Some people say that the straight bladed ninja sword never existed in feudal Japan. That ALL swords were curved, and that the whole straight blade and square tsuba look was created for the Sho Kosugi ninja movies during the 1980’s. However, there was such a weapon used by the Ashigaru. The Ashigaru were foot-soldiers throughout feudal japan. They were not of Samurai class, but rather the paramilitaries of their day. They specialized in guerrilla warfare. Some became mercenaries. Assassins to the highest bidder. Doe’s this sound familiar?
The Ashigaru had the skills and the intelligence to fashion their own crude sword-like weapons from pole-arms such as the naginata. Crude as they were – they were effective weapons.
If you check out the graphic (below) you may be able to spot the similarities between the naginata (pole-arm) and the chokuto (straight, single edged sword). This supports the theory that the Ashigaru may have produced their own improvised weapons.
Here is the latest addition to my collection. The Hand Forged Ninja Sword that I purchased from the Blades UK Clearance Facebook page. This item was reduced in price to only £26 – due to some small dents on the saya, but you can hardly see them at all. It’s hand forged with carbon steel. It has a real ray skin tsuka, and it’s ultra sharp. The blade itself is unblemished. Immaculate. It is NOT the exact same size as the commercial ninjato that are available over the internet. It’s blade length and handle length is the same as a standard katana. If anything its more Ashigaru than it is ninja! A more appropriate name for this sword would be the chokutō instead of the ninjato.
Hanwei ninja swords can cost anything from £240 – £448. They do have shorter straight blades and a square tsuba – just like the movie ninja sword. It may be made of a higher grade carbon steel than some other brands of ninjato. If you are looking for a bargain I can recommend a visit to the Blades UK Clearance Facebook page and don’t forget to click the like and follow buttons.
I don’t buy cheap swords – I buy swords cheap!
Please practice responsibly, and enjoy your budo.