The little bamboo-smashing game in Ghost of Tsushima was not invented, but rather a Japanese art dating back to the 17th century.

An example of the great work done by Sucker Punch Productions when it comes to documenting the work of Ghost of Tsushima

Fans of video games set mainly in East Asia, Japan and China are in luck in 2024. We have two games on the horizon with a release date, Rise of the Ronin (March 22) and Black Myth Wukong (August 20), another whose exact date remains a mystery. : Phantom Blade Zero. All three look sublime.

In this context, I was reminded of one of the most beautiful PlayStation gems: Ghost of Tsushima, one of those exclusives that has not yet broken the barriers of PS4 and PS5… even though it should. I played for a few hours and then reviewed some live streams.

One of the streamers asked what Small bamboo cutting game And if it is true that he is improving the katana, at least for this process. His question piqued my curiosity. Somehow I know it's a Japanese tradition related to swords, but I've never bothered to effectively educate myself.

Japanese art dating from the 17th century to the present day

I was not wrong. The little game of cutting bamboo with a katana in Ghost of Tsushima is taken from a Japanese art called Tamshigiri. Its function in the game is far removed from the original tradition and closer to the currently practiced version. Before we get into that, let me do a quick review.

Bamboo gazebos in Ghost of Tsushima It's a series of collectibles or points of interest spread across 16 locations across the map. You must press a quick sequence of buttons in the order indicated to get a clean cut. There is one button to cut each bamboo. The more bamboo there is, the more complicated it becomes to execute it correctly.

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The reward that the video game offers us when completing all these situations is obtaining the maximum attribute Determination And at the end, a mask called the Messenger of the Holy Mountain. Now that we all remember, let's see the contrast with reality.

Tameshigiri is a Japanese art related to the katana. Historical evidence shows that it was used in the Edo period, between the 17th and 19th centuries, and is currently still used for a slightly different purpose. The original tradition did not hide any mystery: it was a cutting test to test the quality of the katana.

The process was simple, albeit with a barbaric touch. Only the master or warrior with the greatest skill could test the katana, and this way there was no doubt that the lack of quality was due to whoever made the cut.

Photo by OnoRey 王の嶺

This cutting was performed in the same manner as in Ghost of Tsushima, although bamboo is not always used. Other recorded types are rice straw, thin metal sheets and even gyoza (tatami layer), among others. Currently, gyoza and bamboo are preferred. And here comes the dark part of the tradition: humans also used to perform Tamishigiri.

The issue of tamishigiri on human bodies is extensive and rather unpleasant, so I'll summarize it: Criminals and convicts were used to making cuts on the ankles (among other areas), either horizontally or vertically, going up from the same place to the hip. Upon completion, whatever material was used, it is recorded in the upper area of ​​the katana as a certificate of quality.

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In short: This practice was used to test the quality of the katana. Nowadays humans have been dispensed with and the motivation for its implementation is exactly the opposite: the player's skill is tested and the katana is assumed to be of the highest quality.

Although the purpose of the mini-game in… Ghost of Tsushima It has little to do with the original tradition, it is close to what we currently know. It is not surprising that there is such a good similarity. Sucker Punch Productions worked closely with historians, archaeologists and many other experts to deliver a high quality environment.

The studies and investigations conducted by the study led them to consult highly specialized experts, such as ornithologists. They even wanted to know the exact animals (birds, in this case) that inhabit the place to accurately represent them in the game. And so with everything: weapons, armor, architecture, art…

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