Kusari is the general term for traditionally crafted Japanese iron chain mail. There are several styles of traditional kusari which were developed and popular throughout different eras of Japan’s history. Generally speaking, traditional Japanese kusari is often hand crafted together from 2 different ring styles. The 1st is a central ring in the shape of a circle “O” called maru-wa (丸輪). The 2nd is a lateral ring in the shape of an oval called hishi wa (hitsu wa / 菱輪). The lateral hishi-wa are used to connect the central maru-wa in various patterns, which makes up the body and style of the kusari. The oval hishi-wa ring is the secret of Japanese chain-mail, making it capable of expanding laterally. These 2 different styles of rings can be changed to create different patterns of mail, changing the weight and strength of butted chain.
The current style of kusari links we are selling is the most common style. The central ring style (maru-wa) is “hamiawase naka-gusari” which is a “butted” ring. Butted mail meaning a ring that is rolled into a circle, pressed or “butted” up against the reverse edge. The lateral ring (hishi wa) is the standard oval “butted” ring.
When term “kusari‘” is used with another term to describe a particular pattern of chain mail, the “K” in kusari changes to “G”, making it “gusari“. So using these 2 styles of rings, you can create several patterns of traditional Japanese chain mail. The most common and traditional is called hitoe-gusari or so-gusari, also known as “4 in 1” which creates a tight pattern (seen on most of our armor sets) was common in the Sengoku Era. Hana-gusari or asa-no-ha-gusari, also known as 6 in 1 mail pattern. This is heavier, stronger and a really dense pattern of kusari which became more common in the Edo Era. Other patterns of kusari can be created using the 2 styles of rings. All patterns of kusari are sewn onto several layers of asa (hemp linen) and/or silk material. This strengthens the form of the chain-mail while creating several layers of protection that can also work as padding.
Kusari was used as a secondary defense and often to link laminated plate armor together, to make the samurai armor more flexible. As it developed it was used more and more, notably in the kote, haidate and suneate. In time hoods, called kusari zukerin and kusari jackets were worn under, over existing armor or as armor itself. This style of traditional Japanese butted mail is perfect for restoring original armor, use in re-enactment armor, cosplay, larp and those wanting to craft traditional Japanese kusari.
- 2 Traditional Ring Styles (Round and Oval)
- Ring Sizes: Oval= 8×5 mm O=6×6 mm
- Ring Thickness: .8mm
- Traditional Sengoku Design.
- 12 oz of equally mixed links (50/50)
Our Hitaiate Kusari are handcrafted by the skilled artisans of Iron Mountain Armory at the time of your order. Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for the crafting of your order. If you have any questions, please contact us but submitting an online form or clicking the “contact details” at the top of the page.
|For more information, please review our Order Options Explained, Glossary Terms or FAQ Pages. You can also Contact Us directly. We are always happy to be of service.|