Bring me my… pillow spear?

Recently, I wrote about Ueshiba’s spear misogi.  In that post, I was not able to identify what a “swamp spear” was qua historical object.

I am just now reading Amdur’s Hidden in Plain Site, and I note that Amdur names this weapon “pillow spear” or “short spear” and says it is a traditional home defense weapon useful for confined indoor spaces.  That seems totally plausible to me, although the fact that the weapon is a sharpened stick without metal blade suggests to me that it is a type of peasant weapon, not something coming from the bushi class.  Of course, I could be totally wrong, but without more information, that seems like a good guess.


One way to identify this “pillow spear” is to look up its kanji.  According to Jim Breen’s, “spear” has three possible kanji but “pillow” only one, yielding 1×3=3 possible combos for makura-yari.  Interestingly, if we do Google Image searches on the three terms, none of them show us a short wooden pole with a sharpened end:

枕槍 – interestingly, this image search NSFW gives us a lot erotic manga images, which raises the question whether “pillow spear” can have a different meaning


枕鎗 – this one shows us a lot of umbrellas, interior decorating and sake

枕鑓 – and this one shows us a lot of mountain imagery

and if we search for makura yari in romaji, we get a lot of spear images, but no wooden spikes

I can’t find any kanji in Jim Breen’s for Amdur’s tanso, which he says is “short spear,” but I’m willing to guess that, whatever it is, it isn’t a wooden spike, but a metal-headed spear.

I guess I have to stand by what I wrote in my last post: it is the misogi that creates the spear, not the other way around.