-- Naginata
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Time Period: 8th century to present day
Location: Japan
Common Construction: Wooden haft with steel head

The naginata is a Japanese polearm consisting of a steel blade on top of a wood or bamboo shaft. Unlike European arms, the blade of a naginata extends far into the handle to prevent an opponent from chopping the blade off of the wooden pole.

The pole of the naginata is generally made to match the height of the wielder, and the blade extends an additional 24-36 inches. The blade is somewhat curved, and its possible that katana blades were sometimes reused in naginatas.

In Japan, the naginata is traditionally associated with the woman even though it was used by both men and women on the battlefield. Women were expected to be able to protect their homes while their husbands went off to war, and the naginata helped to offset some of the advantages a male has in combat over a female, specifically height, and strength. The naginata helped to keep a stronger opponent at a distance, and the length and weight of the weapon itself allowed for powerful strikes to be made.

CE 08th Century, CE 09th Century, CE 10th Century, CE 11th Century, CE 12th Century, CE 13th Century, CE 14th Century, CE 15th Century, CE 16th Century, CE 17th Century, CE 18th Century, CE 19th Century, CE 20th Century, History, Japan, Polearm, Present, Weapon

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