Signal arrow

Signal arrow

Kabura-ya (鏑矢), also called kōshi (嚆矢), were Japanese arrows which whistled when fired and were used in ritual archery exchanges prior to formal medieval battles. The sound was created by a specially carved or perforated bulb of deer horn or wood attached to the tip. In English, these are often called "whistling-bulb arrows", "messenger arrows", or "signal arrows." "Kabura" literally translates to "turnip", and thus the Japanese term technically means "turnip-shaped arrows." The Chinese "mingdi" was quite similar.

In battle, particularly around the time of the Heian period, "kabura-ya" would be fired before a battle, to alert the enemy. The whistling sound was also believed to chase away evil spirits, and to alert friendly "kami" to lend their support. It was not uncommon for archery exchanges to be performed for quite some time, and in the 1183 battle of Kurikara, for example, fifteen arrows were fired by each side, then thirty, then fifty, then one hundred, before these hundred samurai on each side actually engaged one another in battle. [Turnbull, Stephen (1987). 'Battles of the Samurai'. London: Arms and Armour Press.] It was also not uncommon for messages to be tied to these arrows, which could be fired into fortresses, battle camps or the like. This practice of the formal archery exchange likely died out gradually following the end of the Heian period, as war became less and less ritualized.

The arrows would also be sold at Shintō shrines as good luck charms, particularly around New Year's Day; simply carrying a "kabura-ya" is meant serve as a ward against evil spirits.


*Frederic, Louis (2002). "Japan Encyclopedia." Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

ee also


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Arrow Cross Party — Hungarist Movement Nyilaskeresztes Párt – Hungarista Mozgalom Leader Ferenc Szálasi 1935–1945 (executed for war crimes) …   Wikipedia

  • Signal Hill, Newfoundland and Labrador — Signal Hill is a hill which overlooks the city of St. John s, Newfoundland and Labrador.Because of its strategic placement overlooking the harbour, fortifications have been placed on the hill since the mid 1600s. HistoryThe final battle of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Signal (économie) —  Ne doit pas être confondu avec traitement du signal. En économie un signal est une information donnée par un émetteur qui aide le récepteur à prendre une décision. Il est donc nécessaire dans des jeux de principal–agent afin que l agent se… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • signal light warning light — A light on the instrument panel which flashes when the signal lights are operating. Usually this light is in the shape of a green arrow. On some cars, like Cadillac, a secondary light is mounted in a pod on the upper edge of each front fender and …   Dictionary of automotive terms

  • arrow — n 1. feathered shaft, shaft, reed, flight, bolt, crossbow bolt, quarrel, Astron.Sagitta, dart, (pi.) quiver; missile, weapon. 2. pointer, indicator, directional signal, director, marker …   A Note on the Style of the synonym finder

  • CF-105 Arrow — Infobox Aircraft name= CF 105 Arrow type= Interceptor manufacturer= Avro Aircraft Limited (Canada) caption= Photo from the Canadian Department of National Defence designer= first flight= 25 March 1958 introduction= retired= status= Cancelled 20… …   Wikipedia

  • Fire Arrow — For the Plymouth automobile, see Plymouth Fire Arrow. Hwacha that launches singijeons, a variation of the fire arrow The Fire Arrow is a projectile weapon that uses black powder. The earliest reference to its use comes in the Collection of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Green Arrow — For the second Green Arrow, see Green Arrow (Connor Hawke). For the steam locomotive, see LNER Class V2 4771 Green Arrow. Green Arrow Cover to Green Arrow (vol. 2) #60 (May 2006). Art by Scott McDaniel …   Wikipedia

  • Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow — CF 105 Arrow Photo from the Canadian Department of National Defence Role Interceptor …   Wikipedia

  • Green Arrow — Fans im Green Arrow I (links) und Red Arrow Kostüm (rechts) beim Cosplay (2008) Green Arrow (im deutschsprachigen Raum früher auch Grüner Pfeil) gehört zu den Superhelden aus dem DC Universum. Erdacht wurde er von Autor Mort Weisinger und… …   Deutsch Wikipedia