Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1787 Japanese okappiki 
Subject: 岡っ引き okappiki, doshin policeman
Culture: Japanese
Setting: Tokugawa shogunate, Japan 17-19thc

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Ratti/Westbrook 1973 p




* Cunningham 2008 p159
"An even shorter wooden staff called the hanbō (walking stick) was also developed as a defensive and arresting weapon among law enforcement officials during the late nineteenth century.  The hanbō was typically three shaku, or nearly three feet long.  Because of the short length, the hanbō was also quite useful as a walking stick.
    "Both the jō and the hanbō were frequently employed as weapons for both personal defense by low-ranking samurai and chōnin throughout the Edo period."

* Ratti/Westbrook 1973 p


* Must-see in Kyoto 2001 p145
"The jitté, used to trap sword blades in a fight, also served as the okappiki's badge of office."

* Fryer 1969 p90
"Jitte  A short club or baton in the form of a rod with side hook at the base of the handle.  They were used as a parrying weapon and sometimes carried by police."

​* Ratti/Westbrook 1973 p312-315
"[A]n interesting weapon of combat known, in the doctrine of bujutsu, as jittejittei, or jutta ... usually consists of an iron or steel rod, a long hilt, and a characteristically square hook jutting out from the rod at the point where it meets the hilt.  this instrument appears in many variations, from the simplest to the most elaborate.  It was often implemented with a guard (tsuba) and a scabbard; in certain rare cases it was even mounted as a sword, with a blade.  Some martial arts authors report that it was carried hanging the belt or in a scabbard inserted in the waistband or sash (obi), while others hold that it was usually carried hanging from the wearer's wrist by a cord tied to a ring on the weapon's hilt.  In any case, there seems to be a general agreement that it was a parrying weapon and was used by Japanese police officers in feudal times.
​   "[...] Whatever its origins, this weapon gave rise to a sophisticated method of combat which became known in Japan as jittejutsu.  Its techniques ranged from skillful parries against a sword attack to extremely effective blows directed against any exposed part of an opponent's body.  The point of the jitte was used directly in thrusts to the eyes and throat, or the opponent's lower abdomen -- parts of the body which became extremely vulnerable once a warrior's blade had been captured or diverted.  The hilt of the jitte could also be used with devastating effect in delivering reverse blows that could maim or even kill an unwary opponent.  Upon occasion, the jitte was also thrown.
    "Mastery of jittejutsu naturally depended upon consummate skill in that art of displacement (tai-sabaki) which made it possible for an expert to move with blinding speed from one position to another, sliding or whirling closer to or further away from an opponent, whose reach normally extended to the tip of his long sword.  Evasion prepared the way for the parry, and the parry prepared the way for the counterattack which often concluded the encounter.  Since the techniques of kenjutsu were virtually infinite, the techniques of jittejutsu, of necessity, had to be equally numerous and sufficiently conclusive to eliminate the possibility of the opponent's being able to counterparry and attack again.  This skill was invaluable to a police officer who was often 'required to make arrests without injuring his prisoner, particularly if of much higher rank.'  The official use of the jitte was restricted to the police officers of the feudal era, who also used it as a symbol of their position.  They became extremely skillful in its use, and the warriors were said to have dutifully acknowledged the efficiency of this instrument, which, in the hands of an expert, could snap a precious katana in two or send it whirling against his throat.  Other categories of Japanese subjects, however, managed to enjoy the advantages of jittejutsu in less obvious ways, by adding a hook to the iron ribs of their fans or to the stems of their pipes."  [references omitted]