Ya (矢, samurai arrow) commonly refers to the arrows used by Samurai during the Feudal era of Japan. Samurai used the yumi bow as their primary weapon and created their own unique form of battlefield archery called Koshiya Kumiyumi. Kyudo (Way of the Bow) was formed during the peaceful Edo era and is known as a “modern” Japanese archery, and call their arrows “Boya“. To avoid confusion, we will use more traditional words, like “ya” relating more to the era of Feudal Samurai warriors who practiced Koshiya Kumiyumi. There are 2 types of arrows used by samurai warriors and in which we offer. The “Matoya” which is a training arrow with a 5~7mm thick shaft and “Seiya” a combat arrow with a 8~10mm thick shaft. The yajiri or yanone (Japanese arrowhead) for the seiya also features a longer / wider tang (tail). It is said that a samurai might carry a kari-ebira (quiver) with up to 26 ya.
Both the matoya and seiya come in 2 different options, makiwara-ya (unfletched) and kazuya (fletched). Traditionally the hane (feathers) for the kazuya are from large birds of prey (hawks, eagles, etc). However, in modern times, many of these birds are considered endangered species and can no longer be used. Iron Mountain Armory offers the options of owl (Natural or Dyed), turkey or goose feathers. All humanly collected.
The arrow length is determent by the warrior’s draw and the feather length is determined by the arrow’s length. To determine your arrow’s length, measure from the center of the throat to the tip of the middle finger of the outstretched left arm plus three fingers widths (~5cm). Please note shaft length option is without arrowhead. Please reference the arrow head length in the bottom right corner of the picture or select the length of your arrow head using the Advanced Arrow Options. We will be happy to craft your ya and yajiri to your personal needs.
The yajiri or yanone (Japanese arrowhead) come in many different shapes, sizes and designs. All meant for different purposes and the details and names can get quite confusing. (For more details for any of our products, please review the references located at the bottom of each product page.) Most yanone have names given in relation to their function or shapes. These include such names as: Dragon’s Tongue, Fish head, Crab’s Claw, Rope Cutter, Bamboo Leaf, Boars Head, Flesh Terror, Chisel, Whistle, and Barbed, just to name a few. In general there are 6 common styles of yanone which we offer.
- Togari-Ya (Pointed), like a small yari (spear), these arrowheads were mainly used for war, specifically for piercing armor. This arrowhead would be in the quiver of every samurai.
- Watakushi (Flesh Terror / Barbed) are more ornamental in design and are used in both combat and ceremonies, often used by samurai of higher rank. These arrowheads are less capable of penetrating armor but more capable of inflicting terrible wounds. They vary in length, from 1 to 8 inches and could have “saw-cut” patterns, the most common being Inome (boar’s eye).
- Yanagi-Ba (Willow Leaf) can be simple or elaborate with “saw-cut” shapes or designs, such as Sakura (cherry blossom), Inome (heart shape or boars eye), Mon patterns (family crests), dragons and other geometrical patterns. These were typically more ornamental, used in ceremonies and given as gifts or offerings to temples. These arrowheads usually have a mei (signature) on below the blade or on the tang.
- Karimata (“Rope Cutter” / Bifurcated / Two Pointed) are quite unique in design and used for both battle and hunting. They were made in many shapes and sizes. Commonly referred to as “rope cutters”, used to cut the sales from enemy ships, it is debatable if they were ever used in that effect. In combat they were likely used to disable the legs of horses. For hunting they were used to decapitate the heads of birds.
- Tagone-Ya (Chisel) was shaped like a chisel. It’s main purpose was for use in siege and just causing massive amounts of collateral damage. It is said that it can easily slice into the kabuto (helmet) of a samurai.
- Kaburi-Ya (Whistling Arrow) is another unique design used in both combat and hunting. Carved from wood, horn or bone in the shape of a turnip with “flutes” carved into them. The purpose of this arrow-head is to make a whistling sound for either signaling troops, striking fear into the enemy (hundreds fired at once) or making a waterfowl to freeze while the arrow (topped with a karimata) decapitates its head.
If you would like something more custom, please email us with your design request for a custom quote.
Keeping with traditional arrow crafting, Iron Mountain Armory uses a special hand selected bamboo, harvested in season at about 32 months old. The bamboo goes through a traditional process of cleaning, shaping, drying, fire hardening and lacquering to create a very durable bamboo shaft. The yajiri (arrowhead) are traditionally hand forged, optional folded, hand hammered into shape and clay temper hardened. The “self-nock” and yajiri (arrowhead) and hante (feathers) are both reinforced with strong silk thread and hemp cords, which are secured with traditional glue made from yak bone and then lacquered to protect it from the elements. The finished product is an authentic, modern reproduction of a samurai arrow. (see video linked below).
We offer many options to accommodate the needs of all of our clients. If you need a custom crafted yajiri (traditional Japanese arrow-head) or ya (traditional samurai arrow) or have any questions about the items, options or details, please Contact Us via our online form or by clicking the “Contact Detail” box in the top right hand corner of this page to reveal our phone number and email address.
- Traditional Design & Handcrafting
- Traditional Materials
- Fully Functional
- Many Custom Options
Our traditional ya and yajiri are both handcrafted at the time of your order by Iron Mountain Armory. Please allow at least 2 to 3 months for crafting. Please note that these are fully functional arrows with bird feathers. It is clients responsibility to check all local and government laws before ordering. Iron Mountain Armory takes no responsibilities for any custom, legal or other issues with the purchase or use of this product. All items are handmade from natural materials and may vary in size, look and other details.
|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.|
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“Japanese Arms & Armor”, by H. Russel Robinson, plates IX, XXVII, XXVIII, 107,108,109, Crown Publishers, 1969
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“Arms & Armour of Old Japan“, by B. W. Robinson, plate 23, Victoria & Albert Museum, 1951, 1977, ISBN 0-11-290074-7
“YaNoNe Arrowheads“, by Robert Benson, Bushido, Vol. 2 No. 1pp, July 1980, pp5-10
“Japanese Crafts, Materials and their Applications“, Edited by B. Hickman, Reprints from the Japan Society London, pp169-219
“Arms and Armor of the Samurai, The history of weaponry in Ancient Japan“, by I Bottomley & A P Hopson, pp26-28, Saturn Books Ltd., 1996, ISBN 0-517-10318-4
“Dictionary of Japanese Fighting Armory“, by Yoshihiko Sasama, pp12-87, 1999, ISBN 4-7601-1705-9