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Ghost of Tsushima’s bamboo-busting mini-game is not invented, but rather a Japanese art dating back to the 17th century.

Fans of action video games set in East Asia, mainly Japan and China, are in luck in 2024. We have two games in sight with a release date, Rise of the Ronin (March 22 ) and Black Myth Wukong (August 20), and another that its precise date remains a mystery: Ghost Blade Zero . All three are sublime.

In this context, I remembered one of the most beautiful jewels of PlayStation: Ghost of Tsushima, one of those exclusives that has not yet broken the barriers of the PS4 and PS5… although it should do it. I played for a few hours and then watched a few live streams.

One of the streamers asked what Bamboo cutting mini-game and while it is true that it serves to improve the katanas, at least for the process. His question piqued my curiosity. Somehow I know it’s a Japanese tradition related to swords, but I never bothered to actively educate myself.

A Japanese art that dates back from the 17th century to the present day

I wasn’t wrong. The mini-game of cutting bamboo with the katana in Ghost of Tsushima is taken from a Japanese art called Tameshigiri . Its function in the game is far from the original tradition and closer to the version currently practiced. Before we get into it, let me do a quick review.

Bamboo stands The Ghost of Tsushima This is a series of collectibles or points of interest spread across 16 locations on the map. You need to press a quick sequence of buttons in the order shown to get a clean cut. There is a button for each bamboo to be cut. The more bamboo there are, the more complicated it is to execute correctly.

The reward that the video game offers us by completing all these positions is to acquire the maximum of the attribute Determination and finally a mask called Messenger of the Holy Mountain. Now that we have all remembered this, let’s see the contrast with reality.

Tameshigiri is a Japanese art linked to katanas. Historical evidence shows that it was used during the Edo period, between the 17th and 19th centuries, and is still practiced today for a slightly different purpose. The original tradition hid no mystery: it was a cutting test to test the quality of the katanas.

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The process was simple, although with a barbaric touch. The most skilled teacher or warrior was the only one who could test the katanas, this way there was no question that the lack of quality was due to whoever made the cut.

Image by OnoRey

This cut was executed in the same way as in The Ghost of Tsushima , even if bamboo was not always used. Other recordings are rice straw, thin metal sheets and even goza (tatami layer), among others. Currently, we prefer to use goza and bamboo. And here’s the dark part of the tradition: humans were also used to perform Tameshigiri.

The Tameshigiri position in the human body is extensive and unpleasant, as well as its summary: it is used by criminals and convicts to destroy the cortes en los tobillos (between other areas), there is a horizontal or vertical shape, subject to the mismo hasta hip. Once completed, whatever material was used, it was recorded in the upper area of ​​the katana as a certificate of quality.

In short: this practice was used to test the quality of the katanas. Nowadays, humans have been suppressed and the motivation for performing it is completely opposite: the skill of the wielder is tested and the katana is assumed to be of the highest quality.

Although the goal of the mini-game in The Ghost of Tsushima This has little to do with the original tradition, it is close to what we currently know. And it’s no wonder there’s such great similarity. Sucker Punch Productions has worked closely with historians, archaeologists and many other experts to deliver a setting of sublime quality.

The study’s studies and investigations led them to consult very specialized experts, such as ornithologists. They even wanted to know what exact fauna (birds, in this case) inhabited the place to accurately represent them in the game. And so on for everything: weapons, armor, architecture, art…