Both types of swords have played a pivotal role in the country's history, providing warriors with the weapons needed to defend their land from invading forces. This ultimately paved the way for newer and more effective swords, and there's even some belief that curved Chinese swords like the dao influenced Japan's bladesmithing practices, paving the way for world-renowned swords like the katana and wakizashi. The threat of Communist China. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. We all know what the katana is, so going into a discussion on it is kinda superfluous. But while the share some common characteristics, the jian and dao are two unique types of swords. In essence, what all this means is that Western people are more aware of some elements of Japanese culture when compared to Chinese culture, especially when it comes to popular media, niche media, and martial matters. On the other, we have the Japanese katana, which is both somewhat "alien" to the Western perception of swords (which are overwhelmingly cruciform or otherwise straight in pop culture) and highly praised by Eastern martial culture. So, how exactly does the jian differ from the dao? Another key difference between the Chinese dao and jian is that the former features a single-edged blade, whereas the latter features a double-edged blade. Rather than sharpening just one edge, warriors were forced to sharpen two edges. #2: Skill, I’m going to assume that they are all = in skill. The Portal for Public History Katanas are much more famous than jian. There are many reasons for this, but from the perspective of popular media, Japan established itself as a relevant player in pop culture consciousness as early as the 50s. Whereas the Chinese jian and its wielders do not have much modern represantation, espicially overseas. This means that Japan has had some degree of cultural influence over the Western arts since the 1950s, if not sooner, whereas China remained more culturally estranged from the West for a longer period of time. This is one of the defining characteristics of this style of traditional Chinese swords. Traditional vs Modern Differential Hardening for Swords. In other words, both ends of the jian's blade are sharpened to a razor-sharp edge. Please read the rules before participating, as we remove all comments which break the rules. Katanas are much more famous than jian. Their reasoning? On the other hand, China has media export to the West primarily through its martial arts cinema, reaching the apex of its fame during the 80s -- roughly the same time as Japanese media export reached the height of its popularity among mainstream Western audiences. Well this does not answer a few simple questions. For example, searching through askhistorians, there are several questions about the katana, but virtually zero when querying "jian". However, as modern nerd culture expands (as evidenced by the overwhelming popularity of recent Marvel blockbusters, for instance), the influence of Japanese media culture and (to a more moderate degree) martial culture does the same. The reason they are more famous is because of the association of Katanas to the heavily romanticized Samurais. That alienation is only really beginning to end, with China and the West at something of an economic understanding while remaining ideologically opposed. For the lover of European swords, there is also large range of sharp to blunt pracical European swords and historical replicas of the Viking period up to the late Renaissance. This is one of the defining characteristics of this style of traditional Chinese swords. As shown in the photo here, the jian features a straight blade. People are probably more interested in the katana because of its pushed reputation by way of Japanese enthusiasm and the Western disciples of that. This promoted Chinese bladesmiths to invent the dao, which featured a single-edged blade. Kodachi vs Wakizashi: What's the Difference? Showing 1–9 of 46 results. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, More posts from the AskHistorians community. With two edges instead of one, the dao was more difficult to maintain. Chinese bladesmiths soon discovered, however, that using a curved blade allowed for a superior level of versatility. Japanese cultural influence on Western pop-culture reaches its relative apex in the likes of Seven Samurai directly and in Star Wars by a degree of separation. What does this all boil down to? Recently, a handful of Australian politicians (whose names escape me currently) advocated doubling the Australian military budget. Japanese cultural export would become so relevant, in fact, that Star Wars was significantly based upon Japan's "samurai" genre. Can somebody explain to me why there are numerous questions about the katana, but not about the jian? Furthermore, the use of two edges increased the risk of damage to the sword upon impact. The reasonthey are more famous is because of the association of Katanas to the heavily romanticized Samurais. Some of that belief lingers today in less informed but martially invested social circles, but it's an otherwise discredited idea; the katana is factually considered to be sword like any other in overall quality, even if it does have some distinct, unique, and even remarkably clever design elements. The other end of the blade remains dull. Japan's closer, more amiable relationship to Western powers assisted in establishing cultural export, which has over time expanded, contracted, and altered its demographics. Between the true failures of communist-monikered states, outright Anglophone propaganda, China's comparatively authoritarian position and Mao's brutal regime, China alienated itself from the West. As shown in the photo here, the jian features a straight blade. Just an added note: while jian, in English, refers to a specific kind of Chinese sword, in Mandarin it can refer to any double-edged sword (it's cognate to the ken in Japanese kendō). Japan, however, has had much closer relationships with Western powers after World War II. To this day, however, Japanese media exports have continued to be moderately relevant, moderately popular consumer goods in Western countries. Also, reddit is primarily an English website, frequented mainly by Americans, Europeans, Australians, Indians, etc. The jian first appeared in China during 13th century B.C., while the dao appeared during China's Song dynasty (960 to 1279). And the jian's blade has two edges, whereas the dao's blade has a single edge. If Reddit was more famous amongst Chinese internet users, and had a thriving native Chinese community, there would be much more discussion about them. Between the nerd culture mainstays of anime and video games (and keeping in mind that post-70s video games almost completely owe their existence and shape to Japanese games), Japan has continued to remain relevant to at least a segment of modern culture -- people roughly yet to come to middle age, with "nerdy" interests. Whether valid or invalid, that prominent political actors are still willing to bare their teeth against the now aged and feeble idea of communist assault on Western representative democracy and the capitalist system says a lot about the political and ideological gulfs that still exist. Particularly throughout the 80s, 90s, and some of the post-millennial decade, there was a pop-cultural belief in the complete superiority of the katana as a sword.