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Japanese Bows (Read 4081 times)
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Japanese Bows
May 30th, 2004 at 4:00am
 
I just watched The Last Samurai, Tom Cruise movie.  It was an ok movie, but what really got my attention were the bows, the Yumi.  I already knew about these bows, made of bamboo strips, laminated and boxed in with mulberry wood; all a little difficult to get hold of.  I know that the Japanese used other types of bows, long, self bows, but there is nothing on the internet about them, and I don't have any books on Japanese bows.
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Re: Japanese Bows
Reply #1 - May 30th, 2004 at 10:52am
 
Try primitive archer magazine's back issues. It seems for several months they had articles on japanses bows.
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Re: Japanese Bows
Reply #2 - May 30th, 2004 at 11:29am
 
Another thing on my 'one of these days' list is to build one. I don't have much to go on either but did get to shoot one years ago.

As far as the movie goes...well the one major flaw in the props(other than the way the blades were marked) was the armor. Something about the plates being inverted, pretty much inside out, botherd me.
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Re: Japanese Bows
Reply #3 - May 30th, 2004 at 12:31pm
 
im not sure if this happened in the last samauri but in LOTR 3 when sam was fighting shelob (the big spider not sure how to spell it) he stabbed her with his left hand then the sword jumped into his right in the next scene way off topic but i just wanted to share that little tidbit about how dumb hollywood is
Sean
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Re: Japanese Bows
Reply #4 - May 31st, 2004 at 8:17am
 
Yeah, I just got DVD of ROTK.  What I really thought about it was how it was very stereotyped; the good guys have swords, self bows, long hair, and all that rubbish.  Bad guys have eastern style composite bows, ugly busted-up faces, glaives, pikes, clubs, maces.  Still quite a good film though, really.
  Anyway, I thought that most of the props in the Last Samurai were well researched and correct, even down to the ninja techniques and weapons (like the way they broke in to kill the Samurai guy by jumping over the walls on each others' shoulders).  However, the film did rather back up the myth of superiority of Japanese swords.  They are not THAT good.  They look very nice, and no doubt they are very sharp, but there are many stories of blades sticking in bodies, and blades breaking; even one legend of a samurai praying in battle, so that the Gods would help him pull his sword out of the body of a (former) enemy.  A medieval sword would probably be deadlier on the battlefield; even an Anglo Saxon sword.  The Samurai actually began with prominence in the bow and arrow.  Indeed, early Japanese books say the Samurai were trained in the way of the "horse and bow", no mention of the sword.  The sword was merely another weapon in a long line of weapons the Samurai would use in battle; beginning with the bow (the Maru-ki, a self bow, in the early stages, and the Shi Ge To Yumi later on, the aforementioned bamboo laminate bow, later on, around the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries [I looked this up, and found it in the book "Longbow"]) then the spear, then sword, then the wakizashi [short sword for those who don't know], and then right down to bare fists: this really did happen sometimes.  It is then no wonder that Kyudo and Kyujutsu (the archery) is more popular then fencing, and even considered the highest of all martial arts, the most spiritual.  I'd still like to know more about the early Japanese bows, because although I now know the name, I haven't actually seen any pictures.
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Re: Japanese Bows
Reply #5 - May 31st, 2004 at 9:13pm
 
I liked how the Weapons in the last Samauri were accurate such as the Bo Shuriken(not sure on the spelling) how they actually threw them correctly and they had little tastles(little things of feathers or string but i forgot the spelling) on them.
Sean
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Re: Japanese Bows
Reply #6 - May 31st, 2004 at 9:32pm
 
http://www.xsorbit3.com/users/buildabow/index.cgi?board=BT&action=display&num=10...

Try this out English

Johnny

I spent 2 weeks in Japan back in 1986 and took photos of swords, armour and bows. The bows are awesome. I will make a Yumi bow one of these days!
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Re: Japanese Bows
Reply #7 - Jun 1st, 2004 at 6:41am
 
Yeah, they are beautiful bows.  I think they are probably the most aesthetically pleasing of all bows, even English longbows and eastern composites.  I like the rattan wrapped around the limbs; it is very individualistic.  I've shot one before in London at a archery club, and it was very smooth.
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Re: Japanese Bows
Reply #8 - Jul 30th, 2005 at 12:46pm
 
I once saw someone shoot a yumi. They are accurate if you know how to shoot them. I dont like the draw method much.
I saw LOTR also. Very interesting. Good filming to show the evil people with dark bows, weapons, ragged fletching, inaccurate, busted up faces, single eyes, ragged teeth, evil speaking and manner. Good filming to show the "White Wizard" little hobbits, longbows, white staffs to somehow shove away those ugly flying reptiles.
Catapults were terribly inaccurate. How could something with a lever ratio of 1:3 have enough counterweight and speed to hurl giant rocks through Minas Tirith? Its a lot like that picture in most of Sir Ralph Payne/Gallweys books. There is something resembling a seesaw throw barrels near a castle for improvised fortification to attack the castle with fire arrows. Really stupid. The operators of the engines would die of archer fire. If they had the ability to make siege engines, they would have had giant ballista to throw javelins a few hundred yards.

Ever read about Shaka Zulu? He had some pretty evil fighters. Invented a new type of spear. Kind of looks like an onnegganoda(sp). Named it after the sucking noise it made when you pulled it out of someones flesh. Gaklush or something or other.
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Re: Japanese Bows
Reply #9 - Jul 30th, 2005 at 7:42pm
 
the only problem i had with the last samurai is that they wouldnt of sent in that many ninjas to kill 1 person.
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Re: Japanese Bows
Reply #10 - Jul 31st, 2005 at 7:36am
 
No, as a matter of fact, you're wrong.  Ninjas were used en masse on most occasions - fifty to a hundred or so at a time.  In the film, the ninjas are not just there to assassinate that one man, but to sabotage and kill as many people in the samurai camp as possible.  There were instance of shinobi being used to assassinate individuals alone - but these were rare, because they were ineffective.
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Re: Japanese Bows
Reply #11 - Aug 1st, 2005 at 12:20pm
 
So they used that many ninjas to kill one person and as many other people they could..

Dont ninjas have the ability to incapacitate as many as 5 people versus one Ninja? Dont they just stick them in the eyes, knock them out.. general cheap shots. Then pretty much run?
.. Heres an interesting one..
Are there practicing ninjas today?
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Re: Japanese Bows
Reply #12 - Aug 1st, 2005 at 12:22pm
 
there are people who THINK they are ninjas but i dont know if there are any real ninja.
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Re: Japanese Bows
Reply #13 - Aug 1st, 2005 at 5:09pm
 
They would not be known as ninja/shinobi.  This term refers to mercenary troops of Iga and Koga provinces of Japan, and some other places in Japan.  Ninja no longer exist.  Their use was stopped after Tokugawa Iesayu gained control of Japan.  Ninja were just that, though - mercenaries, perhaps the only mercenaries in Japan of the sengoku jidai era.  They were like second world war commandos, who attacked in small units (not alone - 50-100 men was, like I say, the norm, most often more), to sabotage and soften up troops before an assault.  They used ingenious devices, and they did fight dirty, but they weren't these lone wolf, extreme martial artist, Bruce Lee-meets-Musashi fighters of the common image.
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