Sodegarami – Specialized Weapons

Sodegarami is known as a sleeve entangler and is part of the pole arms used by Japanese police to capture attackers and suspects. It was said that this implement was used during the Edo period by Samurai police in particular. This is part of the arresting tool set with long pole and many small hooks.

The small hooks point towards different directions on one end. The Soderagami was thrust towards the opponent’s kimono with the use of a twisting motion to entangle the suspect. The clothes of the suspect becomes his trapper. Even if he tries to push and pull he can never get out of it. The police can now proceed on disarming him.

Every equipment is made with a specific purpose in mind. Weapons evolve as the need arises. In this case, Sodegarami is 2 meters long with barbs and spikes. Its overall length is 6 feet. This is a weapon said to be categorized as Samurai Weapon tools.

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Sodegarami Description and Origins

The sharp small points found on the tip of this weapon look like three-sided triangles. There are times that the Soderagami was made with thin needle like spikes known as iron needles. In some rare cases, these have saw blade shaped hooks. It is also known as wolf’s fang pole, lion’s head and grasping hand because of the way it was designed.

Experts in Japanese weaponry say that this implement evolved from the Yagaramogara or long pole used by naval forces. When military ships passed alongside another ship they rigged its sails. They pull the enemy’s ship closer for boarding. Another theory is that it was copied from a Chinese polearm from the Ming Dynasty known as wolf brush.

This was used back then to defend those who ride ships against pirates of the seas. The Chinese version has a spearhead surrounded by thorn like spikes that are either made of bamboo or iron. This was used to stab or prevent enemies from making an advance. The Soderagami is said to be counted among the ones used during the golden age of Japanese elite warriors.

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Weapons Not for War

During the period of peace in Japan, it was necessary to have a weapon that can avoid killing the enemy. This is also the precept of which some combat techniques are taught. Weapons like these are more of defensive tools rather than offensive.

This was a way for the Japanese police force to adapt without resorting to killing and death. However, there is a need to use two of these weapons to pin down an enemy especially somebody who continuous to fight even when captured.


The same thing applies to an attacker that is strong and big. It could even take three of these to suppress such an attack. Since only one person can handle one Sodegarami.

It would take another one to use two and so on and so forth. There is not a lot of such weapons that are not for killing. This only shows that peacetime reign during the period when this weapon was made popular.