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Manriki Gusari History


Manrikigusari means "strength of a thousand men." This ingenious weapon was created to be very concealable and at the same time, very effective and dangerous. The small weighted ends can easily be used to break any bone, when swung with the right speed and accuracy. It could also leave a man unconscious, as well as crack the skull, if a ninja so wished.

The manrikigusari 6 consisted of a short length of metal chain, about two to three feet long, with weights on each end. The chain could be used to parry a strike from sticks, swords, or other weapons. The weights were also swung to strike an opponent or to entangle a weapon. Once a weapon was trapped by the chain and weights, the samurai could easily disarm their opponent. Finally, the length of chain could also be used to temporarily restrain an attacker once he was subdued.

The manrikigusari was allegedly developed by Dannoshin Toshimitsu Masaki, then head sentry at Edo Castle, sometime during the early 1700s. According to legend, Masaki was inspired to create this unique weapon to prevent unnecessary bloodshed while his guards defended the castle from intruders. The manrikigusari was later adopted by other constables and their assistants to disarm and capture criminals.




Last Update: 5/02/03