In a few previous posts I’ve talked about all kinds of spears, dragon spears, tribal spears, long spears, short spears, etc. Today however I will be talking about a weapon whose design is very closely related to the spear, but isn’t really a spear:

The Ikkakuryu Marohoshi

Ikkakuryu Marohoshi
[view full size]

The Marohoshi is an interesting weapon. As you can see, it is essentially a spear head, complete with cross guards and tassel, that is used without a shaft. This weapon was probably a result of people using spear heads as impromptu weapons when the ranges became too close to effectively use a spear, or when they needed an additional close quarters combat blade.

The Ikkakuryu Marohoshi

Ikkakuryu Marohoshi
[view full size]

The marohoshi actually has one additional feature that would have made it a perfect concealed carry weapon in feudal Japanese times. It had a folding guard! I imagine that as people began carrying these spare spear tips around for backup, it would have been unwieldly to carry about a large spear head, with over sized cross guards, on ones person. So what do you do? Make em foldable!

If you look closely, you can see there is one large crossguard that is pinned to the blade, and basically swivels out parallel to the handle/blade. The second guard, acting as a locking pin, is inserted into a slot in the handle of the maroshoshi just beneath the swiveling crossguard pin, securing the first guard in place perpendicular to the first. Then the second guard is then tied into place by it’s tassels to ensure the whole thing stays together.

The long tassel of the second guard also allowed for a shaft to be secured to the handle  of the marohoshi, which could then be used as a spear. Now obviously, this design, consisting of multiple parts and 3 steps to make it secure, wasn’t particularly fast to deploy, however it was more likely designed for versatility than speed.

All and all, I thought this was a pretty interesting weapon.

Ikkakuryu Marohoshi – [Jin-1 Jutte Kobo]