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Old 15th October 2015, 06:46 AM   #1
kronckew
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Default Jingama - Edo period - for info/discussion

just acquired the following jingama from ebay japan. described as 'edo' period (1603-1868), the shogunate era just before the opening of japan and the re-emergence of the emperor over the shogun.

the jingama, as opposed to the kama was made as a weapon, not a farm tool used as one. it was favoured by many samurai as a side-arm. useful for hamstringing horses or cutting reins, armour ties, etc.

this one has a sash belt hook.

L : 44.5cm (17.5 inch) W : 9 cm (3.5 inch) Weight : 300 g ( 10.6 oz)

it seems to have an inscription burned into the haft on one side. would be interesting if anyone knows what it means.

haven't found anything much on them here, so thought it was worth posting.
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Old 15th October 2015, 01:31 PM   #2
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Let me preface my comments by stating that I have no great knowledge on Japanese weaponry, and I do think it could be Edo period, however I believe it could be a tobikuchi ; a Japanese fireman's tool. It is still a great item !
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Old 15th October 2015, 01:51 PM   #3
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my understanding is the fireman's tool while similar was larger, did not have a sharpened edge on the blade as it was used for pulling down wooden structures rather than cutting, and so was shaped a bit differently. the jingama more closely resembles a small kama blade with a sharp chisel edge. unlike the firefighter version, the jongama had to be sharp as it was also used by the mounted warriors to cut hay for their horses. alsom of course used to cut flesh.

the jingama was derived from the tobiguchi fire tool, so is very similar. the tobiguchi were provided to samurai and daimyos who were responsible not only for defence but for firefighting, and when attacked they were sometimes picked up by the warriors for both firefighting and defence at the same time, and later weaponised versions, jingama, or tobiguchi 'sword' were made. i would also assume if edo period, it is very late in it (ie. closer to 1868)

tobiguchi (kite's beak) fire tool and hikeshi (firemen) for comparison:
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Old 15th October 2015, 09:29 PM   #4
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As stated, I am no expert and you make a valid point on the blade however I made my assumption based on several reasons.
The first was the side hook for placing the item on what I would guess would be a belt . This feature was very much like the one on the tobikuchi and it would be an impediment in an actual fight ; if a blade struck the metal clasp, it would slide down onto the user's hand.I have also thought of the jingama as being a stealth weapon and as such, if I am correct, the owner might not want to wear it in clear sight.
Next, when I saw your item, I wondered if it had been cut down; many times(not always), these weapons will have an iron band or butt cap on the bottom.I was unable to get a good look at the end.
Finally, when I looked up tobikuchi on the internet, I found some examples with a similar beaked blade such as yours ; of course this doesn't mean anything, since items are often mislabeled on this medium.
In conclusion, since swords were often forbidden to the "common people,"many times the line between tool and weapon was blurred .Your weapon could certainly be a jingama and I am anxious to hear what the experts have to say.
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Old 15th October 2015, 10:30 PM   #5
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me too. as far as the clip, it's odd that the 19c french naval boarding axe HAS a very similar belt clip, where the slightly smaller french/german fire service axes based on it do not.

naval axes and samurai weapons were designed to be taken from a rack and shoved in a sash or belt, not carried in a dedicated holster like fire service axes. japanese ones seem to vary as everyone wore a sash belt.

i've heard the samurai at the late edo/early showa when carry of the daisho sword pair was frowned on, would carry these in their belts as better than nothing.
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Old 16th October 2015, 12:00 PM   #6
Timo Nieminen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
the jingama, as opposed to the kama was made as a weapon, not a farm tool used as one. it was favoured by many samurai as a side-arm. useful for hamstringing horses or cutting reins, armour ties, etc.


As I understand it, the jingama is primarily part of a cavalryman's equestrian equipment, and only secondarily a weapon. So military equipment and not a farm tool, but still more tool than weapon.

Also functions as insignia, saying "I am a cavalryman". A fancy jingama must perform some of the same functions as a fancy ankus/ankush.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
my understanding is the fireman's tool while similar was larger, did not have a sharpened edge on the blade as it was used for pulling down wooden structures rather than cutting, and so was shaped a bit differently.
[...]
the jingama was derived from the tobiguchi fire tool, so is very similar.


I'd guess that the similarity between jingama and tobiguchi is convergent evolution, not ancestry. The jingama is a small-bladed kama, and I see no reason why it isn't derived from the kama. Small blade to make it convenient to carry.
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Old 16th October 2015, 04:06 PM   #7
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Interesting piece. The sash hook appears often with Japanese weapons/tools. Most of my tobiguchi have one, as does my percussion pistol. I believe I read, that the hook disappeared on tobis, with the advent of the service belt. Although, I have what appears to be a war-time, military issue tobi, with a hook.
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