Jitte (weapon)


The jitte or jutte (Japanese: 十手 literally "ten-hand", i.e. the weapon with the power of ten hands), is a specialized weapon which was used by law enforcement officers (called okappiki or doshin) during Edo period Japan. Nowadays, the jitte is the subject of the japanese martial art of Juttejutsu.

Design & technique

The modern jitte is about 45cm (18 inches) long with no cutting edge and a one-pronged hilt, designed to catch and snap off an opponent's sword blade. Although two weapons could conceivably be used for the same purpose, a single fused implement provides a safer means of catching a moving sword or knife. After the blade has been caught, the jitte is pushed up to the hilt of the sword, allowing the officer to control the attacker's arms and thereby disarm him.

History

The original form of the jitte is traditionally believed to have been created by the legendary swordmaker Masamune; it resembled its name of "ten hands", having that many prongs, and resembling a rake. It was carried in one hand, and used on the battlefield either to trap an enemy's sword and then slay them, or trap it and bind the enemy with a lasso or grapple with them, capturing them. The design is said to have been derived from the Okinawan sai, although some assert that the jitte existed first, and influenced the design of the sai.

Variants

A variant on this design is the marohoshi, also known as the marohoshi jitte, which is generally shorter and incorporates a blade.

Inspector Ishida, kneeling, is holding a jutte.
Inspector Ishida, kneeling, is holding a jutte.

Usage in popular culture

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