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Traditional Craftmen in Minato City

Naoaki Iduka

Kendo-gu (Protective equipment for Kendo) Iduka Naoaki

This craftsman’s technique communicates the traditions of Japan.

Kendo-gu (protective equipment for kendo) was first produced in the latter half of the MuromachiPeriod. It became popular among samurai in the latter half of the Edo Period when the bamboo swords were similar to those of today. By the end of the EdoPeriod, the length of bamboo swords was standardized and the protective equipment for kendo has remained unchanged since the Meiji Period.

Process to make a face protector for kendo

  1. First step for mask frame
    Coil the straw around the frame for the metal mask (mostly made of titanium) to absorb sweat and then cover the straw with cotton cloth.
  2. Prepare the cushion
    Prepare the cushion for the face protector by putting layers of knitted woolen cloth and indigo cotton cloth above and below the cotton padding. Stitch them together along the stripes drawn 3 to 5 mm apart on the indigo cloth. Adjust the cushion by pulling on the threads to meet the needs of the user.
  3. Stitch other parts to the cushion
    Stitch the ear protectors and ornamental plaited cord in the shape of clouds to the cushion.
  4. Second step for mask frame
    Attach double throat protectors to the bottom of the mask frame, triangular padding to protect the forehead and chin inside the frame and the padding to protect the whole face along the inner side of mask frame. Stitch a piece of raw buffalo hide to be connected with the cushion along the frame.
  5. Connect the cushion and the mask
    Connect the cushion with the frame using a string made of buffalo hide.
  6. Attach the mask fastening cords
    Pass a pair of fastening cords through small pieces of hide attached to the lower part of both sides of the mask.
  7. Note:
    Along with the mask, protective equipment for kendo includes a trunk protector, mittens and ornamental flaps to protect the waist (the fabrication processes are omitted due to limited space for text)

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