Info Favorites Register Log in Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Odachi Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Chris Mohrbacher

Joined: 14 Feb 2005

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon 14 Feb, 2005 8:25 pm    Post subject: Odachi         Reply with quote

Hey, I'm new to the forum, so hopefully I'm posting in the right place and all that (if not, just point me in the right direction).

I'm in the SCA, and I've always been into melee weaponry, martial arts, etc. I have more swords than I have room for in my little apartment... some mass-produced BudK ninja swords, some hand-crafted from friends from the SCA.... but I can never find my favorite sword: the odachi. I tried sword and shield, dual axes, every style I could find, but I was never very notable until I used a sword that was... a little... longer than was technically legal because of the odachi's I read about.

anywho... I'm looking for a way to get a good quality odachi, I'm thinking I'd like an overall length of about 7.5 feet with a blade at least 5.5 feet. I expect this would be very expensive, and take quite a while to make... but I need to have something to throw away irresponsible sums of money into.

Odachi became sentimental to me by using a practice version and adapting to how the sword felt... but this site impessed me with the sword style a lot:

especially the Norimitsu, here are some stats:

Total length - 377 cm.

Nagasa (cutting edge) - 226.7 cm.

Sori (curvature) - 5.0 cm

Nakago (tang) - 151 cm.

Thickness - 2.34 cm.

Habaki (collar to hold blade in scabbard) - 5.85 cm.

Weight - 14.5 kgs.
View user's profile Send private message
Gabriel Lebec
myArmoury Team

myArmoury Team

Location: NY, NY
Joined: 02 Oct 2003
Reading list: 32 books

Posts: 420

PostPosted: Tue 15 Feb, 2005 11:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well... I was kind of hoping someone else would reply to this, but I'll say my own take.

First off, welcome to the forums!

Second, I would recommend that you spend some time before spending any money just listening, lurking, reading, and researching. And by a little time, I mean months. Preferably years, although that's virtually impossible for most. Happy You'll quickly find (judging, perhaps presumptuously, from your self-related previous sword experience) that excellent swords are far more complex and high-quality than you might now realize - and that an appropriate expense is thus accorded to them. Learning first and buying later will save you a lot in the long run. Alright, disclaimer off, I won't presume to comment any more and I trust that you will take that paragraph in the correct spirit. Happy

Now, you may want to go back to that site you linked to and reread the excellent synopsis of essential nodachi info that its creator included. In particular, you may want to pay heed to these facts:

1. Nodachi are exponentially more difficult to forge, polish, and mount.
2. Most ber-nodachi were temple dedications.
3. Some - by which I mean a few - were viable weapons.

However, re: #3 above, the only ones that were usable in battle were the *reasonable* ones. I'm sorry, but a 7.5 feet sword with a 5.5 feet blade is just plain unwieldy. Hyakutake Colin of the Kage Ryu (a koryu, or traditionally recognized period "old school," it should be noted) uses what virtually the rest of the world would consider a massively sized "choken" - similar if not identical to a nodachi/odachi - and in that style, "the longest [is] 4 shaku (121.2 cm's /47.7 inches). The heaviest blade used is mine at just over seven pounds." This is seriously pushing the limits of usability, and by all accounts it's more than long enough.

The examples that were particularly wildly long or heavy were never intended for use, or, if they were, the short stint (~1330-1390) during the Nambokucho period that nodachi were popular for almost certainly proved that bigger does not necessarily mean better. Again, most of the crazier Wink nodachi were intended as dedications to shrines and feats of skill on the smith's part. It bears noting that the Nambokucho period was a time of rivalry between opposing Northern and Southern courts and many trends during the period leaned towards the exxagerated, the ostentatious, and the downright symbolic. The nodachi was not, as far as can be told, a weapon born out of practicality.

I myself was once in the mood to have a custom commissioned nodachi, and I considered 45" nagasa to be an extremely large blade. I almost certainly would not have the strength necessary to wield such a beast properly *even though* at the time I was planning on having it forged in a very user-friendly graceful Yamashiro-den style that would not have been particularly heavy. Now, I was looking at thousands of dollars for a piece by an amicable though fairly UNestablished semi-amateur smith (not to slight him - just trying to illustrate something here), and considering it a great bargain; by contrast, a nihonto (true Japanese art blade by a licensed smith), custom made, would almost certainly cost in excess of $10,000 for a sword of that size from a "lesser" smith (and likely closer to $30,000+ from a better-known smith), and if you wanted it only in the Japanese-style (as opposed to strictly nihonto), well, you'd still have to pay the smith extra due to the substantial effort involved. Not to mention that many smiths would not even be equipped to create such a piece; you could conceivably end up paying the bill on a brand new super-long salt bath as a work-related charge. Not very economical. And I'm not even considering a 7.5 ft. monster when I'm making these quotes, I'm just talking about a 45" nagasa (blade length) sword.

Very occasionally one might see nodachi on the market, but they're either fantastically expensive and culturally significant art pieces / relics, or else they tend to be rather unimpressive "flash" items produced during the late Edo and Meiji eras. Generally speaking, of course.

On the whole, the market for such swords is simply not a very supportive one. If you are into them and you really want one, it is more than possible to acquire one or have one made; but doing so will be neither easy nor cheap. Feel free to ask some of the custom makers around for project quotes / possibilities, but I would suggest that at the very least you scale back your dream project to a much more feasible ~45" nagasa.

A word of warning - some very inexpensive brands - such as windlass steelcrafts, and I'm sure that swordsonline has some sort of similar piece - make what they call "nodachi" or "odachi." These brands and vendors are thoroughly NOT recommended.(by me, at least). The pieces in question are neither functional/durable/safe/well-crafted (scientific truth) nor artistic (virtually unanimous agreement among people accustomed to a slightly higher standard of aesthetics). That may sound pretentious; so be it. If you like those examples for their looks (and hey, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, even though I actually do not agree with that adage) then by all means buy them and enjoy displaying them, but do NOT swing them - they are not built for that.

I'm sorry if any of this is disheartening or comes off sounding harsh, that is not my intent. I'm simply pressed for time and wish to cover the salient points as I understand them. I welcome others on this board with related experience to affirm, deny, corroborate, or amend these points; in the meantime, I wish you great luck on achieving your goal(s) and hope you enjoy studying the fascinating field of historic and high-level reproduction arms & armor! Happy


Gabriel Lebec
View user's profile Send private message
Chris Mohrbacher

Joined: 14 Feb 2005

Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun 07 Aug, 2005 11:49 am    Post subject: yea         Reply with quote

took a while to respond because I saw no replys for a long time.

Yea... I assumed there would be no way I could have, or would have wanted, a historical Odachi. They're too rare for anything I would ever consider reasonable.

And having one custom forged from a professional forge, I assumed would be out of the question, due to the rarity of the market pushing the price up so much. (I'm sorry, but even something as difficult as an Odachi should never cost $10,000, let alone your estimate of 30k. The materials for metalworking are relatively cheap, so it's all man-hours, and... even assuming it takes the person 100 hours of constant forging to make the blade.... I'm not going to pay someone who thinks their time is worth 100-300 dollars per hour, mostly because they're so focused on themselves, their work is likely to be garbage.

I enjoy simplicity... I'm happy with BudK type mass-produced throw away swords. No, they're not signiture art, but if it were I would never take them outside and play with them. And no they're not functional, but I certainly don't plan on sparring with them. I just enjoy the design of the weapons... "art" or not... "functional" or not, I can still visualize the concept of how they could be used, and that's enough for me.

As for the historical use of the Odachi.... "difficult to use" is purely subjective. I was in a training group in my home town where we crafted training swords and fought eachother with them. Most people used swords of standard length, generally 2-3 feet... I preferred my 7'6" sword, my version of an Odachi. And... while it definitely took some getting used to... and the style was definitely very different than other styles... I could take on large groups of basically trained people at a time... and there was no limit to how mmany untrained people I could beat at once due to the superior reach of the blade.

Yes, it was heavy... yes, there was one specific weakness, but it was a very fun blade length to use.

So, I assume this is the wrong place to ask, but does anyone know of a retailer, of any quality who offers a significantly sized Odachi?
View user's profile Send private message
George Hill

Location: Atlanta Ga
Joined: 16 May 2005

Posts: 614

PostPosted: Sun 07 Aug, 2005 3:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gabriel, I just read one of those links you posted with great interest. Pardon me if I have any misconceptions.

I noticed in particular the words "Minimum length of blades used in the Kageryu is 2 shaku 8 sun (84.8 cm's / 33.5 inches) Five inches longer than the length prescribed by the Shogunate."

I would love to hear more about the Shogunate's prescriptions. Is 28.5 inches the adverage for Odachi, or the adverage for Japanese swords in general? I would think the second, since by European standerds of proportation, the Japanese sword is a short blade on a long haft, and an Odachi would be espeically long by Japanese standards. )

Second, How do I pronouce the Kage in Kage-ryu.? Kaa-Gee?

Am I to understand you are the large bald fellow in the pictures? (or when you say 'mine is seven pound, are you quoting him?) If you are the large fellow, May I ask how large you are? (It it's not too personal.)

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
View user's profile Send private message AIM Address Yahoo Messenger
Scott Byler

Location: New Mexico
Joined: 20 Aug 2003

Posts: 209

PostPosted: Sun 07 Aug, 2005 3:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi, Chris.... Thought I'd pass on a thought or 2 I have on relative expense of truly well made stuff. I realize that materials are generally cheap in most of the world. In Nihonto, though, this is not so easy to say.... Many have a whole boatload of time and energy extended in welding and folding of the blade. A Japanese sword polish on an average blade will cost as much or more as the blade itself. The fittings take a very long time to create properly, as well. So, price is not dictated by ego alone. And this doesn't even touch upon the political or cultural reasons that the price is so high. (Just as a for instance, working smiths are very limited by law in how many blades they can produce in a month in Japan. ) So, take some time and look into the artform before being too judgemental. After educating yourself, then you can make a more fair decision about such things and if you think the same then, well, that is cool too, I guess...

Now, I know you weren't posting about art pieces or anything particularly traditional or even Japanese made. So, I just present this as something to think about since many folks know next to nothing about this. I know very little, myself, and that is after spending some time to study when I can.

Also, as a amateur smith, I can say that speaking of what is and isn't acceptable in price is altogether a matter of education and knowledge. You aren't paying for materials alone, or man hours, but skilled labor... So, don't, in general, expect to get something made for the price or materials or minimum wage. Some of us do go that low sometimes, but it makes paying bills hard... lol

Anyway, no heat is intended by my post, but just a sort of suggestion that you look around and educate yourself a bit before judging the whole issue....

Oh, I can't think of many dealing in the big cutters. Cold Steel has or had the O Katana. Not nearly on the size scale you want, I think. Ritter Steel makes a very basic version, and Windlass Steelcrafts makes a pretty affordable piece. You can see that at I think. Short of going custom there just aren't a lot of these out there, and the few that are out lack most all the aesthetics of the historical counterparts.
View user's profile Send private message
Gabriel Lebec
myArmoury Team

myArmoury Team

Location: NY, NY
Joined: 02 Oct 2003
Reading list: 32 books

Posts: 420

PostPosted: Sun 07 Aug, 2005 5:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Woah... funny how old topics get bumped to the top like this. Okay, several things to reply to.

George: first and foremost, I am in no way affiliated with Kage Ryu swordsmanship (pronounced, assuming I know even the basics of Japanese phonetics, as "k-g" - "a" as in "alter," hard "g," "e" as in "they"). I realize that the wording may have not been clear, but if you examine the original message closely, I was quoting Hyakutake Colin. He is the man in the photos. If I were him, it would not be a personal question at all, but as I'm not, I can't tell you. Happy An interesting essay by Dr. T on the shogunate's restrictions on swords, which extended to mounting colors and types as well as blade length, can be read about here. Blade length in Japan was shorter than in western cultures, certainly. 26" blade is pretty usual, with lengths increasing to 28" for some later swords - and many modern swords are made at about 30," which, being long for a Japanese blade, is pretty flashy and bold. Tachi (an old type) were originally fairly long, even in excess of 34" blade, but many were cut down later to be converted to katana or to comply with the law (which goes double for nodachi!). But blade lengths ranging all over the place can be found in Japanese history.

Chris: Swordsmiths are NOT rich people, not by a long shot - it's a tough job that doesn't really provide much of a living, not unless one becomes particularly famous. And even then it's still no pretentious cakewalk.

Scott says a great deal that I agree with, but "reasonable" and "acceptable" are going to depend on your views. The same thresholds will apply to art or antiques made in any field - with the added point that swords are not just art, but complex and scientifically demanding weapons. But whether, in the end, you agree or disagree with how costworthy such things are, allow me to break down some of the salient points behind sword creation - just so that you have a better idea of the expense, skill, knowledge, and restrictions involved.

First, the blade. A smith in Japan has to serve a lengthy (many years) apprenticeship to become licensed to create swords, and then is restricted by LAW to a mere 2 long swords or 3 short blades a month. This is a law that many want changed, as it drives prices artificially high. It's a remnant of the postwar period, when many junk/fake blades were being churned out, and the Japanese Sword Society (NBTHK) was formed to protect the cultural heritage of the Japanese sword. The best smith of that time could only do 2 long or 3 short swords a month, so they based the restriction on that figure. The problem is that, although his works were excellent, he was a notoriously slow worker; many modern smiths could do about twice that many.

The blade isn't just made from cheap steel, however. Again, by law, a Japanese sword must be made using tamahagane, traditional steel; there is only ONE source for this steel, which is a single smelter operated by the NBTHK, that makes limited amounts of steel from a large amount of costly iron ore-bearing sand. It requires specialized labor.

However, on a complete sword, the blade isn't necessarily even the majority of the price. Traditional Japanese polishing reveals all of the impressive metallurgical effects while only shaving off the thinnest layer of steel to do so, establishing the correct geometry and preserving the blade well enough that we still have blades from 1000 years ago that look fresh and clean. This polishing method requires an expert knowledge of that 1000 year history, and again, a lengthy (many years) apprenticeship followed by an exacting test is required to become a licensed polisher.

The mounting for the sword is a combination of overall artistic planning, weapons-grade functionality, and exquisite jewlery. The crafting methods for the handle, sheath, and reinforcing metal fittings - along with the handle wrap and the blade retaining collar - have been refined over centuries to provide the greatest strength, perfection of fit, dependability, and protection for the sword itself possible, given the Japanese materials and needs. The metal fittings themselves - the habaki, fuchi, kashira, menuki, tsuba, seppa, koiguchi, etc. - can all be crafted, tooled, and decorated with the extreme precision of a piece of custom jewlery and more. Imagine commissioning a piece of custom jewlery as large as a tsuba, and then specified that it must also be functional enough to strengthen the overall assembly of a sword - that is pretty expensive. In fact, there are as many people who collect sword fittings (maybe more) as those who collect the swords themselves. Take the very standard decorative feature of nanako texturing. In this technique, a hand punch is used to create a repeating pattern of hundreds, even thousands of tiny raised bumps on a ground of shakudo metal. This ground sets off polished gold beautifully:
That's an image of a naginata saya (the mountings for a spear) whose price is $44,120.00 USD. That's WITHOUT any actual blade inside.

Again, all of this is the result of years of extremely dedicated, supremely skilled artistry, that all has to satisfy functional concerns as well. These don't just have to be brilliantly made, they must be extremely tough and weapon-worthy as well. 100 hours for a fully mounted nihonto katana is a pretty poor katana. You can spend 80 hours just on the polish of a sword blade, let alone creation of the sword, mounting of the sword, creation of the fittings, etc.

It's not just man-hours. It's materials, years of study, skilled labor, art, craft, science, and the serious effort of as many as five people or more. And that's the baseline. Add in the extra expense of being an antique or being rare, or by being made by someone who through years of success has established him or herself as a dependable and excellent artist, and $10,000 is something that one can expect to pay for a dagger - let alone a nodachi.

Japanese sword smithing is sometimes accused of "elitism" or inflated prices. But it's not just the creation of an excellent sword from good materials - it's the extremely specific intersection of so many dedications, traditions, arts, and studies. It's going from that 90% level to a 95% level - the increase gets far harder and far more difficult the closer one tries to achieve excellence. Japanese blades aren't supposed to be stronger and better than any other blades, or supposed to trump others in all respects - some might believe so, but I don't. Rather, they have the advantage of nearly unbroken refinement of an ideal over many centuries. Western blades have had a broken history and, like western martial arts, have been revived only recently - and one can already see an immensely appreciable degree of art and science in the works of those such as Kevin Cashen or Vince Evans. Imagine if such blades were allowed to be refined for a great amount of time? The greatest of Middle Eastern blades were once made with as much dedication and stringent standards, and we can see the result in museums and in the efforts of modern smiths working in that style. Again, I believe that the Japanese methods and traditions aren't inherently superior - they've just had more time and been preserved better, so that there current state is farther along a path of refinement. The fundamentals themselves (blade shape, heat treatment, mounting method) aren't necessarily better or worse, just different, but the particulars (the perfection of geometry, the myriad metallurgical effects, the decoration and science of the mounting) have become extreme in their precision.

To close (assuming you've read this far, in which case I thank you for your patience), if you want a nodachi that isn't nihonto - in other words, a long Japanese-style sword made by a custom smith outside of Japan - you could get one for a good, fair price. Maybe just $6000. Maybe even less, I don't know. But if you get one in Japan, you can't TELL them to work outside of the requirements that they follow by law and tradition - they are only going to work within their understanding of swords, and that understanding demands an immense degree of care, precision, time, effort, and very inefficient methods, for good or for ill. Many collectors find the result very, very good. Some don't really care, and that's fine too. But to claim that the prices are what they are because the craftsmen are somehow milking prices or playing with a lot of smoke and mirrors and pretentions is just ignorant of what actually goes into the creation of a good sword. And that goes for all swords of all cultures.

Economy in capitalist cultures settles at equilibrium. There's no conspiracy - there couldn't be, it would be illegal - and thus, if they could be made as nicely but cheaper, people would sell them competetively and make a killing. Since they don't, you have to realize that what they're making does have aspects that people will pay accordingly for, even if you don't know of all of them yet. And if you don't know them, then you're perfectly right not to want them, but you can't know that they don't exist.


Last edited by Gabriel Lebec on Sun 07 Aug, 2005 9:42 pm; edited 4 times in total
View user's profile Send private message
Taylor Ellis

PostPosted: Sun 07 Aug, 2005 6:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Japanese blades aren't supposed to be stronger and better than any other blades, or supposed to trump others in all respects - some might believe so, but I don't. Rather, they have the advantage of nearly unbroken refinement of an ideal over many centuries. Western blades have had a broken history and, like western martial arts, have been revived only recently - and one can already see an immensely appreciable degree of art and science in the works of those such as Kevin Cashen or Vince Evans. Imagine if such blades were allowed to be refined for a great amount of time? The greatest of Middle Eastern blades were once made with as much dedication and stringent standards, and we can see the result in museums and in the efforts of modern smiths working in that style. Again, I believe that the Japanese methods and traditions aren't inherently superior - they've just had more time and been preserved better, so that there current state is farther along a path of refinement. The fundamentals themselves (blade shape, heat treatment, mounting method) aren't necessarily better or worse, just different, but the particulars (the perfection of geometry, the myriad metallurgical effects, the decoration and science of the mounting) have become extreme in their precision.

Hi Gabriel, excellent post, though I was wondering about this section. You make the arguement that modern Japanese swords have the advantage of centuries of refinement. But is this always such an advantage? Most Japanese sources I've read on the subject (not many) usually agree that the older swords are better than their current ones. You would know more than me here, what do you think?

I'm not sure that I would call the history of western swords "broken", they went through a much faster development than anything in Japan, due to a continuously changing set of influences, both martial and social, but they were always very well designed for their job. Most of us scoff at the smallsword, but if you are fighting a duel to first blood, and not trying to cut someone's head off, then they are perfectly suited to the task. Just like the "medieval" sword (types X through to XVIII) changed and adapted, I think it's simplistic to say they were refined. A type X has significant advantages over most XV swords in the climate it was designed for. And vice versa.

There are certainly advantages to the modern Japanese market and continuous traditions (though I firmly believe western martial arts have never died out, modern mma fighters, imho, have more "western" influence than asian, especially the Japanese stars, but that's a completely different tangent Happy ). The biggest one is a standard of quality inforced by a governing body. The European styled sword market is saturated with shoddy designs, outright lies, purely ahistorical designs and so forth. There is nothing wrong with that, except for people wanting authentically designed swords must spend a lot of time looking around. That's part of the fun though I guess, and made much easier by excellent resources such as myArmoury I'm sure you will agree. Happy

Luckily for us European sword fans, we have some excellent smiths who can perfectly capture what I guess Oakeshott referred to as the zeitgeist of the medieval sword whilst remaining terrifyingly effective weapons:

 Attachment: 8.46 KB
PJ falchion.jpg
Peter Johnsson falchion reproduction
View user's profile Send private message
Gabriel Lebec
myArmoury Team

myArmoury Team

Location: NY, NY
Joined: 02 Oct 2003
Reading list: 32 books

Posts: 420

PostPosted: Sun 07 Aug, 2005 7:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote


I started to go off in random directions by that point. Wink When I say that the history of Euro swords was "broken," perhaps that sounded more negative than I meant. Another way of looking at it would be that European swords evolved much more rapidly and dramatically than Japanese blades. From a Western perspective, the Japanese sword was in stasis - it had one basic form, which was then obsessed over and went through many very minor variations and experiments. Old swords are indeed appreciated, and that's an excellent point, so perhaps my argument isn't very sound there. European swords, however, went through very many forms, purposes, and styles, so I feel (and this is total subjectivity) that less emphasis was placed on obsessive perfection of a single type. I'm sure that each type and general form, and the science as a whole, went through much improvement and refinement. What I'm concentrating on, though, when I was talking about refinement, isn't necessarily improvement on a gross, fundamental level, or to adapt design to different cultural and environmental concerns; rather, it is the concentration on tiny, relatively unimportant details. Admittedly, this view of the Japanese method for working on swords is NOT conducive to technological strides and innovation. Rather, it is the pursuit of a single ideal, sort of a zen exercise. The Japanese had assumed that they had reached the pinnacle of possible sword design a while ago, and they were then engaged in pursuit of the finest possible details. Details don't just mean small in terms of size - one detail, for example, could be the exact definition of the curve of the blade.

Of course, modern understanding of materials and physics, along with new techniques in machining, etc., mean that we can now make blades which out-perform traditional blades by a wide margin. This just goes to show that (what I see as) the traditional Japanese way of looking at things, striving ever closer to perfection in all the details, and even being based on a rather remarkable initial set of fundamentals, wasn't superior in actually making progress. Thus we get very expensive, very finely made, very remarkable swords - but ones which can be outperformed and which are rather restricted in their "allowed" aesthetics. Hell, the aesthetics were even controlled by law for some time, with edicts restricting the colors to black on black and the fittings to a single family/school of thought.

I hope that clears up any confusion. I personally enjoy nihonto very much, and think they have certain qualities that justify their extra expense above many other swords. However, I also very much enjoy swords of other times and cultures (I'm slowly amassing a small library on Anglo-Saxon and renaissance Western swords, and have often admired blades from the MIddle East and from India). And in a perhaps ironic reversal, I actually believe Western blades to be tougher than Japanese blades. And that isn't in the sense of "a hunk of metal that is indestructable, but barbaric" that one hears from so many lamentable sources; rather, I genuinely enjoy the beautiful aesthetics and of good western swords, as well as their terrific balance (too bad the Japanese never used pommels and any significant amount of distal taper) and metallurgical characteristics.

It might appear circular, in some ways - "Japanese swords are so expensive because they are such excellent swords made in the Japanese style" - but what I'm trying to say is that the Japanese fixated on a particular ideal, an idea of how a sword ought to be (based on a set of initial conditions), and then dogmatically pursued that ideal, rather than focus on "progress" in a Western sense. The result being a method of sword making that approaches the realization of a total idea. To see how far they've gone in pursuit of that aesthetic ideal, and the extremely fine details that result, is very enjoyable, and I personally see it more clearly there than in any other sword. Perhaps, in the end, there wasn't actually any point in pursuing that particular ideal - i.e., it was wasted effort. But in the progress of doing so, the Japanese tradition developed in so many amazing ways, and resulted in so many ingenious and effort-demanding methods of swordsmithing.

Say it's like wine. Wine lovers obsess over pedantic details that drive up prices. And others say, "okay - maybe wine has become so complex and so obsessed over that it becomes expensive to produce the 'best' bottles - but I don't even like wine, I like drink x!" And, of course, it would be ridiculous to compare drink x with wine, because they'd serve different purposes, have progressed in different ways, appeal to different tastes, and maybe some people don't even drink at all and think both people are crazy... But for alcoholic drinks made from fermented grapes, well, wine has become pretty refined. Same with nihonto - for curved single-edged swords that are differentially hardened and folded, well, nihonto have become pretty refined.

Does that make sense? Wink

Last edited by Gabriel Lebec on Sun 07 Aug, 2005 8:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
View user's profile Send private message
Gabriel Lebec
myArmoury Team

myArmoury Team

Location: NY, NY
Joined: 02 Oct 2003
Reading list: 32 books

Posts: 420

PostPosted: Sun 07 Aug, 2005 7:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm getting tired and I'm sure that I've been digging myself into more and more holes with the above replies. In fact, I wish I hadn't started writing on this subject, but since I have and it's already been replied to, I'll leave it there.

Put simply, I'm just trying to reconcile my beliefs that the expenses of Japanese swords are (mostly) justifiable, but that the fundamental design of a Japanese sword isn't inherently superior to most other swords. I'm also making the argument that it's in the finest of details that the Japanese sword has become so exquisite, and that I believe that any other sword type *could* become just as refined in its details, but that *I* (and apparently a number of other people) haven't seen any other sword become quite as devilish in its details. And finally, in terms of overall taste, I easily concede that the overall aesthetics of swords are excellent across many cultures and time, and whichever you like is totally fine.

Put all that together, and I really love to see swords of other types (besides Japanese) which are extremely finely made. I'm glad for Vince Evans, because I can link to things like this and say, "YES! That's what I'm talking about." And you know, it is true that the reputation of Japanese swords is a bit unfairly inflated while others are unfairly lower than they ought to be. And elitism, as well as prejudice, exists in most fields that become fairly deep and complex. Regardless of subject.

View user's profile Send private message
Taylor Ellis

PostPosted: Sun 07 Aug, 2005 9:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Gabriel, forgive me if you thought I was chastising you, it wasn't my intention at all. Cool

I'm glad you did reply though, as it has me thinking along similar lines. I like European swords of the 11th to the 14th centuries. I love the clean lines, the balance of handling and offensive considerations and in Don Nelson's words, the understated elegance of them. I think our community has matured quite a lot in the last few years, to the point where we no longer say everything is equally good or important or effective or beautiful because it's politically correct to do so, but rather because we know it to be so. Every culture has it's own shoddy pieces and outstanding examples. Even swords that aren't as "advanced" can still be beautiful and deadly weapons. Case in point are the many bronze age swords we see posted on these forums.
Obviously some designs call out to us more than others. We don't need to like everything, but I think as sword lovers we can certainly appreciate fine worksmanship, regardless of culture. That's why I love to read Keith Larman's posts. The Japanese aesthetic is interesting to me, but not to the point where I'd choose to buy a katana over a similarly priced European sword. It isn't my priority. However, everything he shows us is beautiful, effective and historically accurate (that is to say it fits in the originating culture's aesthetic, important if only for educational purposes) with no bs marketing or claims. Because we are not assailed with claims of superiority, true or not, we don't have our own views threatened and can appreciate each piece on it's merits. I think the sword community needs as much exposure to the top notch stuff as possible, simply to counteract the sheer amount of mediocrity out there. Happy
View user's profile Send private message
Liam Olson

Location: The United States of Awesome
Joined: 10 Jul 2009

Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri 10 Jul, 2009 4:30 am    Post subject: Nit picking         Reply with quote

I know I probably shouldn't be replying to a thread this old but I would just like to point out there is a difference between Odachi and Nodachi, in case you're using Nodachi cause it sounds cooler than Odachi. Odachi means 'great field sword' and Nodachi just means "field sword" and he's looking for a sword that's 7 feet long... i mean come on people! Obviously the sword is great! Razz
"I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers." - Gandhi
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Matthew Sharp

Location: Australia
Joined: 08 Aug 2009

Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat 08 Aug, 2009 7:21 pm    Post subject: Odachi         Reply with quote

Chris Mohrbacher,
Odachi can be obtained from swords of might.
The cheapest is $129 the most expensive is $1,099.
The longest tip to tip is 69"
Happy shopping. Big Grin;Page=1

"Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage." - Richard Lovelace
View user's profile Send private message
Nat Lamb

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 385

PostPosted: Sun 09 Aug, 2009 3:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gabriel Lebec wrote:
... and the downright symbolic.

Symbolic of what? Wink

On a more serious note, some of those odachi, while looking nice and impressive and all, did not look like weapons per se. I was flicking through them and one caught my eye, and I thought "hmm, that one actually looks like someone could use it as an effective weapon." (was the Kunimitsu one I think) anyway, then looked at the stats , and yep, cuting length of "only" 120cm. I find it interesting to note that the upper limit of usibility Gabriel mentioned sounds suprisingly close to the largest non parade or baring two-handed swords in europe, bit over 6 foot and 7 pounds. Might be something in that.
View user's profile Send private message
Justin Thompson

Joined: 20 Jul 2009

Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sun 09 Aug, 2009 7:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You want an odachi? You've got an odachi.
View user's profile Send private message

Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > Odachi
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum

All contents © Copyright 2003-2024 — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum