The nagamaki (長巻, "long wrapping") is a type of traditionally made Japanese sword (nihontō)   with an extra long handle, used by the samurai class of feudal Japan. 
It is possible that nagamaki were first produced during the Heian period (794 to 1185) but there are no known examples dating from before the mid Kamakura period (1192–1333).  During the middle of the Muromachi period (1336–1573) the nagamaki reached its peak of usage. It was generally used as a weapon for low-ranking samurai who fought on foot. 
The famed warlord Uesugi Kenshin, daimyō of Echigo Province, is said to have had a special guard of retainers armed with nagamaki. 
The nagamaki was a long sword with a blade that could be 60 cm or more and a handle of about equal length to the blade.  The blade was single-edged, resembling a naginata blade, but the handle (tsuka) of the nagamaki was not a simple wooden shaft as in the naginata; it was made more like a katana hilt. Even the name "nagamaki" ("long wrapping") is given by the tradition of handle wrapping. The nagamaki's handle was wrapped with leather or silk cords in criss-crossed manner, very similar to that of a katana's. The nagamaki is considered to be evolved from the extremely long ōdachi or nodachi swords that are described in fourteenth century literature and pictorial sources. 
The length of blade varies on a nagamaki. However, the nagasa (blade length) most commonly fits the profile of a tachi or katana blade, which would be a blade of more than 2 shaku (2 Shaku = 60.6 cm, roughly 2 feet) in length. While nagamaki means "long wrap", there have been specimens found with no wrapping cord at all, which is very much like a long tachi handle. The tsukamaki (hilt wrap) is of even more importance when applied to the hilt. The cord helps to improve grip on the hilt and also lends structural integrity to the wooden handle. Nagamaki found without hilt wraps usually had at least metal collars around the hilt where the tang is.[ citation needed ]
There are no solid rules governing the aspects of the make of the nagamaki. Unlike wakizashi, tantō, and katana, which have had history of strict measurements regarding the blade length and even the hilt in some cases; the nagamaki varied in blade length, tang length, kissaki style, etc. Nagamaki presumably could have koshirae in a tachi or katana style as well as a nagamaki style, however there are examples of nagamaki with rather long tangs, which could be fitted with a longer staff for a haft and effectively function as a naginata. Araki-ryū nagamaki is a heavy naginata over 3.5 kilograms in weight and 240 cm long. 
All traditional Japanese swords are fitted very snugly to their hilts and held in place with a mekugi, a bamboo peg which is fit through a hole in the tang called a mekugi-ana. This is actually quite a strong mount when done correctly, and allowed for easy dismount of the bare blade for maintenance or inspection. Katana most commonly had one single pin, and nagamaki commonly have been found with two or more to account for the added leverage of a longer handle.[ citation needed ]
Wielding is very specific; it is held with two hands in a fixed position in the same way a katana is held. Unlike the naginata, the hands do not change when handling the weapon and the right hand was always the closest to the blade. While handling nagamaki fewer sliding actions on the handle are performed than are with the naginata, where the entire length of the shaft is used. The nagamaki is designed for large sweeping and slicing strokes.  Traditionally the nagamaki was used as an infantry weapon, frequently used against cavalry.
A bokken is a Japanese wooden sword used for training in kenjutsu. It is usually the size and shape of a katana, but is sometimes shaped like other swords, such as the wakizashi and tantō. Some ornamental bokken are decorated with mother-of-pearl work and elaborate carvings. Sometimes it is spelled "boken" in English.
A Japanese sword is one of several types of traditionally made swords from Japan. Bronze swords were made as early as the Yayoi period, though most people generally refer to the curved blades made from the Heian period to the present day when speaking of "Japanese swords". There are many types of Japanese swords that differ by size, shape, field of application and method of manufacture. Some of the more commonly known types of Japanese swords are the uchigatana, tachi, odachi, wakizashi, and tantō.
A polearm or pole weapon is a close combat weapon in which the main fighting part of the weapon is fitted to the end of a long shaft, typically of wood, extending the user's effective range and striking power. Polearms are predominantly melee weapons, with a subclass of spear-like designs fit for both thrusting and throwing. Because many polearms were adapted from agricultural implements or other fairly abundant tools, and contained relatively little metal, they were cheap to make and readily available. When belligerents in warfare had a poorer class who could not pay for dedicated military weapons, they would often appropriate tools as cheap weapons. The cost of training was comparatively low, since these conscripted farmers had spent most of their lives using these "weapons" in the fields. This made polearms the favoured weapon of peasant levies and peasant rebellions the world over.
A tachi is a type of sabre-like traditionally made Japanese sword (nihonto) worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan. Tachi and uchigatana generally differ in length, degree of curvature, and how they were worn when sheathed, the latter depending on the location of the mei (銘), or signature, on the tang. The tachi style of swords preceded the development of the katana, which was not mentioned by name until near the end of the twelfth century. Tachi were the mainstream Japanese swords of the Kotō period between 900 and 1596. Even after the Muromachi period (1336–1573), when katana became the mainstream, tachi were often worn by high-ranking samurai.
The wakizashi is one of the traditionally made Japanese swords worn by the samurai in feudal Japan.
The daishō—literally "big-little"—is a Japanese term for a matched pair of traditionally made Japanese swords (nihonto) worn by the samurai class in feudal Japan.
The naginata is a pole weapon and one of several varieties of traditionally made Japanese blades (nihontō). Naginata were originally used by the samurai class of feudal Japan, as well as by ashigaru and sōhei. The naginata is the iconic weapon of the onna-musha, a type of female warrior belonging to the Japanese nobility. A common misconception is that the Naginata is a sword, rather than a pole.
Yari (槍) is the term for a traditionally-made Japanese blade in the form of a spear, or more specifically, the straight-headed spear. The martial art of wielding the yari is called sōjutsu.
A tantō is one of the traditionally made Japanese swords that were worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan. The tantō dates to the Heian period, when it was mainly used as a weapon but evolved in design over the years to become more ornate. Tantō were used in traditional martial arts (tantojutsu). The term has seen a resurgence in the West since the 1980s as a point style of modern tactical knives, designed for piercing or stabbing.
The hanbō is a staff used in martial arts. Traditionally, the hanbō was approximately three shaku or about 90 centimetres (35 in) long, half the length of the usual staff, the rokushakubō. Diameter was 2.4 to 3 centimetres. However, depending on the school the length and diameter varied.
A kodachi, literally translating into "small or short tachi (sword)", is one of the traditionally made Japanese swords (nihontō) used by the samurai class of feudal Japan. Kodachi are from the early Kamakura period (1185–1333) and are in the shape of a tachi. Kodachi are mounted in tachi style, but with a length of less than 60 cm. They are often confused with wakizashi, due to their length and handling techniques. However, their construction is what sets the two apart, as kodachi are a set length while wakizashi are forged to complement the wielder's height or the length of their katana. As a result, the kodachi was too short to be called a sword properly but was also too long to be considered a dagger, thus it is widely considered a primary short sword, unlike the tantō or the wakizashi which would act as a secondary weapon that was used alongside a longer blade.
A kusarigama is a traditional Japanese weapon that consists of a kama on a kusari-fundo – a type of metal chain (kusari) with a heavy iron weight (fundo) at the end. The kusarigama is said to have been developed during the Muromachi period. The art of handling the kusarigama is called kusarigamajutsu.
The ōdachi (大太刀) or nodachi is a type of traditionally made Japanese sword used by the samurai class of feudal Japan. The Chinese equivalent of this type of sword in terms of weight and length is the miaodao or the earlier zhanmadao, and the Western battlefield equivalent is the Zweihänder or claymore.
The English language terminology used in the classification of swords is imprecise and has varied widely over time. There is no historical dictionary for the universal names, classification or terminology of swords; a sword was simply a double edged knife.
A jitte or jutte is a specialized weapon that was used by police in Edo period Japan.
Japanese sword mountings are the various housings and associated fittings that hold the blade of a Japanese sword when it is being worn or stored. Koshirae (拵え) refers to the ornate mountings of a Japanese sword used when the sword blade is being worn by its owner, whereas the shirasaya is a plain undecorated wooden mounting composed of a saya and tsuka that the sword blade is stored in when not being used.
Japanese swordsmithing is the labour-intensive bladesmithing process developed in Japan for forging traditionally made bladed weapons (nihonto) including katana, wakizashi, tantō, yari, naginata, nagamaki, tachi, nodachi, ōdachi, kodachi, and ya (arrow).
A katana is a Japanese sword characterized by a curved, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate two hands. Developed later than the tachi, it was used by samurai in feudal Japan and worn with the edge facing upward. Since the Muromachi period, many old tachi were cut from the root and shortened, and the blade at the root was crushed and converted into katana. The specific term for katana in Japan is uchigatana (打刀) and the term katana (刀) often refers to single-edged swords from around the world.
This is the glossary of Japanese swords, including major terms the casual reader might find useful in understanding articles on Japanese swords. Within definitions, words set in boldface are defined elsewhere in the glossary.