Steel Vs Steel 2

by Jason Roland

QUESTION: So are you saying in your previous answer that the Katana was not a battlefield weapon for the japanese samurai?


Now I realize sexy tho the thought may be, not all samurai were Katana masters and that the Katana was not the only battle field weapon of the Samurai. But it was my understanding that the Japanese used a thin straighter sword until they fought the mongoles who used a thick leather armor that their swords didnt penetrate against. So they made them thicker, and discovered differential tempering which naturally curved the sord and the curved edge lended it to be a better cutting tool when slashing with a draw cut. Tho I'm open to differing opinion of the historical evolution of the modern Katana. It was always my understanding that todays Katana is the result of the natural Japanese minded evolution of the battlefield sword to be used against the leather/wood asian armor minus the unfortunate setbacks in sword technology going from Koto to Shinto to Shin-Shinto.

So in relation to my original questions of Katana Vs Plate maile, I realize the two never met on the battlefield which is why I asked if anybody had experimented with it. The origin of the question comming up in the question Templars in full armor vs Samurai in full armor. Who would win.

But my question now is are you saying the Katana was not a regularly used battle field sword?

Thanks for your time,

Jason Roland.

ANSWER:Hi Jason,

Some interesting points raised - but to the best of my understanding, the Katana was not a battlefield weapon. The primary weapon of the Samurai, until the edo period, was the bow. From horseback, they did use a variety of weapons including the 'Tachi' - which is kind of like an oversized Katana (very rough description, google it for more info). However the most common weapon on the battlefield was the spear.

The Katana only saw widespread use during the Edo period (1603-1867), which was a time of peace under a powerful Shogunate. Samurai were in the towns and cities, and for the most part did not wear armour. Duels - impromptu and otherwise - between Samurai were quite commonplace, and it was during this time that there was an emphasis placed on various sword schools to perfect their techniques, as the Katana had become the 'soul of the Samurai'.

So, getting back to the question (otherwise I'll never stop writing this. Lol) - no, the Katana was not a primary battlefield weapon at all. It is rather specialized -> to cut through human flesh and bone...

When it encounters steel, its geometry and design make it less than ideal. Naturally, I think that because of its devestating effect on the human body, it has developed a mystique that it can 'cut through anything', etc, etc. But that's just a myth - it does what it was designed for extremely well.

Hope this helps. :-)

- Paul

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