The Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force still uses the stable belt; although, only with its physical fitness uniform (which looks very much like a Victorian-era German stable dress). This PT uniform looks unchanged from the 1930s physical fitness uniform and comprises canvas trousers (with web waist ties), "nehru collar" jacket, and stable belt. The regular soldier wears an all white belt, an instructor has two horizontal stripes (top and bottom edges), and a senior instructor wears three stripes. Oh, and buckles to the rear.

This uniform, still in use when I was a guest instructor at the JSDF Intelligence School in 1991, is also worn by the All Japan Jukendo (bayonet) Federation members (though, many wear kendo uniforms to deemphasize the "military" aspect of BAYONET fencing ..... go figure!)

I have my instructor's belt (Toyama Ryu Swordsmanship), as well as a belt from the 1880s (if I were to hazard a guess). The latter belt is about 5 inches wide, has two diagonal support bars in the rear, and has three straps & buckles (with fleur-de-lis stamp on each); it will fit a waist of about 25 inches! The depot seals in black ink are almost invisible to the naked eye and do not photograph. Since 1868 the Japanese military has been trained by British, German, and French military missions; this stable belt of mine might be French.


Belt measurements are 90cm x 8 cm (appx 35.4” x 3”)


Belt measurements are 95cm x 8cm (37.4” x 3”).
The numbers “51.11.13” refer to the 51st year of Showa (Nov 13 1976
— when this particular person received his Kyoshi license)

With thanks to Guy H. Power

These Belts are modified Self-Defense Force “exercise belts” used in a sword art called “Toyama Ryu Battodo” (based on the military sword drills of 1926~ 1945). These belts were modified by having a leather frog attached in which the sword scabbard was secured; also, a small tab is on the right side and is used to secure the scabbard-retention cord (called “sage-o”). Two stripes identify a certified teacher (renshi license); three stripes for a professor (kyoshi license); and four stripes for a master-teacher (hanshi license). The Japanese Self Defense Force uses red stripes as does the All Japan Bayonet-fencing Federation (Zen Nippon Jukendo Renmei); the blue stripe is not a military-use color.

Back to Previous Page

Back to Home Page

Home Page