A naginata is a Japanese blade primarily used by samurai women because of its reach and agility. In modern Osaka, women are still taught how to wield it.
In ancient Japan, honor and glory were reserved for male soldiers only, which makes the story of Takeko Nakano so remarkable. Not only was she a female Japanese warrior, but she was joined by several hundred other samurai warrior women, whose complete dedication and extensive suffering remains one of the world's great untold stories. Discover Nakano's rise to become a martial arts master, her epic battle for her clans' independence, and how in today's martial arts schools, the spirit of Japan's female warriors continues to thrive.
Now, you can watch Smithsonian Channel's incredible documentaries and shows anytime you want by purchasing from any of these distributors:
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel on air.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.