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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Apr, 2011 12:14 pm    Post subject: Working on a game, need help on Japanese weapons         Reply with quote

Hello,

I am working on a japanese pen and paper role playing game and I need help on some japanese weapons.

You see I already have some but I need help coming up with some more I already have
Katana, wakizashi, kanabo, tetsubo, yumi, yari's of various kinds, tachi, odachi, nagamaki, and tanto.

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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Apr, 2011 12:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

For knives/swords, it mostly comes down to tiny dagger, medium dagger, large dagger, small sword, medium sword, large sword, huge sword, but with Japanese names. Less variety in polearms compared to elsewhere.

The notable missing battlefield weapon from your list is the naginata. Otherwise, you're missing various "martial arts" exotica like the kusari-gama (ball-chain-sickle), the kama (sickle), the standard police polearms (sasumata, sodegarami (sleeve catcher), tsukubō). The fire-fighter tools that can double as weapons (tobiguchi)? Less common weapons like the bisento (a Chinese-style polearm) and battleaxe. Good books for exotic weapons are Serge Mol's "Classical weaponry of Japan" and Cunningham's "Samurai weapons".

More than one kind of yumi, too. There's the proper warbow, the sporting yumi, and the palanquin bow.

And, of course, the musket and cannon.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Nat Lamb




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Apr, 2011 2:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The only thing overlooked that my extreemly limited knowledge of Japanese weapons can spot is the Jitte, which I believe was sometimes carried in lieu of a badge by police.
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
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PostPosted: Thu 07 Apr, 2011 8:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All added except for the bisento and palanquin yumi. What is a palanquin yumi?
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Timo Nieminen




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PostPosted: Thu 07 Apr, 2011 11:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Curl wrote:
All added except for the bisento and palanquin yumi. What is a palanquin yumi?


It's a short bow for shooting from inside a palanquin. For example, to shoot an assassin. The Japanese term is "kago hankyu", "kago" being Japanese for "palanquin", "hankyu" = "half bow", as in about half the length of a yumi (as it needs to be to have a chance of being used from inside a palanquin).

These aren't a battlefield weapon. Basically an Edo-period last-ditch weapon for big shots who got to be carried around all day. There were also short javelins for similar use, sometimes called throwing arrows or darts; the Japanese term is "uchine", and google should yield pictures. Also short yari for palanquin use.

"In addition to being efficient, all pole arms were quite nice to look at." - Cherney Berg, A hideous history of weapons, Collier 1963.
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Kurt Scholz





Joined: 09 Dec 2008

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PostPosted: Fri 08 Apr, 2011 5:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You might have lots of Chinese influences, especially on ninjas, because they had close ties to Chinese exiles who founded Buddhism in Japan. This religious group was persecuted in Japan until it proved its usefulness on armed struggles.
If Japan includes the Ryukyu islands, you'll have lots of everyday implements being weaponized, like the famous nunchakus that were a kitchen tool.
Contact with Portuguese seamen and Chinese might also introduce otherwise rare weapons in Japan like crossbows or maces. Crossbows and maces have in East Asia a reputation as assassins weapons and they could be very cheap (look at the current Chinese military doctrine of "assassin's mace"). Other than weapons you might also research poisons used in ancient Japan.
And you missed clubs like this oni swings (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8a/Oni2WP.jpg/220px-Oni2WP.jpg).
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
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PostPosted: Fri 08 Apr, 2011 7:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you all again. I have the oni club as the kanabo or tetsubo. I included crossbows already, I was looking for more specifically Japanese weapons, the weapons in japan that were also in Europe I simply carried over.
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Eric S




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PostPosted: Fri 08 Apr, 2011 4:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Working on a game, need help on Japanese weapons         Reply with quote

Michael Curl wrote:
Hello,

I am working on a japanese pen and paper role playing game and I need help on some japanese weapons.

You see I already have some but I need help coming up with some more I already have
Katana, wakizashi, kanabo, tetsubo, yumi, yari's of various kinds, tachi, odachi, nagamaki, and tanto.
Your missing the tanegashima (matchlock),manriki, staff weapons such as the bo, small clubs and truncheons such as the ararebo, tekkan, hachiwari there are more. Here is a link to wikipedia commons the image repository, category "samurai weapons" were there are many categories for samurai weapons with images of them. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Samurai_weapons
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
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PostPosted: Fri 08 Apr, 2011 6:07 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am putting my game at around the 1400's so no matchlocks, I don't see a difference between a bo and a quarterstaff so I just swapped that one over. Almost all of the ones on wiki have been included and I simply did not mention them do to time. Aside from weapons that I think are too similar to make separate entries for, all that have been brought up here have been included, thank you all so much.
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Kurt Scholz





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PostPosted: Sat 09 Apr, 2011 2:23 am    Post subject: some more groups I forgot         Reply with quote

I totally forgot to point out that there are also Korean refugees in Japan, there's even the claim that Japan was to a major extend founded by Korean settlers. So you might also find Korean weapons of the 14th century.
The group in Japan that tended to have foreign connections were the Buddhists and from earlier reports about music instruments we do know that they had some kind of idea about far away lands sharing their religion. Part of that travel can be exotic items that were a prized symbol of status. That's at least how the archaic globalization worked that was under strong Muslim influence.
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
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PostPosted: Fri 22 Jul, 2011 7:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So what exactly was the point of a hachiwari?

Was it a civilian or military weapon, looks like an armored fighting weapon

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William P




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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jul, 2011 3:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

the hachiwara took two forms one was a thick truncheon, another was sharp and pointy, they were both anti armour implements intended to be used like a can opener on armour,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hachiwara

--Hachiwara were usually around 350mm long, some larger versions are around 450mm long. There were two types of hachiwara:

One type of hachiwara was forged with a sharp dirk like point[2], to parry an opponent's sword, to hook the cords of an armor or helmet, or like a can opener to separate armor plates. The sharp point could pierce unprotected or weak areas of an opponents armor like the armpit area.[3] The blade of this type of hachiwara was a curved tapered square[4] iron or steel bar with a hook on its back edge. [5]In combat one could parry and catch a blade with that hook, as with a jutte. Some hachiwara of this type were mounted in the style of a tanto with a koshirae.[6]

The other type of hachiwara was a blunt cast iron truncheon like weapon resembling a tekkan or a jutte. --

theres also the yoroi toshi which is essentially japans armour piercing dagger, which is a tanto with a much thicker spine.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoroi_toshi

The yoroi tōshi (鎧通し?) (yoroi doshi) "armor piercing or piercer"[1] [2]or "mail piercer"[3]

The yoroi toshi is a Japanese dagger made for cutting through armour.[4] Its standard size was 9 sun 5 bu (28.8 cm). Later makes were made shorter at 7 sun 5 bu (22.7 cm). The yoroi toshi was worn inside the belt on the back or on the right side[5] with the hilt toward the front and the edge upward. The later also gave it the name metazashi(mettazashi, めった刺し);[6] "right side wear". The yoroi toshi motogasane or blade thickness at the hamachi the notch at the beginning of the cutting edge can be up to .5 inches thick which is a characteristic of the yoroi doshi style of tanto. The extra thickness at the spine of the blade identifies the yoroi toshi from a standard tanto blade.

btw ignore what kurt schoolz said about ninjas, since as a matter of fact many shinobi (a job) were of the samurai ranks (which is a class)
during the sengoku they were mainly concentrated in the famous iga and koka regions.
these operatives were NOT poor farmers. some low ranking expendable information 'probes' were recrited from the peasentry but thse were jst acting as contacts for the shinobi operative.

even in okinawa, this is unconfirmed but my reckoning is that many weapons wereintroduced by the chinese. or malay peoples. particularly the tonfa (known as guai or crutch in china, ) and the nunchaku, which have long existed in china as variations of the three and 2 section staff.
google the tjabang and see what i mean.
karate is in itself said to be partly influenced by chinese white crane syle.

thekusarigama also was used by samurai occasionally, but was in that century far less common.

also be careful about certain weapons for example the JO was supposedly invented by gonnosuke, at the end of the sengoku period.
if you want to make it 1400'stry to make sure the weapons are at least generally thought to be that old.
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Michael Curl




Location: Northern California, US
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PostPosted: Sat 23 Jul, 2011 9:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hmmm, well, I don't really think ninjas ever existed, I have never seen any evidence that they had, at least not as the super spy's that people tend to think of.

Second question, how far does the hachiwara go back because it seems to me that it was an edo era weapon. I also don't see how it would break helmets unless it was with a downward stab to the head. I don't see how someone could actually operate it as a can opener during combat, and I don't trust wiki.

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Bennison N




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PostPosted: Mon 25 Jul, 2011 5:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ninjas DID exist. There certainly is evidence of them, if you take the time to sift through the exaggerations and pure propoganda. Assassinations and sneaking into beseiged castles seemed to be their sort of thing.

Oda Nobunaga obviously thought they were some sort of threat, because he massacred the Bushi of Iga Province in 1579 and a clean-up in 1581. The Iga-mono were scattered all over the country, and in particular Tokugawa Ieyasu adopted the Hattori family as his retainers, which his government then apparently forced apart in 1604, although it's at that point that the Hattori ninja legends seem to start getting a bit fantastic, so who knows if they really disbanded?

This is all after the period you're going for, though, so I'll stop before I write a totally irrelevant post.

A very cool group which was around during that time is the Sohei warrior-monks. They held considerable political power during the 14th century, sometimes participated in rebellions and wars, and were considered masters of naginata-jutsu. They always sort of reminded me of the Japanese equivalent of Templars, with obvious differences...

"Never give a sword to a man who can't dance" - Confucius

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William P




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PostPosted: Mon 25 Jul, 2011 7:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Curl wrote:
Hmmm, well, I don't really think ninjas ever existed, I have never seen any evidence that they had, at least not as the super spy's that people tend to think of.

Second question, how far does the hachiwara go back because it seems to me that it was an edo era weapon. I also don't see how it would break helmets unless it was with a downward stab to the head. I don't see how someone could actually operate it as a can opener during combat, and I don't trust wiki.

the hachiwara was like the ballok daggers of europe. trust me this was sengoku at least if not earlier. this was a decidedly anti armour weapon. obviously you cant split the helmet. id guess thats merely a fancy name but you could apparently according to wiki, be used to slip through gaps and under plates in the armour
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Anders Backlund




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PostPosted: Mon 25 Jul, 2011 8:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Working on a game, need help on Japanese weapons         Reply with quote

Michael Curl wrote:
Hello,

I am working on a japanese pen and paper role playing game and I need help on some japanese weapons.

You see I already have some but I need help coming up with some more I already have
Katana, wakizashi, kanabo, tetsubo, yumi, yari's of various kinds, tachi, odachi, nagamaki, and tanto.


I see you have both katana and tachi listed. Keep in mind that the katana evolved out of the tachi due to changing standards in battle tactics, so if both swords coexist in your game, you way want to figure out why that is.

Does your game take place in historical Japan or is the setting just Japanese-inspired? If the former, the exact type of arms used will depend on the specific time period. Just the swords varied a lot over the centuries.

The sword is an ode to the strife of mankind.

"This doesn't look easy... but I bet it is!"
-Homer Simpson.
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Michael Curl




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PostPosted: Mon 25 Jul, 2011 9:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To Bennson: What proof is their that the Bushi of Iga province were ninjas? Just because he massacred a bunch of samurai clans doesn't mean those samurai clans are ninjas.

Also all the stuff on Sohei seems to be a bunch of bs as well. According to "The Teeth and Claws of the Buddha: Monastic Warriors and Sohei in Japanese History" the warrior monks were equipped in the same fashion as the Bushi, at least up until the 12th century, at which point the book stops.

To William: What proof is their that the hachiwara was sengoku era? Not that I don't believe you, but I'd like some actual proof.

To Anders: That doesn't mean that they didn't coexist. As in Europe you have sword types that evolve out of others while the predecessors continue on. I am getting this from Anthony Bryant's Sengoku rpg which lists both weapons, though it does describe how the Tachi is going out of fashion. My game is set in a Japanese inspired game, which is just now starting to make the change from horse archer focus to close combat focus. So the O-yoroi, and tachi are still around.

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Bennison N




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul, 2011 2:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't know how you feel about Stephen Turnbull, but he has many books on this subject.

Try Warriors of Medieval Japan (Osprey, 2005) for in depth look at the 14th Century.

Try Ninja - The True Story of Japan's Warrior Cult (Firebird, 1991) for Ninja information you can use as a start for your own research.

Try Japanese Warrior Monks AD 9491603 (Osprey, 2003) for information on Sohei that you can use to start your own research.

"Never give a sword to a man who can't dance" - Confucius

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Michael Curl




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul, 2011 3:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the claws of the Buddha does a very good job of proving that to be simply a case of latter generations seeing what they wanted to see. In fact the term sohei doesn't even seem to have been very widely used at the time. Additionally the monks that we do have taking place in battles are wearing armor and riding horses just like the Bushi of the time.

Also I am not so terribly hot on stephen turnbull, some of his stuff is ok but I don't think that osprey is good at all for research.

I have not read the firebird book, but based on the reviews from amazon he doesn't seem to go into too much detail. Have you read the book? If so, what proof does he late out for the existence of ninja's?

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Bennison N




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PostPosted: Tue 26 Jul, 2011 3:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't have Turnbull's Osprey Books, but I do have his Firebird Ninja one, which I bought to help with an essay years and years ago.

There is some good starting-out info in there, and his bibliography helped me a lot. Unfortunately, there is the issue of the information that obviously came from Hatsumi-sensei, and it sometimes pays to see this as deliberate misdirection when it seems too mystical.

The Iga Bushi were known for their specialised skills, which seemed to lead to them being considered enough of a threat to be entirely wiped out. Castle breaking under cover of darkness, guerilla attacks, things like that. These skills were attributed to the relative isolation Iga province enjoyed, being accesible by bad roads and surrounded by mountain ranges. During the early Muromachi, the Iga Bushi had rebelled and established the Iga Republic, or Iga Sokoku Ikki. After this the Bushi maintained a constant state of readiness, and this was apparently how these specialised skills developed.

To make sure the job was done properly, Oda-san attacked from 6 directions simultaneously, and slaughtered men, women and kids. Then, when it seemed like a final push would clear Iga of all native life, he declared a cease-fire and allowed the escape of the last remaining warriors. I suspect it was at this point that they went underground, expecting to be hunted, and the whole "shadow man", super secret agent thing began.

I'll dig the book out and have another look.

"Never give a sword to a man who can't dance" - Confucius

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