Kubaton vs. Kubotan | Is Kubotan or Kubaton the Proper Spelling?

Man holding pointed Kubaton in Ice-pick self-defense grip

What's the correct spelling? Is it Kubaton, Kubotan, or even Kubutan?

It seems there is some debate and confusion over whether the handheld stick used for self-defense is called a "Kubaton" or a "Kubotan", or in some rare cases a "Kubutan".

As I'm writing this article, the free spelling checker has already red-underlined the words "Kubotan" and "Kubutan" indicating that they are spelled incorrectly and thus not proper words in the dictionary.

However, the free spelling checker has been wrong before, and there is actually more nuance to this discussion than just one correctly-spelled right answer.

The Short Answer

The short answer is both Kubaton and Kubotan are correct spellings of the small, handheld self-defense tool.

In today's world, Kubaton and Kubotan can be used interchangeably and their meanings overlap with only subtle differences in how they are used and understood.

Kubutan unfortunately does not have any real-life references and is thus not a proper spelling of this product.

Pointed Kubaton Set of 9 in Beautiful Pastel Rainbow Colors

Origin of the Word

The small handheld stick that has gained tremendous popularity over the past several years as an effective and convenient self-defense tool, was created by a Japanese man named Takayuki Kubota.

As the inventor, he decided to name it after himself and thus we have the original name for this type of object as the "Kubotan" by simply adding an "n" to the end of his last name.

This original "Kubotan" was a very specific object, and was a registered trademarked name based on the original design of the object.

So "Kubaton" is the original spelling of the object, and in today's world it refers specifically to the original design of this object, and can also be generally applied to all similar types of handheld self-defense sticks.

General Handheld Self-Defense Sticks

Nowadays if you wanted to refer to a general handheld self-defense stick product, the most accurate and appropriate term would be "Kubaton" and not the original term based on the inventor's name "Kubotan".

Using Kubotan to describe a generic handheld stick wouldn't be wrong, but the more precise term would be Kubaton.

Handheld self-defense sticks have evolved from the original Kubotan to include advanced striking properties, new functionalities, and enhanced aesthetic components. While still maintaining their basic identity as a compact handheld self-defense stick, Kubatons today are diverse, multi-functional, and even fashionable.

Kubatons with Side Spikes in 5 base Colors

Kubatons and Batons

The term "Kubaton" which refers to a generic handheld self-defense stick, is actually a derivative of both the original handheld self-defense stick, a "Kubotan", and the traditional longer law-enforcement tool, the "Baton"

When combined, it makes sense that the "Kubotan" and "Baton" would make a "Kubaton" which carries many elements of both of its predecessors.

What are the differences between Kubotan and Kubaton?

Both terms can be used somewhat interchangeably and can refer to similar self-defense tools, but for greater clarification we've created this table to sort of some differences:

Kubotan Kubaton
Size Typically 5.5 Inches Can be any size ranging from 4-8 inches and sometimes longer
Shape Cylinder Cylinder


Finger Grooves

Finger Grooves, Textured Grips, Side Spikes



Metal or hard plastic

Striking Features

Typically a blunt end for striking

Blunt Ends, Sharp Points, Side Spikes, 

Other Defensive Functionalities


Hidden Knives, Glass Breaking, Flashlights, Whistles

Aesthetic Properties


Different colors, finishes, and textures

Can Be Used for Striking?



Can Be Used for Pressure Point and Joint-Manipulation?




Previously yes, but the trademark wasn't renewed and is now cancelled



Kubaton vs. Kubotan Conclusion

Kubaton and Kubotan are both acceptable spellings for a small, handheld self-defense stick. Kubotan is a trademarked term that refers to a specific design and form of the stick, but can be also used to refer to more generic versions of the product. Kubaton is the best term to categorize any small, handheld self-defense stick and is the more popularized version of the word today.

Irrespective of which word being used, the product and the intention behind it is generally the same. We are seeking a self-defense stick that is easy to use, convenient, and can help keep us safe in this unpredictable world.

Shop the largest collection of Kubatons online at our store today!

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