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Home > Articles > Transactions and Proceedings of the Japan Society > Japanese Archery and Archers > Part 7
Japanese Archery and Archers
by E. Gilbertson
Part 7 of 12

Many remarkable specimens of arrows are preserved in the temples, and in that at Itsukushima is a bifurcated arrow belonging to Yuasa Matashiro, 6 3/8 inches in length from the shoulder to the points, which are nearly 5 inches apart [Plate I., b]. It is fixed in a shaft 2 feet 6 inches in length, and 5/8 of an inch in diameter, so that one can readily believe that with such an arrow delivered from a bow 8 feet 9 inches long, an archer like Tametomo could sink a boat Such a bow, belonging to the same individual, is preserved at Itsukushima, with another about the same length belonging to Ihara Koshiro, and a bifurcated arrow belonging to Watanabe Yajuro, having points 5 1/4 inches apart, with a shaft about 1 foot 7 inches long, and 5/8 of an inch thick. But in the Aizu Todera Hachiman temple in Mutsu, there is a much larger and earlier specimen, the sharp pointed blades of which are about 6§ inches in length, with the same distance between their points. Another, but later example, is 7 1/2 inches long from point to shoulder, and 5 3/8 inches from point to point, with a tang 15 inches in length. These long tangs were necessary as counterpoises, for the head of one of these arrows pierced and chased, by Umetada Mioju, weighs 8 ounces, and has a tang 16 inches long [Plate VII.].

At the O-yashiro (temple) in Izumo, there is an example of the karimata [Plate III., d], or bifurcated arrow, terminating a wooden head, an egg-shaped variation of the whistling arrow, quite in the Chinese style, but of very superior workmanship. The shaft is 2 feet 9 inches in length, and it is fletched with four feathers, the edges of which are shaped in long curves [Plate III.,f]. It has the appearance of a ceremonial or ornamental arrow rather than that of one for service, and is accompanied by another, and a shaft exactly similar, but with a steel head, which is a combination of the pointed arrow and the watakusi or flesh-tearer [Plate III., e].

The "togari-ya," or pointed arrow, has many forms, a common one being that of a rather thin lance or spear-head, one of those preserved at Itsukushima being 8 inches long, 1¼ inch broad at the base, and having a shaft 30 inches in length [Plate III.,g]. Others are of an elongated diamond shape, with the inner part cut out to lighten them, and one of these, also preserved at Itsukushima, which belonged to Ihara Koshiro, is 8½ inches from shoulder to point, 4¾ inches wide at the widest part, and mounted on a shaft ¾ of an inch thick [Plate I., a]. Many of the togariya are, however, more or less barbed, and still more frequently spread out into a leaf-like form, so that the width nearly equals the length. This is found more especially in the later ones, which are usually pierced and chased, like that by Umetada Moiju, which is 5 1/2 inches long from shoulder to tip, and 3 3/4 inches broad [Plate VII.]. One very peculiar form of the pointed arrow is preserved at the temple of Mishima in Iyo. The blade, which is about 3 1/2 inches long, has its edges turned round until they are about 1/8 of an inch apart, forming a sort of gouge, and there are two or three varieties of them, but without name or date. Two togariya of remarkable size were given to the Sugi temple by Minamoto Yoshiiye, the heads being 6 1/4 inches long by 2 7/8 inches wide at the base, upon shafts 23 1/2 inches in length and 9/16 of an inch in diameter.

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