Teachers Expel School Intruder with Two-Pronged 'Man-Catcher'
Teachers at an elementary school in Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture, were recently confronted with a situation that could have ended very badly, both for themselves and the school's students.
It seems a 62-year-old man carrying a kitchen knife had walked into the school and, when asked his business by school staff, replied “I came here to threaten the children.”
With no time to call local police, ninjas or Batman, the teachers resorted to the Japanese school system's little-known yet always at the ready anti-intruder device: release the Sasumata!
Based on a traditional weapon of war used in medieval Japan and Europe, the Sasumata is basically a long pole ending in a pair of widely spaced prongs.
Even without its more warlike attributes (a central pointed spike and barbs along the shaft to dissuade grabbing), today's variation of the Sasumata is remarkably effective in immobilizing evildoers armed with non-ballistic weapons... which in Japan, means just about all of them.
According to a report at Spluch, “In Japan, these things are all over schools, usually hanging on the wall or leaning in a corner.” Proper use of the Sasumata both protects the restrainer and the restrainee from undue injury until professional security forces arrive on the scene.
Indeed, the principal of the Ichinomiya school (right, with Sasumata) later told police that the teachers, his staff and himself had regularly practiced using the school's several Sasumata (referred to by some sources as "man-catchers") in training drills.
“Our preparations really paid off in this instance,” stated the principal, and police confirmed that neither the students, the school staff nor the intruder were injured in the incident.