A naginata is a Japanese Blade on a Stick
similar to a glaive, characterized by a long, curved blade with a handguard. In Japanese works especially, naginatas are a common weapon for a female close-range fighter. In works that don't stress the relatively subtle difference between weapons, it may be generalized to simply "spear" rather than a naginata.
In practical terms, a pole weapon makes sense for a woman as its longer reach compensates for the woman's presumed shorter stature. Additionally it is effective since weight and strength are less important at a distance.
This has its roots in Japanese history. After the naginatas fell out of use by soldiers and samurai on the battlefield, they found a place as a symbol of status for samurai's wives. While advancements in firearms led to the weapon not being as useful on the battlefield, a noblewoman was still expected to be able to defend her home with it while her husband was at war.
Often a sign of a Lady of War
. Subtrope to Weapon of Choice
Anime and Manga
- Kan-U from Ikki Tousen is the only character in the first season who regularly uses a weapon. In her case it's justified as she's a reincarnation of Guan Yu.
- Played with in Lone Wolf and Cub. The protagonist uses a naginata (disguised as part of a baby carriage), and is on the far end of Rated M for Manly. Various female or young protagonists, however, use it.
- Satsuki Amamiya from Twinkle Saber Nova is the most feminine and graceful member of the Ally of Justice Club and her signature weapon is a naginata.
- Mobile Fighter G Gundam: The Rising Gundam, based off of the main character's Shining Gundam, is designed with a heat naginata rather than the original's beam sabers (as well as a Rising Arrow rather than a Shining Finger. It winds up being piloted only by the love interest, Rain Mikamura in a Designated Girl Fight.
- High School Of The Dead: Rei Miyamoto uses one, as she was a member of the naginatajutsu club.
- Shizuru Fujino's Element in the Mai-HiME anime (she doesn't fight in the manga) is a large naginata whose blade doubles as a Whip Sword.
- Azumi Kiribayishi Real Bout High School, an Heir to the Dojo Lady of War with a Noblewoman's Laugh, wields a naginata. Well, okay, most of the time, she uses one with a wooden blade, but isn't averse to busting out a real one for "serious" fights.
- Played with in Shugo Chara!. Nadeshiko Fujisaki from uses one when chara changing with Temari. The twist comes into play when Nadeshiko is revealed to really be a guy. Given that Temari is born from Nadeshiko's desire to become a graceful dancer, it still equates the naginata with femininity.
- When Tenchi or his grandfather uses the weapon Tenchi in Tenchi Muyo! (... that's not confusing), it's used as a sword with a Laser Blade. When his mother Achika uses it in the first movie, its handle extends to naginata-like lengths.
- In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Gurren Gakuen-hen, Yoko carries around a naginata in place of her rifle. No one seems to mind her pulling it out on school grounds.
- Action Girl Atena in Kamui Den is a naginata master.
- Protagonist Takiko in Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden took naginatajutsu classes during her time as an Ordinary High-School Student. When she becomes Trapped in Another World she has a naginata made for her.
- Otae from Gintama is set up to be a traditional Yamato Nadeshiko and has several of the feminine aspects, but as it turns out is also violent and a poor cook.
- Y: The Last Man includes a rather ridiculous naginata duel in its Japan arc. "Ridiculous" in the sense that the Japanese attacker shows up Dual Wielding two naginatas, which gives the Action Girl defender a chance to swipe one and face off against her.
- A western fantasy example in Tamora Pierce's Tortall books, specifically the Protector of the Small books. Keladry is trained in them, and her mother once helped hold off a pirate invasion with one. They're specifically mentioned as a weapon woman train in the Yamani isles, which are based on Japan.
- In City of Ashes the second book in The Mortal Instruments series, Isabelle walks in with her trademark whip and a naginata. When Alec asks if the naginata is for him, she tells him to get his own weapon, promptly giving it to their mother.
- Dungeons & Dragons supplement Oriental Adventures (1985). The description of the naginata said it "is often the preferred weapon of women."
- Jinx the Japanese female ninja in G.I. Joe: almost all toy versions of the character include a dual bladed naginata as her primary weapon. Strangely, she is rarely seen using one in most media appearances.
- In Japan, naginatajutsu is primarily practiced by women, while in Europe and Australia the gender difference is much more even.
- Real life historical Japanese warrior women tended to use naginatas. It is the primary Weapon of Choice of the Onna-bugeisha warrior class. They included: