training will help them handle a normal size weapon that they can do so with ease
  • Symbol for the army. Some extra-long Nodachi cannot be use in battle. For practical reasons these are use as symbols for the army just like flags and spears

Where to Buy a Nodachi?

So far from my entire research online, Katanasforsale is the best shop I found which offer quality Nodachi for reasonable price, with customization options as well. go to this link to find their collection or create a custom one:

How Nodachi Is Made

Nodachi being large is hard to produce. It requires a lot of steel just to produce just one Nodachi alone. It also takes a longer period of time to make this sword than that of a normal one. A highly skilled swordsmith is required to hammer the steel. In fact it takes a team to produce a good one. Because of its length, there is a need to heat the entire blade. It also requires craftsman that are good at quenching and tempering the sword. The quenching tank is bigger than that used on normal sized swords. A bigger quenching medium is required because subjecting the sword to uneven quenching can lead to warping the blade. A Nodachi is polished by hanging it on a ceiling or placing this sword in a stationary position. Normal sized swords are simply moved over the polishing stones.

Its importance has died down and the Nodachi was relegated to the position of the ceremonial weapon. This is because battles no longer exist after 1615. The Bakuhu government also issued a decree that prohibits holding swords of a certain length. When the law was implemented, Nodachi was cut down to a shorter legal size. This has significance for collectors both then and now because Nodachi became rare after this. Like certain trends, Nodachi was in style during a certain period notably during the Edo period as a weapon use for various ceremonies.

There is a reasonable belief that long sword is hard to defeat because of its reach. This is the reason why in movies and books, characters carry a sword as large as that of a Nodachi. It gives the sword owner an extra power when viewed by his enemies. The sword and a big man who wields it can cause fear in the hearts of his enemy. This is a form of psych war. Where big equates to being victorious. Later on, those who are in battle have learned that it is not size that matters at all times. There are certain techniques that can be used using smaller swords. In fact, at certain scenario the size of this sword restricts the movement of whoever uses it. Even with such restrictions, there are those who have develop an interest in Nodachi.

Thanks to renewed interest in ancient Japanese weaponry especially in the late 20th century to the early 21st century Nodachi became popular again. There was a sword known as Norimitsu Odachi which was debated as to for what purpose it was made. Sword collectors admit that it will take a highly skilled swordsmith to produce such a fine specimen of an almost gigantic sword. It was agreed that the sword showcases the ability of the swordsman to craft a sword like it. Since this sword used up a lot of material and manpower; it was said that a very rich individual has commissioned this sword.