Katanas are usually what comes to mind at the mention of a traditional Japanese weapon, but history has left us with another weapon that is as lethal and effective as the sword. Though invented much later than the katana during the Muromachi Period (1336-1573), the kusarigama, which literally translates to "chain-sickle," was a versatile combination of a sickle, chain, and an iron weight that is said to have been used by ninjas as well as those who were not permitted to have a samurai sword, such as farmers and merchants.

But kusarigama was deadly all the same. A chain, which was attached to a sickle, had a heavy iron weight attached at its end. Due to the long length of the chain, it was possible for the bearer of the weapon to immobilize or disarm an enemy from a safe distance, and then to swiftly attack them with the sickle. Though the iron weight mostly seemed to have had the purpose of getting the chain wrapped around an arm, leg, neck, or weapon, with enough force, it was possible for it to be hit against the body or head, possibly shattering the skull of the opponent.

This video shows a demonstration of a fight between an opponent with a kusarigama and another with a Japanese sword. Since it's a demonstration, you obviously won't see the speed (and blood) you would see in a real battle, but it's an intriguing look into a duel between the two traditional Japanese weapons.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.