Jutte: the true story

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Алексей Курочкин
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Jutte: the true story

Сообщение Алексей Курочкин » 16 мар 2016, 20:44

In the Japanese collection of Museum of Arms History in Zaporozhye there is the subject, which is one of the most controversial representatives of weapons and material culture of Japan. It is about the subject named by the term jutte, which has, as it will be discussed below, different variants of meaning and translation. From the definition given by D. Stone in his glossary, jutte is a 'weapon, commonly called a fenser’s baton, but formerly carried by the Japanese police'. Now the vast majority of authors believe that jutte was used in police as a weapon mainly for disarming armed with the sword of the enemy for a safe way by trapping the sword's blade by the jutte hook.
There are the following theories of the origin of jutte:
- borrowing the principle of the weapon or the weapon itself from China;
- jutte invented or was used as a weapon of Hirata Munisai;
- jutte is of Japanese origin deriving from other types of clubs.
In China there was a weapon that actually fulfilled the function ascribed to jutte, weapon for parrying or weapon for the left hand. The diversity of types of weapons and the number of preserved antique units proves its active existence.
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Photo by author
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Chinese in origin unit has even more functions of parrying and disarming.
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www.swordsantiqueweapons.com. Many thanks Mr. Gavin Nugent
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It should be noted that the main part of this weapon directly intended to parry, is located on the end and it is a handy and easy to use fixture to capture the blade. The hook at the hilt, having no point or sharp edges , could have as an auxiliary protective function and utilitarian for hanging on the belt.
Taking into account everything said about the possible Chinese prototypes of jutte it will be interesting to consider a second version. It is generally believed that jutte as the weapons was created by the martial arts master of the end of XVI century by Hirata Munisai, who presumably was either the father or stepfather of the famous fencer Miyamoto Musashi. Now it is believed that jutte of Hirata Munisai has a classical shape of Edo period. But here it is necessary to focus on two points. Munisai Hirata, like his father Hirata Shokan were well-known fencers. The first of them in his youth received the title of 'the first fencer' from the last shogun of Ashikaga. Both of them took part in real battles, were samurai and lived in the era, which implies free carrying and possession of weapons. Most likely, they did not need concealed carry weapons of self-defense, but on the contrary, they were actually interested in the most effective and reliable weapon in which any risks were excluded. That is, weapons that do not require the filigree technique, flawless performance skill and physical fitness at any time, the design of which naturally works on the result of its application. In this context it is interesting to quote the opinion of Imai Masayuki master of martial arts schools, which derives its origin from Miyamoto Musashi and which exercised jutte technique, ascending, according to this school, to Hirata Munisai. He expressed the opinion that the weapon held in the left hand of Hirata Munisai and with which he neutralized swords or other weapons the enemy, may looked different from jutte, which is practiced now. According to him, the weapon of Hirata Munisai had a T-shaped structure. On the horizontal part of this weapon about a dozen teeth or spines in a row were located, according to the type of comb. Such weapon leaves no doubt about its purpose, technology application and, most importantly, secure. Equally, as in its title - 'ten fingers'. Moreover, weapons of similar design were used later, and here is the coincidence, also in the police known tsukubo, which will be discussed later. The specified variant of the weapon is also mentioned by other authors, but discarded as impractical. Getting back to the alleged Chinese prototypes, it should be noted that the variety of similar forms with different kinds of warhead and the length of the pole, if not in Chinese military tradition, at least in the Chinese schools of martial arts could be find.
Speaking about the origin of jutte from baton, a lot of variety of forms of jutte should be noted. Some authors emphasize certain forms of jutte in separate type of weapons, others consider them to be only varieties of jutte. It would be reasonable to assume the widespread use of these items as military weapons or weapons of self-defense. Nevertheless the first mention of the system of martial arts using weapons that look like jutte in the modern sense, refers to 1830.
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Technique of the martial art school Amau Ryu из Jujutsu Gokuhi Shinden, 1900
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This is quite strange, as if jutte used effectively against sword, and the need to confront the enemy, armed with a sword, it is anticipated in Japan for over eight centuries, then such a system would arise much sooner. Naturally, the first written reference is able to get away from the time of occurrence of the phenomenon, but, if you treat this date calmly, then it is well within the period of the XIX century - the heyday of the schools of self-defense and not only in Japan. Subjects of everyday wear (cane in Europe) and the subject of concealed carry became very popular.
How the baton, carried for self-defense, in times when the enemy could have been armed with long-blade or even polearm weapons, could look like?
There is an opinion that jutte comes from long bamboo stick that had quite sufficient dimensions and there was no doubt in the efficiency of its use. Such sticks had a cross-guard or the hook. Was cross preceded by hook, was a hook a special case of the cross-guard or was an independent functional part now it is unknown. But taking into consideration the fact that bamboo stick as a weapon of self-defense, has a history of not slightly smaller, than the history of the sword, taking into account that a self-defense weapon in most cases was a weapon for the road and travel, the presence of the hook in the upper third or quarter sticks could only have one need - fixing and wearing on the belt, allowing to keep the hands free.
From an evolutionary point of view between the bamboo sticks and jutte it is possible to detect another interesting subject, which is obviously derived from the first and continued to exist in parallel with the second. Even in the second half of the 19 century, the police often in addition to the two swords wore long metal rod with a length of about one meter, usually decorated in the form of bamboo, with characteristic nodes, which clearly underlined its origin, and called kanemuchi. These rods had specific police purpose, was worn as a whip in hands and in rare cases could be fitted with small hooks, most likely, also to be worn on the belt.
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Kanemuchi in the hand of the police
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But in most cases, objects in the form of batons used by the police, at least in the Edo period, were much more like of insignia than a real weapon.
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Kusakabe Kimbai. Prisoner, 1880
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Skipper Vasily Golovnin in his description of being a Japanese prisoner in 1811 mentioned the use of such objects: 'On the way one of the soldiers hit me several times on the shoulder with a small iron stick, but one of the officials said something to him in a very severe form, and he immediately stopped.' It is noteworthy that during the arrest of unarmed men, the Japanese, due to the presence of 'a small iron rod', preferred the use of swords, spears and guns: 'the Japanese: jumping naked with big swords, which they are holding in both hands, with guns and spears, and surrounded us at the boat'.
The size of jutte ranged from 20 to 60 cm. But most of them did not exceed 45 cm. In the first half of the 18 century the length of the official police jutte was standardized and accounted for approximately 36 cm. It is interesting to note the following fact that in 1946 the Japanese police was adopted by a small wooden stick. The first sample was 50 cm long, but it was found not suitable because of its insufficient length. The next sample had a length of 60 cm. There are pictures of the second half of the 19 century, where police armed with meter wooden batons.
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Tokugawa bakufu keiji zufu, 1893. Meiji University Museum
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In any case, it is necessary to note that in the 20 century to confront the enemy unarmed police was convenient to use a weapon longer than two feet. Just doubts about the possibility of using more short jutte against the enemy, armed, besides, long-bladed weoapons.
Another argument against the primary purpose of jutte as strike weapons is the fact that wearing jutte was ordered not only by the police. Jutte was also meant to many officials and inspectors.
The aforementioned circumstances confirm the version of the origin of jutte based on parallels and analogies with maces, when in many, not related to each other military traditions, maces, which were military weapons, had turn into a status object and insignia. As in the case with maces-insignia, jutte was no longer weapon in the full meaning, but the original function of the weapon in a limited amount were saved. It was still possible with jutte to hit the detained to attract his attention (as in the case described by Golovnin V.) or to hit the hand of a woman threatening police with a knife.
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The Police. Illustrated London News, 1878
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It is also necessary to understand that the detention armed with a samurai sword man was not a part of everyday activity of the police. The main consumers of their services were simple townspeople, peasants, women and teenagers. For a demonstration of power, threatening effect and even protection from attack, short batons for such cases were enough.
And here we are close to the main, fundamental question that exists in regard to jutte as a possible weapon. It is related to the presence of the hook and its function.
It is widely believed that the presence of a hook at the handle is a distinctive sign of jutte making it different from other types of such weapons. And the purpose of this hook is to capture and snatching of the sword from the hands of the enemy. Without going into a study of the possibilities to wrest the sword held by two hands to the long arm, solely by the rotation of the hand and a small arm hook, let’s focus on the following points.
Among the wide variety of types of jutte there is a considerable number not having such a facility.
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Ide Masanobu. Edo no jitte korekushon. Sato statement published, vol. 1 (1998), vol. 2 (2004)
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Among jutte having a hook, there are varieties in which the hook definitely cannot be used for any secure or capture the sword has clearly rudimentary signs. Among them particularly interesting to note the cases in which the hook was used as handcuffs, and was equipped with ponding mechanisms.
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Ide Masanobu. Edo no jitte korekushon. Sato statement published, vol. 1 (1998), vol. 2 (2004)
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The purpose of the hook as protection, which protects hand from damage caused by contact with a cold weapon, is quite disputable. There have been versions of jutte with full cross-guard and, in this case, the advantage of hook is missing. There are options with two or more hooks that could qualify for the honorary title of cross-guard, but its were not frequent and its number compared with jutte with full protection (tsuba) is few. Not in favor of independent function hook as the guard says and the existence of variants equipped with a traditional guard (tsuba) and hook.
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Ide Masanobu. Edo no jitte korekushon. Sato statement published, vol. 1 (1998), vol. 2 (2004)
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Position of Japanese experts attributing any jutte without hook to civil official, and any jutte with hook to police looks very doubtful. But at the same time, they do not take into account that jutte with hook can be very tiny and not able to perform any function of the weapon, and jutte with no hook, on the contrary, possess impressive size and claim unconditional assignment to the attack-crushing weapon.
It is also difficult to refute the argument that if such a hook was convenient and effective means for gripping and pulling out the sword or convenient to protect hands more than an ordinary cross-guard, why there was not such a useful device on the usual swords and daggers?
Most of jutte have hook of medium size, devoid of sharp ends or edges, slightly bent outward, taking into account all above it is clear that the main purpose of the hook was the feasibility of wearing jutte belt or clothing. There are a few types of jutte having a ring hole (on the hook or, in the case of special design of a hook, at which its horizontal part passes through the rod jutte and comes out the other side type cross - ring hole is on this side). It is assumed that the purpose of the ring was jutte fastening to the belt or the scabbard of the sword. But the proportion of such varieties of jutte is minor.
After analyzing a large number of items, taking into account the existence of jutte without hook, with a traditional tsuba, the simultaneous presence of traditional hook and tsuba, and diversity of hooks, including the absence of any standards (is it possible for all kinds of hooks equally effective to catch and snatch the sword from the hands?), it become clear that this device had no military value.
Why did police officials use jutte, and how did they detain and disarm criminals?
The police system of the Edo period was formed in the mid-17th century and remained unchanged for 200 years. It was represented by yoriki - samurai of the middle class who led the police districts. Previously, this position corresponded to the position of assistant daimyo or his commanders. In Edo there were about five dozen yoriki, who represented both the chief of the district police, prosecutor and judge. He had subordinates doshin, a low-ranking samurai, who were essentially operational staff and was the main functional unit of the police Tokugawa. They received jutte on duties and in the evening handed it back to the police station. They could delegate their power to the assistants from among the citizens to conduct any activities. In this case, the assistants had also been given jutte. Basically throughout this era the streets were controlled by assistants of doshin from among the townspeople, they were carried out the arrests. By what means could ordinary citizens cope with the samurai? Image of scenes of police arrests during the Edo period, provides the following information for analysis. Guards armed with swords, long lances, bamboo stairs (through which detainees were surrounded from four sides and restricted as in the paddock), traps-poles for grasping by the neck and well-known trinity of torimono sandōgu: tsukubo, sasumata and sodegarami. Sometimes hand truck was means of limiting detainees. Pole arms for the detention of criminals had been widely used in different countries and at different times. In the glossary D. K. Stone referred to 'the trap-poles', which had a fork with spring-loaded blades, easily exciting the neck of the opponent in principle of poker, but not allowing freely to release it. Similar weapon was used in Europe and Asia. The above objects and methods of its use for the detention of criminals are widely represented in the illustrated Atlas of 1893. 'Tokugawa bakufu keiji zufu' ('Illustrated book about the system of punishment of the Tokugawa').
According to convenient and secure for all participants in the techniques of detention said above, any argument in defense of jutte as a universal weapon should fall away.
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Tokugawa bakufu keiji zufu, 1893. Meiji University Museum
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Nansō Satomi Hakkenden, 1863. Museum of Fine Arts Boston
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Photo by Wen Miaosen for «China Daily»
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Tokugawa bakufu keiji zufu, 1893. Meiji University Museum
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So what was jutte and what were its main functions and purpose?
The exact origin of the term jutte and its meaning is unknown. Similar readings and soundings are of the 'hand of truth' or ' hand of justice' are interesting for this study. It is interesting that during the arrest the police had to present jutte, establishing itself as the official face, and holding it in his hand in front of the face of detainees, saying the phrase translated as 'Official case'.
Next we need to consider that 'jutte' is just one of the many terms denoting such weapon. To list them all is impossible validly used more than a dozen. And among them are the terms corresponding to names of objects that were, for example, an ordinary paperweight. What is the main occupation of the police at all times was mainly paper work, might call into question only with the romantics and lovers of crime series (the series that played a role in the case of jutte, will be discussed more below). It is possible that from its purpose as a subject to work with official papers, the status of jutte as a symbol of official power could appear. We can assume that instead of need to have three things: a badge, a paperweight and something in his hands for a certainty, the police were able to wear one subject, which, moreover, can be conveniently worn on a belt or clothing. But most researchers and followers of the Japanese martial arts ignore the above versions of the meaning of the term and prefer more heroic - 'the power of ten hands'.
Without denying that individual instances of jutte used by exceptional personalities as retorting weapons for the left hand, recognizing the fact that any jutte you can use as large or small maces, it should be recognized that the vast majority of police officers of the unified jutte in the first half of the 18 century and jutte other inspectors was only a symbol of their authority, a kind of identity.
So how did the phenomenon of jutte as super weapon against a sword armed opponent appear?
Here we face a phenomenon that played a key role in establishing many of the phenomena of Japanese culture. This phenomenon is Kabuki theater and performances in the style of a historical drama, which passed later in the series. It was under its influence and formed a pseudo-view of many real phenomena from the historical past of Japan. In the theatrical plays of the Edo period there was a hero-policeman, who, as in modern operas, was not engaged in paperwork, and in the spirit of modern superheroes fought against evil and criminals. With the help of theatrical means and symbol of identification of his character as a police officer - jutte. The vast majority portraits of actors and scenes of the Kabuki hero-policeman bravely fighting the rogue exclusively through jutte. In this image the famous scene on the roof of pseudo-historical novel of the early 19 century 'the Legend of the 8 dogs-warriors of the Satomi clan' (Nansō Satomi Hakkenden). But even among the scenes from the Kabuki plays, especially early, or illustrations to the novel, not constrained by the conventionality of the theatre, one can find a plausible scene where the actor holds jutte and help him in a hurry (or hurried, but had already lied, a hero must be alone to deal with the bandit) the same guards with torimono sandōgu.
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Tokugawa bakufu keiji zufu, 1893. Meiji University Museum
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Nansō Satomi Hakkenden, 1840. British Museum
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Kabuki scene, 1840. British museum.
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Kabuki scene, 1834. Museum of Fine Arts Boston
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Summarizing everything , let’s try to draw the following conclusions about the function of jutte, based on the order and sequence of its use. Jutte was given at the police station and could be passed on to the performers as a symbol and the identity of their power. Then, police didn’t hit the suspect with jutte and snatch his sword, and at the beginning showed jutte and officially presented. Here it looks quite logical that the primary functions of this subject as the official symbol of authority and law.
Jutte could be used as a bludgeon to gain influence to the suspect by a government representative, in contrast the physical impacts by fists does not carry any official content. But as full attack-crushing weapon can be recognized as a relative 'large' jutte of size from 40 cm and more. Unified in the first half of the 18 century for use by police jutte of size of about 36 cm, in most cases, well-decorated, could be used only for the identification official authority.
The presence in many copies of jutte full traditional guard shows that hook of jutte didn’t mean to protect the handle. Usage of hook for parrying and whipping out the sword was not the function of jutte, practiced (and still do) in the schools of martial arts and can be applied in reality, only in exceptional cases and exceptional personalities, it is likely that marginal behavior. It could be as 'street knights' using jutte as a weapon for the left hand, and the holders of jutte as batons for self defense. But, in any case, the possibility of use of any object for another purpose in special circumstances doesn't make the subject of this function.
Another important factor is the common practice to cover jutte either amalgam or silver and red lacquer. Obviously, this was done to attract attention to the subject as a status thing or to improve its visibility in the dark.
The purpose of the hook was either to attach jutte on the belt or clothing in the case of concealed carry. It's pretty reasonable, considering operational work of doshins.
We should not discard other valid utilitarian function of the jutte hook from storage at the station in hung the to paperweight. We cannot exclude the origin of hook as a throwback from the glorious heritage even more mysterious subject whose actual use as a weapon for the second hand is allowed by the majority of authors - hachiwari.
On the perception of jutte as weapon was influenced by the following factors. The presence of this attribute of authorities in apprehending the suspect in the mass perception was equated detention with the help of jutte. This substitution of notions entrenched in popular culture thanks to the popular performances of Kabuki theatre and, later, the television series, in which hero-policeman easily dealt with armed criminals with an identifying character attribute. The second factor was the tendency that emerged in schools of self-defense, which became widespread from the middle of the Edo period, in which the skills of self-defense with any ancillary items practiced, as well as the desire to include the appearance of their schools and their practices in the distant past. It should be noted here that almost all the information about the history of jutte are based on the expert opinions of mentors modern schools of martial arts.
In the case, the similarity of sounds and spellings played a role, which can mean different things, resulting to a broad interpretation of the term jutte and extended it retroactively to a totally different designs of the weapon, which, in turn, gave this term a temporary duration and methods of it usage.
Removing false veils that are supposed to give extra charm and aura of battle mysterious weapon, doesn't make jutte less interesting. On the contrary, the real story of its origin, its change in accordance with surrounding conditions and existing challenges, the roots in the militant past of his predecessors and prototypes, should generate additional interest and reverence. This unit is the final transformation of the symbol of power and strength, from the time when a man holding a raised stick from the ground, approached to another person. And it marks the final stage of the loop evolution of the character, still containing the features of its fighting predecessors, but not yet turned into a dull badge, ID or armband.

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