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Thread: This is the exact way how Nagae-Yari was used.

  1. #1

    Default This is the exact way how Nagae-Yari was used.

    Yes. This. This is called Yari-busma, which means Spear Blanket. Remember, Yari Ashigaru are NOT pikemen. Here is the link. http://m.youtube.com/?#/watch?v=Un8c1UV1QBI

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    Default Re: This is the exact way how Nagae-Yari was used.

    Quote Originally Posted by rco914 View Post
    Yes. This. This is called Yari-busma, which means Spear Blanket. Remember, Yari Ashigaru are NOT pikemen. Here is the link. http://m.youtube.com/?#/watch?v=Un8c1UV1QBI
    Please gives us a proper, working link. As I'm working on a realism mod, I'm always interested in historical facts.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: This is the exact way how Nagae-Yari was used.


  4. #4

    Default Re: This is the exact way how Nagae-Yari was used.

    If this does not work, go to youtube and search Random Samurai Battle, and select the one which is about one minute in length.

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    Default Re: This is the exact way how Nagae-Yari was used.

    I've seen it. Looks like a scene from a movie. The ashigaru are hitting each others head with their yaris. Jingasa were usually made of metal, so hitting it with yaris doesn't make much sense.
    In a different movie, "Heaven and Earth", nagae yari ashigaru are shown to fight like Western pikemen.
    Now, who's right?
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  6. #6

    Icon5 Re: This is the exact way how Nagae-Yari was used.

    Quote Originally Posted by Destin Faroda View Post
    I've seen it. Looks like a scene from a movie. The ashigaru are hitting each others head with their yaris. Jingasa were usually made of metal, so hitting it with yaris doesn't make much sense.In a different movie, "Heaven and Earth", nagae yari ashigaru are shown to fight like Western pikemen.Now, who's right?
    In Johyo-Monogatari(Ashigaru story) there exists an explanation for Jingasas. Jingasa's innermost layer was made of Japanese paper, and the middle was made of wood, and the outer layer was amde of laquered leather. Some say that Jingasa was made of metal, but that waa very rare. Also striking with yaris was quite effective, often causing the victim to suffer brain concussion. Besides kiling is not the only way. When hit at the shoulder, the victim will drop his weapon. This puys him out of the way.

  7. #7

    Default Re: This is the exact way how Nagae-Yari was used.

    Quote Originally Posted by rco914 View Post
    Some say that Jingasa was made of metal, but that waa very rare.
    Metal jingasa are not rare at all, there are many examples online, search for "tetsu jingasa", the material used in the construction of a jingasa was determined by the owners ability to pay and the intended use (war or just weather protection).


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    Default Re: This is the exact way how Nagae-Yari was used.

    Ahahaha, its my video, well actually a user named cooljack had it but it was removed, it was back before shogun 2 was released and all where eager for any media about samurai. I was actually aware of how different the nagae yari was used but I never bothered to comment about it coz I still needed more sources.

    Actually I encountered that in this manga.






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  9. #9

    Default Re: This is the exact way how Nagae-Yari was used.

    Doesn't seem very practical to me at all. Sure, you could cause a concussion this way, but you'd be expending an awful lot of energy - and it'd be much slower than the simple thrust, anyway. Also, it would be far easier to intercept. And if it was so useful, why didn't they do anything of the kind anywhere else in the world?

    Anyway, there is also this:

    http://www.yachigusaryu.com/blog/pic...ance_print.jpg

    Granted, that's an Edo print, but it is certainly a more contemporary source than that Youtube clip or that weird Manga image. And it clearly shows both the long and short spears used in the same fashion as elsewhere in the world. And indeed, why wouldn't they? War is a practical business, after all. Is there any evidence that they used the spears as bludgeoning tools? Do we see this in Sojutsu?

    It seems more likely, to me, that this misconception might stem from modern SCA style mock battles, where thrusting with spears might be against the rules.
    Last edited by Kissaki; July 25, 2014 at 05:38 AM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: This is the exact way how Nagae-Yari was used.

    Sōjutsu "art of the spear"


    Of course there were many variations in design for the yari, and it's possible that some were based upon the concept of a threshing tool used by peasants to thresh corn. If so peasant spearmen might naturally try to use them in the same way as they would when threshing corn. Then again we see similar variations in use of spears and polearms in later medieval warfare where the addition of axe style heads and hammer like weights allowed the weapon to be used for both thrusting and as a battering weapon again targets with armour protection.

    The obvious observation is that any spearman who raised his spear high with the intention of using a downward stroke would expose his chest and lower body to a potentially lethal direct thrust from his opponent.
    Last edited by Didz; August 02, 2014 at 08:32 AM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: This is the exact way how Nagae-Yari was used.

    Normal pike battles.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: This is the exact way how Nagae-Yari was used.

    IIRC that scene from Ten to Chi to was filmed in Canada somewhere with a bunch of locals as extras.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: This is the exact way how Nagae-Yari was used.

    Quote Originally Posted by Destin Faroda View Post
    Normal pike battles.
    That doesn't look very plausible at all. I suspect it's a universal studio's stunt co-ordinators version of history limited by health and safety regulations.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: This is the exact way how Nagae-Yari was used.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robin de Bodemloze View Post
    IIRC that scene from Ten to Chi to was filmed in Canada somewhere with a bunch of locals as extras.
    Not to mention lack of ashigaru anywhere, its all kabuto and mempo

    To better hide the canadian gaijins in it.

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    Default Re: This is the exact way how Nagae-Yari was used.

    Quote Originally Posted by Erwin Rommel View Post
    Ahahaha, its my video, well actually a user named cooljack had it but it was removed, it was back before shogun 2 was released and all where eager for any media about samurai. I was actually aware of how different the nagae yari was used but I never bothered to comment about it coz I still needed more sources.

    Actually I encountered that in this manga.





    The Sengoku manga series is almost certainly by far the best researched non-academic covering this period I've ever seen.

    as to why they would do this, probably because that's the better anti- infantry tactic.

    The advantage over a standard poke is fairly obvious, if you use the Yari as a smashing weapon, you can hold it at it's end, where as if you use it as a thrusting weapon, you probably need to hold it closer to the middle for balance, thus the former have considerable longer range when both use the same length of Yari .

    The fact that Ashigaru Yari's were probably made from Bamboo helps a lot here too. and probably the main reason why "other" people don't do this.

    So it's the combination of two factor.

    1. Yari formations faced almost entirely other Yari formations (or samurais fighting in shorter pole arms on foot.) there was no need to face cavalry, thus tactical consideration were based on how to deal with other infantries .

    2. Yari poles (At least the long once made for Ashigarus) were made from bamboo, making this tactic possible, where as most other wood would make this sort of tactic very unlikely as it would break the pike and / or be too heavy to swing in this fashion anyway.

    Note, Pikemen going at each other was very unlikely to cause significant damage from thrust attack , this is because you basically CAN'T THRUST with a pike, and whatever thrust you have have too little momentum behind it to pierce even rudimentary armour. this is true in Europe too, which is why pike on pike battle usually turned into this



    The objective of any formation on formation infantry battle is really less about killing then breaking formation, very limited casualties happen immediately in the melee. even if you sustain an eventually fatal blow you often would be able to fight at least awhile longer before you actually collapse.

    So, in this sense, knocking guys out cold with a smack on the head was actually the smart move. getting knocked out cold is fairly immediate, and serve to break formations just as well if not better.

    Pike formation in other cases were made to deal with cavalry, or opponents without such weapons, where as in Japan the field was pretty leveled and everyone more or less did the same thing.
    Last edited by RollingWave; November 24, 2014 at 09:34 PM.
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    Default Re: This is the exact way how Nagae-Yari was used.

    Quote Originally Posted by RollingWave View Post
    The Sengoku manga series is almost certainly by far the best researched non-academic covering this period I've ever seen.

    as to why they would do this, probably because that's the better anti- infantry tactic.

    The advantage over a standard poke is fairly obvious, if you use the Yari as a smashing weapon, you can hold it at it's end, where as if you use it as a thrusting weapon, you probably need to hold it closer to the middle for balance, thus the former have considerable longer range when both use the same length of Yari .
    You'd hold it by the end, regardless. Notwithstanding the fact that pikes are counter-weighted (though granted, on yari they could be fairly light - I've seen a museum piece said to weigh 8 ounces, but I don't know how long the yari would have been), pikes are usually held upright. Only when they need to be in use are they levelled horizontally.

    At any rate, assuming the yari was not counterweighted, that would have made it even more difficult to use in a "smashing" manner, holding it by the end - because you have to raise the damned thing before you can bring it down. And then you have to raise it up again. And again. This would be exhausting in no time.


    The fact that Ashigaru Yari's were probably made from Bamboo helps a lot here too. and probably the main reason why "other" people don't do this.
    Bamboo is indeed more flexible, but consider that the head still needs to be fixed in place, and this smashing method would be the best way to undo it. The nakago would easily split the bamboo this way, to my thinking. And if it was mainly a smashing weapon, it would not have been necessary to craft yari heads in such an elaborate manner. You would simply need a round metal protrusion at the end; you'd have no need of a laminated blade.


    So it's the combination of two factor.

    1. Yari formations faced almost entirely other Yari formations (or samurais fighting in shorter pole arms on foot.) there was no need to face cavalry, thus tactical consideration were based on how to deal with other infantries .

    2. Yari poles (At least the long once made for Ashigarus) were made from bamboo, making this tactic possible, where as most other wood would make this sort of tactic very unlikely as it would break the pike and / or be too heavy to swing in this fashion anyway.

    Note, Pikemen going at each other was very unlikely to cause significant damage from thrust attack , this is because you basically CAN'T THRUST with a pike, and whatever thrust you have have too little momentum behind it to pierce even rudimentary armour. this is true in Europe too, which is why pike on pike battle usually turned into this
    You kind of contradict yourself, there. First you say that yari were lighter, then you say they were too heavy to thrust. The first is true, but the second is not. There are very few pikes - if any - which are too heavy to thrust (and if it is too heavy to thrust, it is certainly too heavy to raise). And even though the massive length does indeed have consequences for the speed of the thrust, the mass does compensate quite a bit. A heavy object does not have to be thrust/hammered as hard as a lighter object to achieve the same effect.

    At any rate, the push of pike of the Renaissance had nothing to do with them failing to penetrate. If anything, just the opposite. Because if the two pike formations are pushing against eachother and you pierce someone, it will be difficult to retract the pike. But more than that, you are also using your own pike to ward off other pikes as best you can. The former is actually preferable: penetrate the enemy in an aggressive advance, then switch to shorter weapons. There is a reason why situations as depicted by Holbein was described as "bad war". It was not a desirable situation, and ended with enormous casualties on the side which yielded first.


    The objective of any formation on formation infantry battle is really less about killing then breaking formation, very limited casualties happen immediately in the melee. even if you sustain an eventually fatal blow you often would be able to fight at least awhile longer before you actually collapse.

    So, in this sense, knocking guys out cold with a smack on the head was actually the smart move. getting knocked out cold is fairly immediate, and serve to break formations just as well if not better.
    Except that in two yari formations, it'd be a 50/50 proposition as to who got knocked out cold, you or your opponent. War is nothing if not pragmatic: if the enemy favours a certain type of weapon, you develop a defence to counter that weapon. If, then, the enemy relies on formations smashing their yari in that way, the very last thing you want to do is face them in the same manner, with no defence whatsoever. Not even as a first move in such an engagement would I see it as remotely advisable: if the enemy formation is just standing there, or even advancing with pikes up, you can charge them with pikes level and your pikes - if they are the same length - will inevitably arrive first to their targets. I can see its limited use (not raising it all the way, but relying rather on the flexibility of bamboo to "whip" it down) in the midst of action, when you are already using your yari to fence off oncoming yari - but it is worth remembering that not only were most yari not of pike length, but even when pike-sized yari did become popular, they were still used alongside shorter yari and teppo.

    The purpose of a super-long spear such as the pike is to deter the enemy from closing in. You use such formations to protect others, rather as an offensive weapon in and of itself. You do not want to engage pike with pike if you can possibly avoid it (not head-to-head anyway), and the same was true in Japan. The Japanese developed long yari to protect their gunners, quite possibly inspired by Europeans in this regard. Prior to firearms, Japanese battles had still been heavily dominated by bows, and the logical step from there is most assuredly not massed formations. However, once you have slow-loading gunpowder units on the field, you need to screen them from oncoming charges somehow. The pike was more needed in Europe than in Japan, then, because of the considerable presence of cavalry. But a wall of pikes will deter infantry as readily as cavalry.

  17. #17

    Default Re: This is the exact way how Nagae-Yari was used.

    First of all: Yari were not made in bamboo, at least not those ones. Bamboo spear were some kind of "emergency weapon" as last ressort, for militia for example, when Miyoshi armies were trying to enter Kyoto in 1527, we read that aristocrats were cutting bamboo's from their garden to make spear for the militia of the "machi-shu" (district gathering). Yari were made of fine wood, sometime enforced with bamboo stripes. Indeed yari were lighter, their design was very different from european pikes because the blade was not only meant to thrust but could be use to cut too!
    The book mentionned above is ONE book about the experience of ONE commander. Don't think it as a standard about "how yari were used" and understood well that in fact... historian don't really know what he's talking about. Some Theories argue it's like the movie present. Japanese people (not japanese historians) like that because it's allow them to say they have some particular way to use spear, different from any other culture. The theory mostly credited is that the spear was to be use from the above in the manner that instead of having the head of the spear on down guard (and the head is NOT the tip) you have it on above, and you push forward as "one" from above. What is important (and many time refered, not only on this book) seems to be "strike as one". But this is one manner on many to use the spears. Understood that in Japan they were no standard, from a clan to another... from a unit to another, weapons were to be used in different manner, depending on the manner they've drilled the troops (or not drilled...).

    The pike was not needed in Japan because there was no pike at all, yari are not pikes. When 2 squad of nagae yari encounter themselves on battlefield, they don't massed up in close quarters like europeans, they gather in one to 3 rows and were to charge the enemy. There was few of actually fighting because in normal way on group shall rout the enemy on the assault. War is not like Total war games, soldiers in fact fight very very few time, the most time they run away quickly. It was a contest of will to fight and most above all: of bravery. The problem of this topic is that you are thinking as if the way the weapon was tooked and used was very important. It is not, it is a secondary thing, what was important in fact was the formation, not because the formation will allow you to kill faster or else, but because the formation have two main purpose: it gave a security impression to soldiers, and intend to maintain the line and keep the ranks, and prevent them to run away. The group cohesion was in fact much more a psychology safety than an actual advantage to fight. The second was to scared the enemy side, who's were to be impress by the discipline of the other side, who were trying to give an image of an insurmountable obstacle to them.
    Today, "history fan's" are disconnected from actual history research, they've stayed in the anglo-saxon battle-history way, who think the war in terms of techniques, which is a major mistakes, a mistakes who came from the view of modern warfare where techniques are the main topic, but in ancient warfare, what was important was the bravery because most people were to run away on battle, commanders were to think how to hold their position above all, and that was not a exact science. And second they think the war as if it were like a movie or a video game, were soldiers are mostly figurants. In true war they were humans, the better way to look at ancient war is to see this as a brawl, and the better way a side as a child brawl. Remember when you were a kid, you have to deal with the kids of the next neigborhood, you then gather with your friends and have a brawl. How do they look like? It's almost comic, because punch are very few and most of the time they keep their arms together and try to push, they are afraid of being hurts and when they have an opportunity, they do nasty attacks, like pull the hair or scratch the eyes. At the end of the day, they come back together saying that "they've kicked them off", in the most glorious manner. Warriors of ancient age were like that, they were to fight a precise enemy, when they see the banner of an enemy unit, what they think first is "we gonna kick them". The page of that comics, even if we can ask ourselves about the use of the spear, which don't really matter, is pretty well described in the feeling of warriors. "It's time for the Kinoshita spear unit!", it's exactly what could warriors have sayed on battle: they are a group of mens who have drilled their formation together, and will display it to their ennemies to show their unity, as if nothing on earth could stop them, it's a display, the actual technique, or the actual way the formation look matter little in fact, what matter is that they feel and think they are acting as a group and will bring doom to the enemy side.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: This is the exact way how Nagae-Yari was used.

    I know there are a lot of "experts" in these forums but it is easy to confuse yourself trying to figure out what info you should be remembering and what you shouldn't.
    I hope this helps in answering the question/statement made in the OP...

    In my own non-acedemic studies of the Sengoku Period:

    * Keep in mind that not even the academics can agree on when exactly the Sengoku Period started (1467 or 1477) and ended (1578 or 1600 or 16015) depends on which professor you tend to agree with. Huge changes occurred over this time period in weapons, tactics, army organization and mobilization so trying to make a factual statement it is very important to frame your words in a specific time frame or else the truth can quickly become an out-dated fact that thoroughly confuses everyone.

    ***************************************
    Spear and Spear Tactic Evolution:
    {author: John Ferejohn}
    1450/1460 Campaigns in Kawachi and Kii- Hatakayama Yasaburo had an "exchange of pikes" in battle which had never before been encountered. Hatakayama again used pikes fighting on Mt. Take in 1460's which exposed the daimyo fighting in Kyoto to groups of "spearmen".
    (Peasants conscripted in Kyoto during the Onin War were handed a makeshift spear and hurled into the enemy in a human wave (per Dr. Conlan). When not charging, they stood behind makeshift fortifications or in rough terrain to avoid being run down by horsemen, this "occupying contested space" with spears is the idea that sparked the use of spearmen and later pikemen units).

    {author: Steven Turnbull}
    1501~1510 Campaigns in Echigo- Uyesugi Sadazane used armed peasants (for the first time in major Sengoku battles) in his campaigns in Echigo.
    (Peasants used bamboo poles with some sort of dirk or knife fixed into one end which allowed them to stab but little else. Not very reliable and no training was given)

    {author: Thomas Conlan}
    1530's In General Battle- It is stated that peasants were taking over the role of Nobushi (skirmishers) armed with bows and samurai were turning into spearmen...
    (fighting in single man-to-man combat not in units or groups using te-yari "hand-spears")

    {author: Mitsuo Kure}
    1544 Kai Province- When the Lord Takeda called his samurai for service they arrived at an appointed place variously armed, to be allocated to tactical units according to the orders of an officer called the Chakutojo. Forces were assembled in such small groups they had never been trained en-mass...
    (still no mass tactics or training being commonly used)

    *NOTE: 1545 Shogun II time period begins
    (The Sengoku Jidai has been raging for over 70yrs and at this point, the "correct use" of nagae yari (pikes) as depicted in the OP video is completely unfeasible as no group training or tactics have been developed yet not to mention the use of pikes is not widespread)

    {author: John Kuehn}
    1549 Capital City Kyoto- Miyoshi Nagayoshi used a mass of 900 "pikemen" to expel Shogun Ashikaga Yoshiteru from the city.
    (It was still such a rare idea to use pikemen that the Shogun's forces didn't know how to combat them. Don't think of Swiss Pikemen when you think of the term used here. They are still using short spears and bamboo sticks!)

    {author: Princeton Univ.}
    approx 1550 In General Battle- Takeda created a fief system incorporating the Dogo Class of peasants into the Daimyo's military structure.
    (This was the first known point when peasants/ashigaru were "officially" recognized as part of a daimyo's military structure, i.e. not mercenary or temporary forces. From this point other daimyo began to duplicate the system some taking a long time to catch up on the idea)

    in addition to the above...

    {author: Ion & Nelson}
    1550's In General Battle- In order to incorporate these low-ranking soldiers (ashigaru) into an effective military organzation, daimyo created a 3-level command system; Ikusa-Bugyo (General's Staff), Mono Gashira (Division Heads), and Kumi Gashira (Regimental Heads). Size and org of units varied from one daimyo to another but common feature was conduct of samurai dictated by explicit rules and discipline, not ethical codes (IE; dueling).
    (This means samurai and ashigaru were now fighting in units that trained together which enabled mass-tactics and formations)

    {author: Steven Turnbull}
    1551~1553 Noted in Shinchokoki- In 1551 Oda Nobunaga succedded to head of his clan. His soldiers had nagae spears (pike). Everyone mocked him calling him a 'Great Fool' (for unconventional forces). April 1553 reference is made of 3 1/2 ken spears nearly 20ft long!
    (Not really sure when hand "spears" got to a long enough length to be considered a "pike" but this is the first time since the war started 80 yrs ago that "extended pikes" are mentioned in the historical record!)

    {general online sources}
    1572 Battle of Mikata-ga-hara- Battle formations consisted of 4 DIV; Central/Right Wing/Left Wing/Main. 3 Battalions each w/vanguard of spears, the rest were mounted.
    (By this time major battles are commonly being fought with mass formations and tactics. Yes, there were 5 or 6 formations copied from the Chinese being used since the Taiho Codes were passed but the units using them were tiny and homogonistic i.e. a single family unit that trained together, it was not practiced commonly until later)

    ***************************

    In my own analysis;
    I have to say of the thread title, "This is the exact way nagae-yari was used" is a little confusing and misleading.

    {per Thomas Conlan}
    The "correct" use of the pike was directly correlated with improvements in army organization and training (adoption of peasants/ashigaru into the army and training en-mass) and unit cohesion (troops raised in one geographic location and put together into units)

    1) If you take the term "nagae-yari" as meaning pikes over 10ft in length used after the 1550's then yes, the video in the first post (from what Japanese sources I've seen i.e. not Hollywood) is pretty accurate. Along with the training in mass-formations that occurred in the same time period, the armies were now able to make coordinated shifts in formations during a fight. The typical formation unit tactic was: Nagae Yari making a single line 1 or 2 men deep and hammer down in rythem beating the enemy on the head and shoulders (stabbing was also used when the chance appeared). This keeps up until one side begins to show holes in their line, at this point, the samurai in a single line (1 or 2 men deep) behind the Nagae Yari charge through the first line and into the holes of the opposing enemy formation.

    2) If you take the term "nagae yari" as meaning "pike" in general then you are clumping all variations and use of the term from the 1450's to the 1570's, a huge time frame that makes the title of this thread and the video incorrect as I have outlined in the evolution timeline above.

    A slow evolution of the spear and pike occurred over a century and a quarter that entails the Sengoku Jidai. If you only look at it through the narrow scope of the final 50yrs (I like to call the Oda/Toyotomi syndrome) then you can take Option1 above as gospel.

    If you look at the timeline from the period when 'pikes' were first mentioned you can see that the first 80yrs were a test phase where leaders were trying to see how best to use spear/pike men in battle and even a Shogun was defeated because he hadn't yet figured it out. Pikes were initially used to hold "contested space" against the main tactical unit of the time (mounted samurai archers). Eventually, samurai dismounted and became spearmen under the cover of nobushi (peasant skirmishers) who charged out in front of their men as the opening scene in the video depicted. Pikes got longer as generals wanted to move out into open field battles instead of fighting on mountain sides all the time. This brought infantry into conflict with cavalry which required weapons with longer reach do defend against their charges. It was uncoordinated slaughter until ashigaru were allowed into the army and trained in unit blocks. Now you start seeing the mass tactics and unit formations in the latter half of the war as Hollywood often depicts. (Usually if you see it in a Hollywood movie you can pretty much dismiss alot of it).

    NOTE: No historical record exists that explains how long the pikes were in the first 80yrs of the Sengoku Jidai so we cannot assume Oda was the first to use the "nagae yari".
    Last edited by Hazbones; April 09, 2017 at 12:24 AM. Reason: Topic Clarification;

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