The purpose of this study is to clarify the process of acceptance regarding the characteristics of Japanese swords in Ji-Xiao-Xin-Shu “紀效新書”. Ji-Xiao-Xin-Shu is a Chinese book on martial arts that was written in the 16th century. There were two editions of this book, one was published around 1560-1566 (the earlier edition), and the other was published in 1584 (the later edition).
In this paper, we focused on the yao-dao “腰刀” and the chang-dao “長刀” in those two editions of the book. The conclusions of our study are :
1. The yao-dao in the earlier edition has some special features that were adopted from the Japanese sword such as a single edge, a long thin edge, and an edge that is longer than the hilt, and a slightly curved edge. The yao-dao was used with a shield made of cane in the earlier edition of Ji-Xiao-Xin-Shu. In the traditional Chinese military idea, a sword was used with a wooden shield, and both the sword and shield were very heavy. The yao-dao and a shield made from cane were lighter than the traditional Chinese swords and shields, therefore, these new weapons replaced the old ones. Through this process, some features of the Japanese sword were accepted in the earlier edition of Ji-Xiao-Xin-Shu.
2. In the later edition of Ji-Xiao-Xin-Shu, the yao-dao and the chang-dao were described. There was an explanation about how to make the yao-dao, and some special features that came from the Japanese sword were described in the explanations. While both the yao-dao and the chang-dao have special features that come from Japanese sword, they are distinguished from each other by the total length of the sword with the chang-dao being longer than the yao-dao. The yao-dao was used with a shield made from cane, and the chang-dao was used with a rifle in the later edition of Ji-Xiao-Xin-Shu. In the earlier edition of Ji-Xiao-Xin-Shu, the chang-dao and rifle were also described, however, there were no explanations in detail. In addition, there was no guidance given on how to use the chang-dao with a rifle. In the later edition of Ji-Xiao-Xin-Shu, the special features of the Japanese sword were accepted through the military idea such as using the chang-dao with a rifle.