-- Odachi
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Time Period: 14th-17th century
Location: Japan
Common Construction: Steel
The odachi is a Japanese two handed sword. The term odachi literally means "great sword". They measured up to 150cm long (a katana measures about 70cm long) and were relatively rare, primarily due to the difficulty in forging them.

Unlike the katana, the odachi could not be forged by a single person. It is difficult to work the steel in a timely fashion, the size of the blade required more materials, and it could not be polished in the traditional fashion. Fighting with an odachi also required a different fighting style that not all soldiers were familiar with.

In 1645 the government regulated the acceptable length of swords, shortening the legal size and forbidding non-samurai to have them unless special permission was given. Existing swords were either cut down to an acceptable size or used as ceremonial offerings to Shinto shrines, and odachi are a relatively rare sight today.

CE 14th Century, CE 15th Century, CE 16th Century, CE 17th Century, History, Japan, Sword, Weapon

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