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Subject: A Seven Star Blade In Japan! rss

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Jon Snow
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Recently I spent two weeks in Japan, where I saw an interesting thing. In the Treasure House museum of the famous Horyu-ji temple in Nara, where mostly religious items are displayed, I saw two swords. The one of the left had no special name, but the one on the right was called The Seven Star Sword. This intrigued me. The Seven Stars are usually the Pleiades, a group of stars known in the West as The Seven Sisters.

Early in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a court plot to assassinate the Usurper is formed when a minister gives the "Seven Star Dagger" to Cao Cao, to use in killing off the noble who was invited into the capital to create order and stayed to take over. As Cao Cao approaches the sleeping target, the sun shines through the window on the blade and wakes him up. Whereupon he asks Cao Cao why he is in his room with a blade. Cao Cao says "I was bringing it to you as a present. See how beautiful it is!"

After he leaves, Cao Cao gets on his horse and slowly, carefully, to arouse no suspicion, trots off. Meanwhile the Usurper rethinks things, and orders his most ferocious general to arrest Cao Cao. But the now fugitive would be assassin gallops off once out of sight, and thus begins the excitement in the one of the greatest Chinese stories ever told!

What is the explanation of a blade with the same name being in Japan? Well, there are always different national perspectives. For example, I knew that the eastern end of the Silk Road was the Chinese Chang An (now Xian, and model for the Japanese Kyoto), now home of the terra cotta army of the First Emperor. But in Japan I was told that Nara was the end of the Silk Road. Some times "truth" is just local opinion.

So what is the explanation of both blades having the same name?

*They are both the same blade (highly unlikely)

*The Japanese blade was named after the Chinese blade

*Coincidence

*Other?

What do you think?
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Justin Schuber
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I think it is named after the Chinese blade. Many parts of Japanese culture and their mythology did originally come from China as a lot of Chinese immigrated to Japan hundreds of years ago.
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Jason Tan
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Sino-Japanese relationship has been there way before the Romance of the Three Kingdoms period so there is little surprise if a Japanese blade is named after a Chinese blade that appears in arguably one of the most famous literature to come out from ancient China. The Chinese 3 Kingdoms period is also documented in Japan as 'Sangokushi' so its not like the Japanese didn't know about the Three Kingdoms.

The Japanese also adopted the Chinese writing Hanzi (Kanji in Japanese) and due to the nature of Hanzi, a lot of objects are copied word for word literally into the Japanese writing system. If you look deep enough, the Japanese and Chinese share a lot more words that describe the same thing. Thousands of them in fact.
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RVF 400RR
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The concept of the Seven Star is from Taoism in ancient China.
Taoism does not spread in Japan, but many concepts are imported from Taoism.
The meaning of the Seven Star is "the protection of the nation" or "crushing and defeating evils."
Some swords named "Seven Star Sword" are still existed in Japan.
They are made between 4th - 9th centuries.
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Weiding Han
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Some additional information:

1. The entire story about Cao Cao attempting assassination is fictional, and this blade does not actually exist.

2. The blade is named 七宝刀(7- Jeweled Sabre) in Romance of the 3 Kingdoms. Seven Stars is a name given by later 3-kingdoms inspired novels and games.

3. Seven Stars in both Chinese and other East Asian cultures refers usually to the Big Dipper.
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Jon Snow
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goo Great info from the Far East. Thanks, guys!
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