Created By: Larkmarn on April 23, 2013 Last Edited By: Larkmarn on May 6, 2013
Troped

Naginatas Are Feminine

In Japanese works, naginatas are feminine weapons.

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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.

Examples:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books
  • 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.

Literature
  • 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.

Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons & Dragons supplement Oriental Adventures (1985). The description of the naginata said it "is often the preferred weapon of women."

Toys
  • 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.

Video Games

Real Life
Community Feedback Replies: 24
  • April 23, 2013
    Astaroth
    Subtrope of Blade On A Stick (Which, I notice, already has a paragraph noting a link between naganata and women in Japanese culture)
  • April 23, 2013
    Larkmarn
    ... wow, how'd I miss that? Thanks.
  • April 23, 2013
    KingZeal
    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.
  • April 23, 2013
    Ghilz
    There's some non Japanese examples that involve other polearms. So it might be a good idea to not make the trope exclusively focused on the Japanese interpretation. Some examples:

    In the Skaldic Poem Hakonarmal, The Valkyrie Gondul has a spear. In fact, most Valkyries have names that relate to the Spear (Odin's weapon) (Old Norse word for spear: Geirr): Geirahoo, Geiravor, Geirdriful (Spear-flinger), Geironul, Geirskogul (Spear Shaker), etc...

    Similarly, In Greek Mythology, one of Athena's symbol is the spear. And she's often depicted with one in hand in her role as a goddess of war.

    Judith in Tales of Vesperia is the only playable spear user, and female.

    In the Soul Calibur series, both Seung Mina and Hildegard von Krone use polearms (The later also uses sword).

    In Diablo 2, the Amazon specializes in Spears and bows.

    In the Wizardry games, the female-only Valkyrie class specializes in spears and polearms.

    EDIT: and the wiki hates special characters.
  • April 23, 2013
    Mimimurlough
    First order is to answer this question: what is a naginata?
  • April 23, 2013
    Bisected8
    A Blade On A Stick similar to a halberd but with a machete instead of an ax, I think.
  • April 23, 2013
    Mimimurlough
    Write that in the first paragraph. You can't have a whole trope about an obscure weapon without explaining what it is.
  • April 24, 2013
    Koveras
  • April 24, 2013
    TheHandle
    Hm. What about Sanada Yukimura from Sengoku Basara, who dual wields Naginata? Could one say he's feminine?
  • April 24, 2013
    AmyGdala
    Not a subtrobe of Blade On A Stick; that isn't a trope, but this is.
  • April 24, 2013
    Lyendith
    • Momiji in the Ninja Gaiden series fights with a Naginata and a bow, as the shrine maiden of the Hayabusa village.
  • April 24, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Ghilz: My issue with some of those is I'm afraid that broadening the trope to Polearms Are Feminine is that I'm worried that it will lose some of the significance because the Japanese examples are steeped in cultural significance, whereas the western ones may just be women's Weapon Of Choice that happens to be a Blade On A Stick.

    That said, if other people think that it should be expanded, I'm willing to consider it. I definitely think considering spear-users in Japanese works in non-Japanese settings, since they're using naginata-analogs and the same meaning is conveyed.
  • April 24, 2013
    unluckykillerchibi
    Nadeshiko Fujisaki from Shugo Chara uses one when chara changing with Temari, though it's sort of an subversion since Nadeshiko isreally a guy
  • April 24, 2013
    acrobox
    Subverted in Gundam Wing, Wufei's Gundam uses a beam Naginata. It's only later you find out that he named his Gundam Nataku after his late wife who was also a mobile suit pilot, only agreed to continue using it in her memory.
  • April 25, 2013
    uGuardian4
    Ririchiyo from Inu X Boku SS uses a naginata as her weapon.
  • April 25, 2013
    Larkmarn
    ^^^ I need a bit more context. Since the trope is about being feminine, it seems like a cross dresser using one would be a played with example, but an example nonetheless.

    ^^ Not adding the Gundam Wing example because A: It's a beam glaive and B: his wife being the Gundam pilot was a Retcon from Episode Zero, so it's really more of a coincidence than anything else.

    ^ Needs context.

  • April 26, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Oh, also not mentioning Yukimora Sanada since those are spears, which he's traditionally historically associated with anyway.
  • April 26, 2013
    Darthcaliber
    Jinx the female ninja in GI Joe- almost all toy versions of the character include a duel bladed naginata as her primary weapon. Strangely though she is rarely seen using one in most media.
  • April 26, 2013
    Larkmarn
    Added a few more examples. I think I'm not going to expand it and just keep it to naginatas or obviously naginata-inspired weapons (For example, the Tenchi Muyo example isn't a naginata per se, since it's an alien transforming laser sword, but it still counts in spirit).
  • April 26, 2013
    Irrisia
    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.
  • April 27, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Dungeons And Dragons supplement Oriental Adventures (1985). The description of the naginata said it "is often the preferred weapon of women."
  • April 28, 2013
    Marz1200
    Literature
    • 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.
  • April 29, 2013
    GeminiSparkSP
    Oichi from Sengoku Basara dual wields this.
  • May 6, 2013
    Larkmarn
    I think this is good to launch, but anyone have any more examples?

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=dyn7t24eway7amnp0zi3f5yb&trope=NaginatasAreFeminine