View Full Version : Naginata & Nagamaki length/dimensions

26th July 2002, 16:41

I'm trying to find some information about the length of staff and blade in a tradition naginata. Can anyone point me towards a resource on the net which might have some diagrams and information? I've got pictures of the naginata in use, but I would like something a little more specific about length, weight etc.


26th July 2002, 18:03
Hi Sebastian,
That is very much like asking what was the size and weight of a traditional katana. They varied greatly according to the user and the conditions. According to the Southern California Naginata Federation ... http://www.scnf.org/ ... The shaft length varied from 5 to 8 feet, and the blades lengths varied from 10 inches to 2 feet! I would say that it would be pretty hard to say that any one size or weight was 'traditional'. Not much help, but there you go!


Eric Montes
26th July 2002, 18:08

There is no 'standard', per se. Each ryu has its specifics and even within the ryu (or at least the one I practice) the naginata were originally 'sized' to the practitioner. There are even sets of techniques that are designed for large and small naginata.

The naginata of 150 years ago are much smaller than the ones that were mad 300 years ago.

If you can locate them, Ellis Amdur wrote several excellent articles on the evolution of the Naginata in the Journal of Asian Martial Arts.

Also, Knutsen's Japanese Polearms is an excellent resource, but it is very difficult to find. Not to mention expensive.


10th May 2004, 12:14
Hi! Hope all is well and going good for all. Its been a long time since I posted something here, but here I am again. :cool:

In my research I have found that the Naginata is a bladed staff which the pole's length may vary from 6 ft to 8 ft long (Or better yet 6 shaku to 8 shaku in pole length). And with the Nagimaki, the pole's length may vary from 4ft to 6 ft long (Or better yet 4 shaku to 6 shaku in pole length)

Now, I have also have come across in my research about the Sohei(Warrior Monk) that some used a Naginata that was between 4ft and 6ft in pole length. I am wondering if the person who transcribed or translated the info, just put "naginata" because he did not know any better about the "nagimaki" or that it really said "naginata". Also it could be that the "naginata" on a 4ft long pole was called "nagimaki" and that the term "naginata" was used as a general term. I just got the info, not the name of the person who translated or transcribed the info.

So, what do you think? Has anyone found something similar(or different) to this which I have posted here? Or can anyone shed some light and correct me if my info is wrong?

10th May 2004, 18:34
the correct term is "nagAmaki" and the kanji are toatally different from the ones for "naginata" so if it was a translation error somebody needs a new job.
There is an Osprey Series volume about the shei, maybe that can help you. Its written, as always, by S. Turnbull.


10th May 2004, 19:29

Hi! And thank you for replying to my post. Thanks for the correction, my bad. :p

I saw the Sohei booklet by Mr.Turnbull, but I do not recall anything about the Nagamaki. I believe he mentions Naginata and even one with a 4 shaku shaft(pole) as being the shortest although there are others longer over the 6 shaku.

Can anyone verify the true length of the Nagamaki vs. the Naginata? Does anyone have pictures? I was told by one system that the Nagamaki was short being the pole of 4 shaku long, although this same system uses the Naginata of that same shaft length.

Thanks for your help once again!

Arnold Vargas

11th May 2004, 10:38
Hey, thank to those who emailed me, I got it. So for the Nagamaki the blade is somewhat different and the shaft length is as said before, but there are also 4 shaku long shaft on some Naginata as well. It looks like the Nagamaki and Naginata has had their incarnations as other weapons did in Japan.


Arnold Vargas