We all know about the fedora sword meme, people who like to say Japanese swords are the very best, and how that's not true.
But the opposite also happens, people who then say Katanas are shit swords and don't measure up.
So /k/, whats the truth?
Historically accurate katanas are not made from a homogenous piece of quality steel.
They have a soft steel or iron core, or backing, and a high quality steel used for the tip and edge.
This means if you bend it, it might not spring back.
Historically? Nope. It was considered high quality by their neighbors.
Actually, the Chinese have a high opinion of Japanese swords. Let that sink in: the Chinese, who were more advanced than the Japanese in Metallurgy at the time (i.e. they had blast furnaces for one thing while the rest of the world made do with bellows.)
>"From the land of the Rising Sun comes precious swords
Across the eastern sea the merchants of Yüeh fetch them
With scabbards of fragrant wood, sharkskin-covered, and bearing
Designs in silver and gold, trappings of brass and bronze;
For a hundred pieces of gold (if you like such things) you can buy one
And buckling that on your belt, defy all road side hags and devils"
Poet/Historian/Politician Ouyang Xiu, ca 1060AD, Song Dynasty.
>"They disdain life and are bloodthirsty… The blades of the Japanese sabers are sharp.
Chinese swords are inferior."
-Riben Kao (Study of Japan), by General Li Yangong. On the subject of Japanese pirates in the 16th Century
In fact, the Katana led to a revival of two handed sword use in China. Having fought nomads for so fucking long, the Chinese have pretty much disdained their two handed swords in favor of one handers (more useful for mounted combat or carrying a spear/bow around). Their battles with Japanese rogues during the 1300's-1400's on the other hand impressed Chinese infantry commanders, who then revived the Zhangdao (long dao) and the Shuang Shou Jian (Two Handed Jian) swords.
Also Japanese swords were in high demand in the civilian weapons trade since the Song Dynasty up until Japan closed off in the 1600's. Even then Chinese smugglers imported Japanese blades, particularly ones made by known masters, which were treated as works of art by discerning Chinese customers.
The katana is a fine sword. It did its job just fine. The primary weapon of samurai wasnt their katana, it was a pole arm.
The longsword is a fine sword, it did its job just fine. The primary weapon of a European knight wasn't his sword, it was a pole arm.
The idea of the katana being "better" than another sword is a stupid discussion to have. If we are talking about metallurgy it doesn't fucking matter, the Japanese fought wars very successfully against opponents with superior metallurgy. It didn't fucking matter. Because the primary weapons were pole arms.
If we are talking about a European knight fighting a Samurai, its still a stupid discussion, we might as well discuss Julius Caesar fighting Napoleon, it never happened, so its a stupid discussion.
If we are really going to try to argue about what sword shape is the best, you are just trolling at that point, swords are tools built to fulfill a purpose.
Talking about swords is just retarded in general, if tomorrow we all just abandoned firearms your skill with a sword would be useless, because everyone would be using polearms.
At the end of the day, the only real reason to carry a sword was you were a noble, and wanted the plebians to know it.
>op asks question
not to be pedantic but it would depend on the armor type (obviously). I was told that the design of the katana's tip was specifically for defeating samurai armor, though I don't know whether that's true or not.
I think swords are generally getting a bad rap in this thread. They are one of the most common infantry weapons in history and survived in various forms and in various cultures and places for many thousands of years despite the fact that they are more expensive to make than polearms, daggers, etc - they take a shitton of metal to construct comparatively.
Once the melee really closes and ranks are broken, nothing in the ancient worldis going to outdo a man with a sword for sheer killing potential.
Katana and thereshaped swords of kind were a means of using a lack of footing with a lengthly reach and use of speed in doing so.
On sand a one handed sword required a stance to pull the sword back to the user to strike again. The longer the heavier so. It had to be made a two handed sword. Much of the ground they fought upon was at a grade and soft or soggy. Slick often as rocks were mossy during half the year.
The shape is attuned to whoever could make the sword longer. So it had to be curved, a straight sword made with such metals and metallurgy would break easily. Or had to be wider.
It was an element of conditions and demand. Nothing more. The art style was carried over and not lost like much of our swordplay art styles of the west. Rediscovery has lead to a lot of pain and embarrassing displays against japanese sword culture/styles. Which is why there is so much butthurt.
>brits lost more than 4/5ths of all challenges made with sparring fencing versus wooden bokken
>the fucking brit champions lost
That's a bit of a complex question to answer.
At the time they were adopted, were they good swords? Yes.
They were "good" in that they were effective, or at least as effective as a sword primarily designed for cutting can be when used against a person in armor.
Were they better than swords used in Europe? No.
European metallurgy was just better than Japanese metallurgy, simply because the Europeans had access to better quality materials. Homogeneous steel is better than decent quality steel forge-welded to iron. European swords had flex to them, which allowed them to be specialized for thrusting attacks, which are much more effective against armored targets. It should be noted that no sword is capable of piercing a steel breastplate, but a nice, straight, pointy sword that isn't going to bend or snap when you apply massive amounts of pressure to it is going to be able to take advantage of chinks in the hard armor (no pun intended) and defeat the secondary layer of flexible armor underneath (I.E. chainmail and padding).
Furthermore, swords in general were more of a status symbol than actual weapons of war. Before Europe had the metallurgy to create things like plate armor, swords were incredibly time consuming to make, and prohibitively expensive. This, coupled with the fact that few people possessed armor (in the Anglo-Saxon period, a chainmail shirt would have costed as much as a house) led to swords gaining occult status, often having magical properties attributed to them (sound familiar?). By the time things like plate mail were much more common, so were swords, and their effectiveness was greatly diminished. This was when polearms, like spears, which were much more common throughout history, also surpassed the effectiveness of swords in almost every way, causing swords to be relegated to backup weapons, though they still retained their status as a symbol of nobility.
Of course, none of that shit matters because we have guns now.
Katanas are meme swords. They suck at pretty much everything and were surpassed by European swords hundreds of years ago.
Katanas are not the strongest swords, they're not the sharpest swords, they're not made of the best steel, they're not the most beautiful swords, they're not the most advanced swords.
They're basically mediocre swords built with shitty steel and the "pinnacle" of japanese engineering was that they figured out how to make a usable sword with shit steel. But they're not even the first ones to do that (Vikings figured it out long before that).
While Europeans (and others) kept on improving sword designs and kept on improving metallurgy, stupid japs stuck with "tradition" and just kept on polishing a turd for 600+ years.
Watch this guy explain it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLWzH_1eZsc
The japanese used this general design for about five centuries of nearly constant wars, I'd say it's at least good enough.
The japanese used straight blades before the katana.
>While Europeans (and others) kept on improving sword designs and kept on improving metallurgy, stupid japs stuck with "tradition" and just kept on polishing a turd for 600+ years.
In fact, the japanese made developped multiple types of metalurgy (at least 4-5 simultaneously, though some lasted more than other) in the general shapes of the katana/nihonto line.
Besides, Lindybeige, though somehow knowledgeable on some stuff knew, at least at that time, not so much on actual swordsmanship, and really nothing at all on japanese stuff. He is a larp dancer who didn't finish his archeology, and that's about it.
>In fact, the japanese made developped multiple types of metalurgy (at least 4-5 simultaneously, though some lasted more than other) in the general shapes of the katana/nihonto line.
And? They didn't use new steels to improve their swords/weapons and just stuck with MUH TRADITION.
>Besides, Lindybeige, though somehow knowledgeable on some stuff knew, at least at that time, not so much on actual swordsmanship, and really nothing at all on japanese stuff. He is a larp dancer who didn't finish his archeology, and that's about it.
What he does in his spare time is irrelevant. Try to refute his points instead of wasting time on idiotic ad hominem attacks.
Fact is that katanas are shit and the only reason why they're so revered is because of eastern mysticism, great marketing and weaboo stupidity.
Don't get me wrong, I love samurai ethos but let's get real.. katanas were surpassed by even 300BC european swords.
>katanas were surpassed by even 300BC european swords.
>noble wants better armor to protect from dirty peasants
>has his dirty peasants build better forges to make better armor
>now has better armor that everyone else is jealous of
>everyone else gets that better armor
>now everyone uses the same technology to shit out swords because they are useful
It's not a bait. Europeans were in a near-constant state of war for thousands of years and they had to adapt or perish. They constantly had to improve technology to survive. If something didn't work, they ended up dead. There was a constant improvement in armor and you had to adjust your weapons and find something that can defeat it.
Japs, on the other had, had relatively few wars and they fought them against other traditionalists. Pace of change and technological innovation was extremely slow. That's what allowed for their tradition to survive for so long.
Katanas are so shit, they couldn't even defeat 1st century AD european armor.
If Japan was just another country on European continent, and if they stuck to their traditions, they would have been conquered or gone extinct thousands of years ago.
>the Japanese fought wars very successfully against opponents with superior metallurgy
If you're talking about the Korean Invasions, most of the Korean military sucked and Japan mostly won through the use of guns and field artillery, which both Korea and China lacked in large numbers.
>Japan mostly won through the use of guns and field artillery
Japan had Muskets.
So did China
Japan had 0 field artillery.
China had *a lot* of artillery, and of different types (i.e. flying artillery, siege, light field pieces,)
Korea had some.
Japan's main weakness at sea is that they didn't have cannons at all.
pic related, bad iron makes bad steel. Compared to the same period toledo or Passeu steels, flexibility is your friend.
No, they had field artillery, they lost at sea because their ships were chiefly merchant vessels and and what naval artillery they had was painfully inferior to what Admiral Yi's ships had because he'd been expecting an invasion, much the same reason he had the turtle ships made.
>The japanese used this general design for about five centuries of nearly constant wars,
Against peasant uprisings and the occasional clash with a rival feudal lord maybe. Japan was an isolationist country that rarely experienced outside cultures are varying styles of warfare. They never caught on to the concept of the escalation of war where you evolve the level of your technology to match or better your enemy. Japan would have been completey raped if they had ever faced against Roman Legionnaires
What sorts of tactics? From what I know the few firearms introduced to Japan were from Christian contacts (Portuguese) during the sengoku jidai and they didn't advance much when isolated. By the time of boshin war the foreign derived guns were far, far superior.
Pike-and-shot almost entirely made of guns, not seen until the 30 Years War, and building boxes to go over the slow matches on their guns to protect it from the rain come to mind.
>Were they better than swords used in Europe? No.
>le better than or worse than myth
>European swords had flex to them, which allowed them to be specialized for thrusting attacks
Talk about historically inaccurate faggot talking out of his ass. Not all European blades had flexibility. Some actually bend just like Japanese katanas instead of bending or breaking or snapping. A lot of European sword blades broke as recorded in historical sources. It was common for swords both in Europe and Japan to break. Both sides had shit steel in comparison to modern steels. The Japanese only had a much drawn out process to make the same steel the Europeans had.
Swords that were made for thrusts were not supposed to be flexible for the fucking purpose of running people through. You would KNOW this if you ever held a real historical blade for thrusting from the fucking era. If a thrusting blade flexed during the thrust, it is then useless. These thrusting blades that flex a lot are only for training and sparring, so the other guy doesn't get killed. Don't think your fucking sparring blades are actually the same shit as real historical European blades, you rookies.
This is why the pro-Europe side of the discussion is as retarded as the pro-Japan side of the discussion.
>Then why have they been BTFO by every non Asian military ever.
Technically speaking, only America defeated the Japanese. The British, Dutch, and French all got overran by the Japanese during WW2. Australia was a stalemate for some reason or the other.
They were swords. No such real thing as the "very best sword" exists. They worked well for what they were used for, but just like other swords, they don't cut through concrete or other steel swords.
well, the French had already surrendered to Germany by then, and gave up indochina basically without a fight. The Dutch were a government in exile with limited funding. Lastly the Brits had gutted their pacific squadrons to fight the war in Europe.
All 3 did lose to the Japanese, but not on their best days.
After the Japanese started getting guns, they began to make their own and had their own designs. Instead of just using imported stuff.
It was the isolationism and I think some edicts from the Shogun that killed gun development for the japs. Not that they weren't quick to adopt modern firearms once the next civil war happened.
>They never caught on to the concept of the escalation of war where you evolve the level of your technology to match or better your enemy.
The armies changed quite a lot after the mongol invasions, forming pike blocks and using long spears en masse. Japan had larger armies than Europe in the 16th century and almost 75% of the Korean invasion was made with gunners, if it isn't escalation of technology, I don't know what that is. They were way quicker than the euros to systematize guns over pretty much everything else.
>No, they had field artillery
The first significant use of artillery in Japan was Sekigahara and the Siege of Osaka. Thats when Tokugawa pretty much bought shitloads of cannon from the English. Years after the Imjin War.
>They lost at sea because their ships were chiefly merchant vessels
Wrong again. The Japanese had dedicated warships. Problem is most of them are based on the traditional Japanese method of naval combat: which is to board the other guys ships. Sucks for them as the 1500's is the age of Naval Gunnery.
They had artillery, sure, but it was very rare and in small calibers. China pretty much offset Japan's advantage in Musketry (they had better tactics as China's musketry is geared for fighting in the steppes) by having large amounts of artillery batteries.
>the Burma theater never happened
British, with a force mostly of people who don't know how to shit in toilets, destroyed Japan over and over again.
you can make effective mail and plate Armour from relatively low quality metals and it will still be incredibly (just heavier then the well made stuff) while a sword demands good steels
>a force mostly of people who don't know how to shit in toilets
According to the photo, those where Gurkhas. Those dudes are badass motherfuckers. That's why the Brits still recruit them even today.
>Sucks for them as the 1500's is the age of Naval Gunnery.
fuck those guys
I agree that Gurkhas don't shit in toilets but they're excellent troops. You make it sound like they were leading an army of "mostly" chimps. And the photo says "Gurkhas advancing to clear the Japanese" and the force is listed at British India which would have included Nepal at the time so I don't know if you're blind or stupid or both.
There were 3 divisions and 2 brigades in the British OoB. There were not enough Gurkhas in the British army to form 4 divisions. Those were hastily formed divisions from other places in India.
You wrote all 7 paragraphs of that shit, simply to say "your question is stupid and I don't know the answer"
Wouldn't it have been easier to just abandon thread and move on? You worthless cum guzzling heffalump. Go rape yourself with an mg42 after 500rds have been fired through it.
Swords are made to cut into the gaps and weaknesses of armor, so that isn't really relevant.
A lot of martial tradition of Japan started were wars between clans were in full effect and there was quite a bloom of them at the height of the 16th century wars, so no, the japanese sword ain't made strictly to cut unarmoured people, though like most swords, it can do it with ease, though it ain't even a challenge to begin with...