Top 10 Samurai Weapons

In Japanese, they are usually referred to as bushi (武士, [bɯ.ɕi]) or buke (武家). According to translator William Scott Wilson: "In Chinese, the character 侍 was originally a verb meaning "to wait upon", "accompany persons" in the upper ranks of society, and this is also true of the original term in Japanese, saburau. In both countries the terms were nominalized to mean "those who serve in close attendance to the nobility", the pronunciation in Japanese changing to saburai. According to Wilson, an early reference to the word "samurai" appears in the Kokin Wakashū (905–914), the first imperial anthology of poems, completed in the first part of the 10th century

1

The Iron Beaked Staff

fire hook

2

Spiked Rings

Contrary to intuition, users wore these rings with their spikes hidden in their palms as the kakute's main advantage lay in its grip. One ring would be worn on the middle finger while a second ring could be placed in the thumb. Serge Mol writes, "The main purpose of the weapon was to gain a firm hold on an opponent, with the teeth digging into pressure points to cause pain… The surprise effect of this weapon would cause an opponent to lose concentration, making follow-up techniques easier." Like tekko, kakute could be dipped in poison for added effectiveness.

3

Chains and Weights

Although the manriki-kusari (sometimes called fundo-kusari or weighted chain) gained fame as a ninja weapon, police officers actually adopted the weapon to disarm and capture criminals. No matter the wielder, the versatile weapon had many advantages. The collapsable chain could be rolled up, concealed and easily transported. It could be used for climbing, restraining an enemy, and could be wrapped around body parts for extra protection. In battle, a user could shorten his grip and taylor the length as a situation called for. Once in motion, a manriki-kusari moved at speeds that rendered it invisible. An experienced practitioner could swing the chain around himself to keep opponents at bay. Thanks to its weighted end, the manriki-kusari doubled as a projectile; its metal weight could be thrown to strike opponents. Yet unlike other throwing weapons like darts or knives which had to be retrieved to be used again, the manriki-kusari's weight returned to the hand of its wielder via its attached chain. The manriki-kusari could also ensnare and immobilize an opponent's weapon. The swinging chain could not be cut by a blade and would instead wrap around it, making it particularly affective against the katana. Once the chain entangled an opponent's weapon a skilled user could disarm an opponent. But manriki-kusari had disadvantages too. A difficult weapon to master, a manriki-kusari user could injure himself with the flying weight. Despite its adjustable nature, the manriki-kusari proved weakest in confined spaces like crowded or wooded areas where the chain could not be swung freely, limiting its power.

4

Truncheons

This is a specialized weapon used by police in Edo period (1600-1800) Japan.

5

A Pair of Long and Short Swords

The etymology of the word daishō becomes apparent when the terms daitō, meaning long sword, and shōtō, meaning short sword, are used; daitō + shōtō = daishō. A daishō is typically depicted as a katana and wakizashi mounted in matching koshirae but originally the daishō was the wearing of any long and short uchigatana together. The katana/wakizashi pairing is not the only daishō combination as generally any longer sword paired with a tantō is considered to be a daishō. Daishō eventually came to mean two swords having a matched set of fittings. A daishō could also have matching blades made by the same swordsmith, but this was in fact uncommon and not necessary for two swords to be considered to be a daishō, as it would have been more expensive for a samurai

6

Sickles and Chains

The kusarigama (鎖鎌, lit. "chain-sickle") is a traditional Japanese weapon that consists of a kama (the Japanese equivalent of a sickle) on a kusari-fundo – a type of metal chain (kusari) with a heavy iron weight (fundo) at the end. The kusarigama is said to have developed during the Muromachi period. [1] The art of handling the kusarigama is called kusarigamajutsu.

7

The Quick Rope

Kaginawa (鈎縄) is the combination of the words kagi meaning hook and nawa meaning rope.The kaginawa is a type of grappling hook used as a tool in feudal Japan by the samurai class, their retainers, foot soldiers and reportedly by ninja. Kaginawa have several configurations, from one to four hooks. The kagi would be attached to a nawa of varying length; this was then used to scale a rather large wall, to secure a boat, or for hanging up armor and other equipment during the night.Kaginawa were regularly used during various sieges of miscellaneous castles. The nawa was attached to a ring on one end which could be used to hang it from a saddle.

8

The Polearms of Capture

Although some sources place the origin of the sasumata in the Muromachi period, most sources discuss its use in the Edo period. In Edo period Japan the samurai were in charge of police operations. Various levels of samurai police with help from non-samurai commoners used many types of non-lethal weapons to capture suspected criminals for trial. The sasumata (spear fork) together with the tsukubō (push pole) and the sodegarami (sleeve entangler) comprised the torimono sandōgu (three tools/implements of arresting) used by samurai police and security forces. Samurai police in the Edo period used the sasumata along with the sodegarami and tsukubō to restrain and arrest suspected criminals uninjured. The head of the sasumata would be used to catch around the neck, arms, legs, or joints of a suspect and detain him until officers could close in and apprehend him (using hojōjutsu). The sasumata had a long hardwood pole usually around two meters in length with sharp barbs or spines attached to metal strips on one end of the pole to keep the person being captured from grabbing the pole. The opposite end of the sasumata pole would often have a metal cap, or ishizuki like those found on naginata and other pole weapons

9

Utility Spikes and Knives

A tantō (短刀, "short blade") is one of the traditionally made Japanese swords (nihonto) that were worn by the samurai class of feudal Japan. The tantō dates to the Heian period, when it was mainly used as a weapon but evolved in design over the years to become more ornate. Tantō were used in traditional martial arts (tantojutsu). The term has seen a resurgence in the West since the 1980s as a point style of modern tactical knives, designed for piercing or stabbing.

10

Ninja Throwing Stars

Ninja throwing stars have been around for many centuries, and are a trademark part of the traditional ninja arsenal of weapons. Known in Japanese as the hira shuriken or the shaken, the ninja throwing star is a flat, bladed throwing weapon with three or more striking points. The ninja throwing star was not designed to be a lethal weapon; rather, it was usually used to disable or distract an opponent. Shuriken, especially hira-shuriken, were often used by ninjas in novel ways—they might be embedded in the ground, injuring those who stepped on them (similar to a caltrop or makibishi), wrapped in fuse to be lit and thrown to cause fire, or wrapped in a cloth soaked in poison and lit to cover an area with a cloud of poisonous smoke. They can also be used as a handheld striking weapon in close combat. Ninja stars are extremely sharp and made of stainless steel or other very hard metallic material.