Language: Ainu
Source: John Batchelor; An Ainu-English-Japanese dictionary. 1905


Kuttom-ushbe appears in John Batchelor's 1905 Ainu dictionary as:

"A long knife worn in the belt"

The typical knife carried by virtually all Ainu was the makiri, a small utility knife that was won suspended from the belt, attached by means of a string and toggle.

The extant Ainu weapons that fit Batchelor's description bear resemblance to the Japanese tantō, including having a loop on the scabbard that the Japanese call kurigata. It is used for attaching the sageo, a strap that in turn attaches the scabbard to the belt, so it doesn't come along during a quick draw.



An Ainu kuttom-ushbe.
Mandarin Mansion inventory 2022.


A larger, o-tantō sized piece is in the Minneapolis Institute of Art. It has an associated sword sash that I think came from a full-sized Ainu sword. This piece was likely also meant to be carried in a belt, as suggested by the presence of a kurigata like on our piece. Accession number: 2019.20.11a, b.

Do you have anything for sale?

I might be interested in buying it.

Contact me

A peculiar type of knife worn in the north of Nias.


Its scabbard with 12 pockets, with 10 of the items remaining.


Broad bladed example with horn hilt and engraved blade.


Blade marked with VOC Amsterdam monogram, and the year 1769.


With Dutch VOC blade, marked with the Amsterdam monogram.


A robust and heavy example, crafted with care.