A saihai (采配) was a baton carried by samurai commanders in feudal Japan. The saihai or sai-hai was a sign of rank and a signal device.[1][2]

Appearance and use

A saihai usually consisted of a lacquered wood stick with metal ends. The butt had a hole for a cord for the saihai to be hung from the armor of the samurai when not being used. The head of the saihai had a hole with a cord attached to a tassel of strips of lacquered paper, leather, cloth or yak hair.[3][4] The saihai first came into use during the 1570s and the 1590s between the Genki and Tensho year periods. Large troop movements and improved and varied tactics required commanders in the rear to be able to signal their troops during a battle.[5]


  1. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-02-05. Retrieved 2010-11-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. Secrets of the samurai: a survey of the martial arts of feudal Japan By Oscar Ratti, Adele Westbrook p.225
  3. Samurai armies, 1550-1615 By Stephen R. Turnbull, Richard Hook p.12-p.13
  4. A Glossary of the Construction,Decoration and Use of Arms and Armor in all countries and in all times by George Cameron Stone page 61
  5. Russo-Japanese war, Volume 3 A.T.Mahan Publisher Kinkodo pub. co., 1905 p.911
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