The truth of Ninja -Ninja Encyclopedia-

Ninja's Weapons and Tools   Entry List

Shuriken (Ninja Star)

Among the weapons that ninjas use, the most famous one must be the Shuriken (手裏剣 : Ninja Star) . Everyone has to have watched a scene where a ninja is throwing some star shaped piece of metal in the movies or in an anime or another piece of fiction. They are called shuriken in Japanese. Of the several kinds of shuriken, maybe the most typical kind is the Flat plate type. The shape of it is like an asteroid with four arms. But actually, there are no more than 40 to 50 types of shurikens. Ninjas u...

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Ninja Sword

Ninja swordSamurai SwordThe swords considered to be those used by ninjas are quite specific. Firstly, compared with those of samurais, they are straight and short. The length of the blade is about 540 mm. On the other hand, samurais swords have a curve on the blade for sharpness and the length of the blade is about 700 mm. It is believed that the reason why ninja’s swords have these characteristics is for various functions of use. The existence of ninjas swords during early times is unclear. Of ...

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Kusarigama

KusarigamaKusarigama is a weapon that has a sickle and a weight and looks very complex. They are connected with a chain. The length of the chain is about 1000-4000 mm. To use it, the weight was thrown at the enemy’s weapon to drop it or used to coil the weight around an arm or the enemy’s weapon with the chain. After that, a finishing blow was dealt with the sickle to the enemy. The methods of using Kusarigama are so varied that users can attack in any way using a combination of a sickle and a...

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Kunai

KunaiBasically for Ninjas, there is no determinate distinction between tools and weapons. Ninjas utilize everything around them or everything that they have with them both as tools and weapons.Kunai (苦無) is an implement which indicates such speciality of Ninjas. Kunai is the most famous weapon of Ninjas second only to Shuriken (手裏剣) . Kunai is made of steel and the shape is like a wedge. One end is a blade, across the grip, another side is a circle with a round hole. The length of Kunai is 100〜4...

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Makibishi

Ninja scattering MakibishiWe can find an interesting contrast between Ninja and Samurai here also. Now, I am talking about "escape". As a samurai is a kind of a soldier, deserting under enemy fire is the most shameful thing he could do. If found out by his officer, he would be executed. But in the case of ninja who is a kind of spy, to escape is one of the most important aspect of a mission. Because it would be in vain if he was captured even if he had succeeded in stealing important information...

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Tekko-Kagi

Tekko-Kagi for both handsNinja scratching an enemywith Tekko-KagiOne of the biggest differences between weapons of samurai and those of ninjas was that the former was made only for the purpose of killing a person, on the other hand, ninjas used many usual tools to fight with." Tekko-Kagi (手甲鉤) " was very much in this category of usual tools. By nature, the origin of Tekko-Kagi was as a farm implement. It is a kind of a sickle used for reaping weeds. The speciality of ninjas was that they were ab...

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Kakute

Ninja using a KakuteHave you ever had such an experience? When you were shaking hands with someone and he or she had a ring around his or her finger and you felt a little pain from the pressure. I want you to imagine that the ring had sharp corners. In such a case it could certainly be used as a weapon. Kakute (角手) is exactly such a type of a weapon which ninjas used. Kakute is a ring that has a few horns around the surface. Basically, ninjas did not like close combat but there were sometimes c...

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Manriki-Gusari

Manriki-gusari (万力鎖) is a one of the secret weapons of the ninja. The shape of manriki-gusari is quite simple. Weights are attached on both ends of the weapon and these weights are connected with a chain. The length of the chain is different depending on the ninja school it’s from. Generally they weigh between 300 to 400g.Basically, manriki-gusari is a self-defence weapon. It is so tiny that Ninjas can bring it in their pocket. They are used in a variety of ways. Firstly, when facing an opponen...

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Tekken

TekkenThe history of knuckle dusters is very long. If including individual brawls, the origin of boxing can be considered as old as that of human beings. Of course, the fist of a man is relatively fragile compared to that of a cast iron weapon that can be used time and time again. For that reason, men have used weapons attached to their hands as a substitution for fists for centuries. They are like "cestus", which ancient roman boxers wore on their hands or knuckle dusters that american ruffian...

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Needle(For Hits on Fatal Spots of Target...

The key characteristic of ninja weapons is that there is little difference between them and regular tools. This is true for both the shape and function. Ninjas utilize weapons and tools according to the circumstances they’re used in. There are some ninja weapons whose forms are like a needle. We are going to see them from such a view. In pre-modern Japan, women usually wore an ornamental hairpin called " a kanzashi ( かんざし ) " on their heads. The length of a kanzashi was about 160 mm, and the wei...

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Blowgun

It has been described in previous articles but is certainly worth elaborating more on the details as such information about ninjas and needles is not easy to find and is very important to understanding the ninja.First of all, the boss of Iga (伊賀) Ninjas was the Hattori (服部) - Family. In chinese, "服部" means a specialist of weaving. Supposedly, the Hattori ninja family were originally clothing craftspeople in China and they came to Japan in ancient times. It is said that Hattori used the art of ...

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Ninja firearms

The relationship between ninjas and fire is incredibly deep. The introduction of guns from the Western world to Japan was in 1543. A Chinese ship on which two Portuguese were aboard drifted ashore on Tanegashima-island (種子島). The Portuguese sold two guns to the lords of Tanegashima. Because incidentally this was during the Age of the Warring States period, guns spread all around Japan rapidly.But surprisingly, ninjas were well aware of gunpowder and bombs hundreds of years before that time. It i...

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Nigiri-Teppo(Handy Ninja Guns)

Nigiri-TeppoMatchlocks were introduced to Japan from the Western-World in 1543. After that, while independent of Europe the Japanese people invented a handgun for themselves. Further to this, ninjas created handy guns as secret weapons called " Nigiri-Teppo (握り鉄砲) ". Generally speaking, the construction of a gun is quite simple. In order to make a gun, there are two essential items needed, a barrel and an ignition device. It is OK as long as they are tough and functional.The form of the gun is n...

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The Secret Medicines of Ninjas

The flower of the aconite treeNinjas lived in the deep mountains, where various type of plants grow. Ninjas lived a life unified with nature and had a deep knowledge of vegetation. So, it is quite natural that Ninjas utilized many wild vegetation for their diet and medical treatment. Ninjas conducted peddling of medicine and went all around Japan. The main reason was to gather information about other countries. It can be said that Ninjas were well informed about medicine even as much as doctors....

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Shikomizue

ShikomizueI have described about "Shikomizue (仕込み杖) " as a Ninja's secret weapon in a previous entry but shikomizue has many other variations in look and use which I will elaborate on. Firstly, there was a hidden weapon named "Shikomitessen", its shape was that of a folding fan, "Tessen (鉄扇) " means a weapon camouflaged as a fan. There were two types of tessen. One with outer two ribs made of iron, and another with plates made from iron that are connected by a rope. Tessen were used mainly by mi...

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Nekode

A hand with Nekode on all fingersIn eastern Asia, small weapons were invented in ancient times that were called "Anki (暗器) " that weren’t just limited to ninjas. The definition of Anki was something small enough to be brought with a man for the purpose of self-defence or assassination. Anki were camouflaged to appear like a tool and not a weapon when glanced at. We often find such weapons in Chinese martial arts but there were much more Ankis used by ninjas than those fighters of kung‐fu. Nekode...

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Metsubushi

Needless to say, in a battle, if a man lost his sight, his fighting strength would be gone as he may be completely blind. For that reason, in almost all modern martial arts the any attack on the eyes of opponents is strictly prohibited. This is only the case in martial arts which have certain rules though. In the case of a ninja such regulations certainly did not apply, far from it, if anything, attacks on the eyes could be very effective for them. The fights that ninjas encountered were all fr...

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Shikoro

ShikoroAs explained many times before, for ninjas there is no clear distinction between weapons and tools. Ninjas use the same apparatus in different ways depending on the circumstances, sometimes it will be used as a weapon and at other times as a tool.I am going to describe about devices which were basically used only as tools. It goes without saying that in the Warring States period, the targets of ninjas in most cases were the lords of castles. Ninjas were security conscience to protect thei...

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Shinobi-Kumade

Ninjas climbing on a castle wallJapanese used to do things with their systematized methods and ways calling it “Jutsu (術) ". This was not only the case for ninja but all Japanese used to do this. In Japanese, ninjutus (忍術) means ninjas’ techniques. There were a lot of ninjutsu, one of them was " To-Jutsu (登術) " which teaches how to climb high” but of course any Japanese people did that as a part of their culture, and that’s where ninjutus is comes from.As explained before, ninjas were light, t...

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Kaginawa

KaginawaIt is said that Ninjas always had 6 tools with them on their missions that were called "Shinobi Rokugu (忍び六具) " . The tools used are categorized below. " Kaginawa (かぎ縄) " a climbing tool, " Inro (印籠) " a small box in which some medicine is put, " Sekihitsu (石筆) " a pen made of charcoal or clay, " Sanjaku Tenugui (三尺手ぬぐい) " a cotton towel with a length of 910mm, "Hidane (火種) " a kindling and " Amigasa (編み笠) " a braided straw hat.They were not specific equipment for ninjas, but rather casu...

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Mizugumo

MizugumoIn general, around Japanese castles many obstructions were prepared, the main one was the moat. In the Warring States period during a war, it was really hard for troops to raid the centre of a castle when there was a water moat around the castle. This fact applied not only to armies but also to individual agent provocateurs like ninjas because during the daytime, invaders were in full view from the center of the castle. Ninjas would die if sniped from inside but if ninjas could not get o...

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Hidane

" Hidane (火種) " is also one of the " shinobi-rokugu (忍び六具) " , which are the 6 necessities of ninjas like kaginawa. In Japanese, " Hi (火) " means fire, " Tane (種) " is "source" . As ninjas are a specialist of fire, firearms, and guns, they need burning fire anytime and anywhere. Sometimes it may be too late if ninjas make fire when needed. There are some ninja tools with the function of hidane. Here, I am going to introduce " Dobi (胴火) " .Dobi is one of the hidane, which is a wood pipe with a le...

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Yatate

Yatate and brush penAlthough " Yatate (矢立) " was only a pencil case for ninjas, yatate can be said to be the tool which embodied the identity of the ninja. It meant that yatate was often used as an equipment camouflaged by a gun, sword or blowgun. At a glance, the shape of yatate is really simple. It is a pipe with a length of about 300mm and on the top of the pipe, a small box is attached in which ink is put. In the pipe body, some writing brushes and chalk called " Sekihitsu (石筆) " are contain...

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Amigasa

A regular type of amigasaKomusos (虚無僧)with Amigasaon their headsAmigasa (編み笠) was also one of the 6 necessary articles of ninjas. Amigasa is a braided hat made of rushes, sedges and straw. Of course amigasa was not necessarily a tool only for ninjas, in Japan in those days, many travelers wore them on their heads as a way of shielding themselves from the sun. There are some reasons why ninjas used them regularly. Firstly, they wore them to provide the shade. The history of Amigasa is really deep...

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Kiki-Zutsu

During childhood, did you have an experience of playing with a string telephone? It was fun hearing the voice of the other person echoing in the paper cup. The sound that vibrates from the string is very low and in spite of this, the voice from the other person amplifies on a large scale. The principle of the equipment is that the soundwave from the string amplifies in the paper cup by means of resonating thousands of times in the narrow space. " Kiki-Zutsu (聞き筒) ", was a kind of bug used by nin...

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Goshiki-Mai

Goshiki-Mai (五色米)As described in a previous article, ninjas have some skills for transmitting important information to their comrades or lords. They are called " dentatsu-jutsu (伝達術) " . We are going to view only a part of dentasu-jutsu here. " Goshiki-Mai (五色米) " is one of the " dentatsu-jutsu (伝達術) ". In Japanese, " goshiki " means five colors and "Mai" means rice. Firstly, ninjas prepared five types of rice, which were painted with several colors. They were blue, yellow, red, black, and purpl...

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