Kacchu (armor) is equipment for war which soldiers wore in battle. ‘Kacchu’ is also a generic name for armor (yoroi) that protects the body and helmet (kabuto) that protects the head. Although its origin has not been fully revealed, the history of kacchu is very old and is said to have been popularized during the Kofun Period, in the 3rd through 7th centuries. Kacchu was worn by samurai to protect themselves over several historical eras such as the Kamakura, Heian, and Sengoku periods, so we can see that the armor changed depending on how the warfare tactics changed. During the politically stable Edo Period, ornately decorated kacchu was fabricated. This time we visited a kacchu workshop that uses inherited traditional techniques and has a desire to pass on the fervent spirits of the samurai who created Japan.
Yoroi Kabuto Kacchu Kobo (Armor Workshop), Marutake Sangyo Co.,Ltd ｜ 2015.12.18
A visit to Marutake Sangyo that produces Kacchu in Satsumasendai City, Kagoshima Prefecture.
Satsumasendai City is located in the northwestern part of Kagoshima Prefecture. Marutake Sangyo was founded here in 1958. The current representative, Mr. Kenichi Tanoue, is the the company's second generation. When Kenichi's father and current chairman Mr. Shinobu Tanoue founded the company, they produced and sold fishing rods made from bamboo, a local specialty of the Kagoshima area. However, Shinobu had been interested in antiques since childhood. So as a hobby, he began to make antique imitation items from things he saw while visiting antique shops. He drew pictures of things he saw so that he wouldn’t forget them, then made the items himself based on the pictures. Kacchu was one of the items. Shinobu used to refurbish old, broken armor for display but not for sale and as people began to inquire about buying these items, he began to attract attention.