Melee Weapons
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ID: 1660


January 19, 2007, 11:35 am

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Wei-Jai Broadsword


The Wei-Jai were carried by Chinese soldiers during the anti-piracy campaign in the mid sixteenth century. Chinese sword blades were inferior to the Japanese blades, so there was a period when the Chinese government purchased Japanese made blades fashioned in the Chinese design.

Full Item Description
The blade is 27.5” long, with 20.5” being the blade. This weapon is a hybrid of Chinese and Japanese styles. The blade is long, thin, and slightly curved. The guard is a simple oval with an intricate dragon pattern embossed upoin it. The handle is metal. The scabard is of Japanese design, but with Chinese decorations.

The Wei-Jai were carried by Chinese soldiers during the anti-piracy campaign in the mid sixteenth century. Chinese sword blades were inferior to the Japanese blades, so there was a period when the Chinese government purchased Japanese made blades fashioned in the Chinese design.

These weapons have a clearly Japanese blade in make and style (thin, tapered and slighlty curved) mounted in Chinese fittings. The blades were made in Japan and mounted and fitted in China.  Most of the blades have a set of unknown characters stamped upon the blades.

Magic/Cursed Properties

Additional Information
It is said several famous masters developed a form of Chinese swordplay based upon these weapons.

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Comments ( 15 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

Voted Cheka Man
November 17, 2005, 21:19
Only voted
Voted Mourngrymn
November 18, 2005, 9:21
So what is your opinion on eastern swords being superior to western swords? I read a huge thread at about the false outlook on japanese swords, mainly the katana, toward the western swords of Europe and France.

I realise this isn't a thread discussion but I was curious.
November 18, 2005, 11:08
Asian Swords are not, generally speaking, "better" than Western Swords. Chinese weapons were of the same level of quality as most Western Swords. They were produced in large numbers with a minimum of artistic flair, (which in China (and most of Asia) the minimum artstic level is still much higher than Europe). Europeans were mostly utilitarian in weapondry.

The only place where "better" could of occured was Japan. Katanas have a better edge, but a lower rockwell hardness, are lighter and more flexible, but prone to breakage. They work really well against targets that do not have metal armor. They would be somewhat pointless against someone in full plate, as they could only convert kinentic and might even break against European Steel (plate or blade). Though if the Katana wielder is highly skilled, he might be able to snake the blade into non-mailed crease. (Of course the blade will probably be bound by the motion there). Katantas are designed to be most efficient against their targets: people in little to no armor.

Most people seem to confuse Katana vs Western Swords, when they really should be comparing Samurai vs Knight, or a martial artist vs a western warrior.

Aside: Though, I have seen Kendo practioners go against a SCA Sword and Shield men, and be ineffectual. Kendo has no counter to a simple shield. I have seen a Kenjitsu expert do the same and fare little better (he did a wheel kick to move the shield and both scored simultaneous hits, the other exchanges were similar). Kendo vs Fencing usually scores off to the Epee and Saber user (foil users lose with clockwork regularity). However, a samurai has more tools in his arsenal than those of us who are doing sport.
Barbarian Horde
January 18, 2006, 23:05
I can recognize this as being taken from Kung Fu Magazine's weapons article. At Sword Forum International, this article was quickly taken apart in the Chinese forum. Wei Jia was probably a mistake from Qi Jia. The Characters look very similar. in fact, I think some of the guys on SFI thought the blade in the picture was a fake antique.

Qi Jia because general Qi Jiguang was one of the most famous generals of this campaign.

But, I do quite disagree with the sweeping statement made here and in the article that Chinese Blades were inferior to Japanese ones. During this period, however, it can be noted that Qi Jiguang himself noticed that the blades produced by the government Armories were of inferior quality, so he quickly raised workmanship standards and stipulated only the best metal be used. I do not recall reading anywhere but in this article that Chinese were forced to commision Japanese blades because their own were inferior. But it can be noted, aside from improving the workmanship standards of weapons quality, Qi Jiguang borrowed design elements of the Nodachi and produced the Changdao, the similar Long Saber, to counter it.

It is not as if Chinese are incapable of producing good blades, or that Chinese blades are inherently inferior as your post seems to imply.

I wouldn't say Japanese blades are really better than blades of other cultures. In fact, the techniques for making them came from China (most notably Tang China) and Korea (which also imported techniques from China). The legendary swordmaker of the Spring and Autumn Period China, Ganjiang was a patron saint of Japanese swordmaking up until the 12th century, I believe. And I wouldn't say that Chinese blades are really any better or worse than other culture's blades.
January 19, 2006, 4:48
This is what would I call constructive criticism. It would be nice if we would have some identification of the author, perhaps even a few sources, but for a change there is a very useful comment from the Anonymous.
January 20, 2006, 11:49
Actually was trying not to imply that. If I failed, my apologies.

Weapons are best examined with their skill and cultural contexts in place. That is why there was several later paragraphs explaining that Katana/ Ken-jitsu wielders were not specifically superior. It is always a case of best weapon with local technique vs presumed target, be in Chinese, Japanese, English, Italian, or North African. What is "best" in one context

I believe that it was simply, "at the time", better for them to commission the blades from Japan, lacking other suitable production available. However, I did not know anymore than the article listed. So I bow to your superior knowledge on that front.

The point of my post was to simply express the idea that there can be weapons from one cultures, hybridized to another. So you could extrapolate Human Iron Blades being fitted in Shidhe weapons, being humans could "bang out" iron weapons that would take Shidhe decades to produce because of the lethality of iron to their kind. Or some such.
Barbarian Horde
January 22, 2006, 15:56
In response to you, MH, I probably did misunderstand your comment on kenjutsu and the katana being superior. No, my apologies for making that misunderstanding. We're even. :)

I would not say that there was "No other suitable production available", for the imperial armouries DID supply the army with plenty of swords. Often in fact, rather high quality. (Such as after Qi Jiguang once more raised the standards). But this is certainly a fact- during the time period, the quality was probably at an all time low, and it was mentioned that the single handed Chinese sabers were often destroyed by the swords of the Wako, or Japanese pirates (who in reality, were made up of a bulk of Chinese renegades plus a core of Japanese, and were based in Japan, making them hard to catch). Of course, the weapons after the reforms were of a much higher quality, from the same armories and same designs...faults that can make a blade inferior to another lie in workmanship and intended use, I believe.

Indeed, there have been numerous counts of weapons hybridized from one culture to another. Lets use the Han Dynasty and Xiongnu nomads for an example- the Han adopted the straight backed saber (Dao) for the use of their cavalry, which eventually phased out the Sword (Jian) for primary military use.

Japanese Scholars took weapons of the Tang, Jian and Dao, back to Japan, along with forging techniques, and the Dao changed to the Katana later...while many characteristics were still the same, it took on a distinct Japanese flavor.

And for remountings...I have read about Chinese Blades mounted on Japanese fittings, European Blades Mounted on Chinese fittings, and both European and Chinese blades mounted on Japanese fittings...and...well, any of those combinations. So that's not an impossible prospect.

Its just that I tend to disagree with statements of the original article that I chose to put some of this stuff here.

I'm sorry if I seemed a little anal about's just that I prefer that people know that Chinese weapons were as good as those of other cultures, and know the proper histories of them. I've seen quite a bit of myths about them, especially where people said they were inferior to the Katana, which is quite I'm a bit sensitive to these.

I see you have no intention of defaming any sort of weapons, so again, my apologies if I seemed nitpicking and antagonistic.

We currently ARE having a discussion on Imported Japanese swords at China History Forum.

Yun's posts tend to have the best information there.
Barbarian Horde
January 19, 2006, 16:46
Thank you.

I'm the super Moderator Yang Zongbao, from

I'm also on sword forum, and...well, I just feel that correct and objective views should be taken on this kind of thing.

Here, this was the thread discussion we had on SFI on the matter.

Hope it helped shed some light.
Cheka Man
January 20, 2006, 12:39
A useful weapon.
Barbarian Horde
September 8, 2006, 17:43
actually in Wikipedia it says that the Chinese government bought the Japanese swords not out of necessity but to keep pirates from being armed.

"The export of katana reached its height during Muromachi period, at least 200,000 katana being shipped to the Ming dynasty in official trade in an attempt to soak up the production of Japanese weapons and make it harder for pirates in the area to arm. As time progressed, the craft decayed, aided by the introduction of guns as a decisive force on the battlefield."
Barbarian Horde
December 6, 2006, 1:13
Umm, japanese use chinese forging techniques on their swords so there's no way that chinese swords are inferior to katanas. the only inferiority may come from cheaply crafted ones that sometimes happen in chinese products :-) but if you are willing to spend an arm or a leg, you can get really nice authentic chinese swords that'll cut through anything a katana would.
Voted valadaar
May 3, 2017, 14:12
Rather involved and interesting commentary on a fairly simple submission.
May 3, 2017, 14:44
Simple things can be complicated if you spin some details into them. In truth most games would end the discussion at 1d8 damage. Yet by adding details, historical or otherwise, it changes a simple utilitarian entry into something that explains part of the world.
Cheka Man
May 14, 2017, 20:12
I want one of these swords. :)
Voted axlerowes
May 14, 2017, 20:38

The best part of this is that it seemed to pull in thoughtful and informed commentary. At to the post, even in 2007 this post wouldn't be up to snuff.

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