Chigiriki – Effectiveness of Chigiriki as a Chained Weapon

Chigiriki is considered as a Japanese flail chained weapon. It consists of these parts: a hollow wood sometimes made of bamboo or iron staff with an iron weight and a chain on the end. Sometimes the chain can be retracted.

Others view this weapon as an aggressive version of the kusarigama. Some of the functions of this weapon include:

  • Striking or entangling the enemy
  • Parry his blows
  • Capture or incapacitate the weapon used by the enemy or opponent

In terms of length, the sick portion can be as long as the welder’s forearm or longer. The chain portion can be of varying lengths. The iron weight could have spikes.

The shape of this iron weight can be round or multi-sided as preferred by the owner. It is not clear though to what weapon Chigiriki belongs but, for the sake of classification, this is a chained weapon Japanese style.

Chigiriki is versatile in the sense that it has multiple uses like hiding other weapons such as shuriken or blowgun. There are times that it can even hide a breathing tube.

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The first written reference to Chigiriki as a weapon can be found during the Muromachi period. The writings told about a violation of midnight curfew because some citizens went out for a night in town armed with highly decorated weapons such as Chigiriki and battle axes.

This weapon was not mentioned during the Edo period though. There is a theory that during the Edo period this was simply referred to as jo or a short staff like those used by foot soldiers.

Authorities believed that the chained version of Chigiriki was brought home by warriors who participated in the invasion of Korea in the last part of the 16th century. For those who imagine a Samurai, it was a warrior with a sword.

However, it cannot be denied that these ancient warriors also used less than glamorous weapons. These are not as famous as Katana. These are weapons that allow users to defend and fight off the Katana.

Some are disguised as everyday items like a staff however, as mentioned there are some other uses for Chigiriki other than as a staff.

Ninjas are known for being good at deceiving and redirecting. The same thing can be said about this weapon that looks deceptively simple.

Image source: Samuraiantiqueworld [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In-depth Knowledge of Chigiriki

For those who want to be trained on how to use this chained weapon, the training is referred to as Chigiriki Jutsu. During the training period, a ball and chain are attached to a stick.

Several martial arts schools use this weapon which includes Araki Ryu and Kiraku Ryu schools. This weapon is also known as Furozue or Shikomi Zue and is said to be traditionally taught as part of the Ninpo traditions in the Genbukan or Bujinkan Ryu.

Some describe this weapon as a polearm with a length of chain and iron weighted ball at the end. The dimensions are fluid in the sense that the shaft length can be made up to the base of the throat.

In terms of measurement, the average size of this weapon is 2 feet long. The chain is 2 ½ foot. Some refer to it as the Japanese morning star. The chain is also used as a mace.

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Special Features

There are certain stories that are told about the Chigiriki where it can reach up to 10 feet away but, the weapon is extremely restricted against close targets.

The butt end of the shaft is capped with an ishizuki which is used to stab through armor or flesh and bone. This end of the weapon can perform finishing blows to the enemy or opponent.

One thing is certain though even if this weapon can cause severe damage when striking an opponent, this weapon is not considered an important weapon of war.

During the battle, speed is needed and this weapon is not known for allowing the user to use it as quick as possible. However, there are certain situations where when this chained weapon is used it can deliver a devastating effect on the chosen target.

This results to crush armor or broken limbs. Chinese warriors have a similar weapon like this one. Some are either two or three-sectioned staff.

Featured Image Credit: Samuraiantiqueworld [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons