The kusarigama (鎖鎌 or くさりがま) is a white weapon developed in Japan in the xi century by peasants concerned with self-defense.
Indeed, not being allowed to use a katana, and being too poor to buy a spear, a knife or any other weapon, peasants used in their defensive interest their tools, such as sickles (kama), pruning hooks, trowels (kunai) and others.
In absolute terms, the kusarigama is a kama (sickle) with the end of the handle opposite the blade attached to a chain, the length of which varied according to need, but the general size of which was between 4 and 6 m.
The end of this chain was decorated with a metal ball, a wooden ball, or a stone, so that it could be used as a flail.
Ninjas made great use of kusarigama, first because it was easy to use, for them, used to fighting with chains, and moreover because it allowed them to pass easily as a peasant, while remaining effective in combat, thanks to a rustic but sophisticated and versatile weapon.
Indeed, the flexibility, lethality and speed of use make the chain a very effective weapon against a sword, a spear, a knife or an unarmed man.
The rigidity of a fixed blade or a stick was disadvantageous against a chain, which could not be sliced or cut, but which could pass the opponent's defense, to reach him without getting closer to him.
The kusarigama was the object of improvements and evolutions, and gave birth to the kyoketsu shoge.
Kusarigamajutsu is taught in koryū, including the Nito Shinkage-ryū kusarikamajutsu (二刀神影流鎖鎌術), Suiō-ryū iai kenpo (水鷗流 居合 剣法), as well as in the koryū of ninjutsu.
It is also found in Okinawan martial arts.
In Japanese, "kusari" (くさり) means "chain" and "kama" (かま) means "sickle". When the two words are combined, the pronunciation of the second word changes and becomes "gama" (がま) (by the effect of rendaku).
In kanji, the word is written 鎖鎌 and is therefore pronounced "kusarigama" (くさりがま).