How Did the Samurai Carry the Nodachi?

The Samurai had different ways of carrying the Nodachi since this was too long to wear on their waists. There were two main methods of wielding the sword, and one was to have it on their backs. However, this method was impractical since it restricted them from drawing their swords quickly.

The other way is to carry the sheathed sword by hand. During the Muromachi Period, it was common for Samurai warriors to have a follower assisting them with drawing the Nodachi.

How the Nodachi Was Used in Combat

The Nodachi resembles the Tachi but is larger and measures more than half of its wielder. Because of its size, it required a lot of strength and skill to use the so-called legendary sword. Also, only a few warriors were able to use it efficiently.

Since it was a huge weapon, the Nodachi was advantageous for infantry and cavalry but was mostly equipped by cavalrymen. This Nihonto was designed for war and the battlefield, hence, was ineffective for indoor use due to its construction.

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When attacking an opponent, the Nodachi was excellent against cavalry. The Samurai would use it by striking down the approaching mounted warrior.

It’s comparable to the Chinese Zhan Ma Dao since it was an efficient cavalry-on-cavalry weapon. Like its Chinese counterpart, the Nodachi offered long reach and increased weight. With that, it became advantageous in certain situations compared to other types of swords, spears, and lances.

The Samurai used different combat techniques with the Nodachi, and these focused on downward cuts. Since its blade was sharpened only at the midsection until the tip, the rest of its edge was dull. Instead of cutting and slicing, the wielder would use it like a clubbing weapon.

When battling against cavalrymen, the Samurai would use large sweeping movements at the body or legs of the horse. As a result, the opponent would be unmounted, which put them at a disadvantage.


Is It True That Nodachi Is More Difficult to Wield Compared to Other Japanese Swords?

Because of its size, wielding the Nodachi is indeed difficult compared to other types of Nihonto. It measures around 3 Shaku, which is equivalent to 90.9 centimeters.

Why Was Wielding the Nodachi Difficult?

Compared to other Nihonto, the Nodachi was too long and heavy for a battlefield weapon. They were unlike regular Nihonto used for battles, hence why they were wielded differently.

One way was by carrying the Nodachi on one’s back. Although possible, it was considered impractical since it was difficult for the user to draw the sword quickly.

The other way was to carry the sheathed Nodachi by hand. During the Muromachi period, the trend was to have a Samurai take a follower with them to help draw the Nodachi.

There was a special technique for drawing taught by Tanaka Fumon. It allowed the user to carry the Nodachi by the waist. The method was to pull out the sheath instead of drawing the entire blade.

Uses of the Nodachi

The swordplay style of a Nodachi varied from other Japanese Nihonto and focused mainly on downward cuts.

A possible function of the Nodachi was to strike down a horse during battles on the field. Alternatively, the sword could be utilized as a cavalry-on-cavalry blade that’s similar to the Zhan Ma Dao.

It had some advantage over lances, spears, and smaller swords due to its enhanced weight, more extended reach, and slashing area.

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The Decline of the Nodachi

The prominence of a Nodachi dropped since the Siege of Osaka in 1615. Since then, the Nodachi functioned more like a ceremonial piece instead of a battlefield weapon.

Its decline in popularity was because of the Shogunate government’s law that prohibited swords that were above the standardized length. After setting the law into place, the Nodachi were cut down to the shorter and legal size.

This is one of the reasons why the Nodachi are rare. And although not utilized for battles, these were often made as offerings to the Shinto shrines.

Additionally, it also required a lot of skill to create. Plus, the Nodachi sword’s unique appearance was claimed to be ideal for praying to the gods.

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