The spies of Feudal Japan, the Shinobi or Ninja, have their own collection of Ninja weapons. These warriors have mastered the skill of Ninjutsu – a classic Japanese art of stealth. The Shinobi uses this with a variety of Ninja weapons.
Ninjutsu allowed the Shinobi to sneak and execute swift movements. These were vital to complete their missions. It was also important for those involved in spying.
In Japanese, the Shinobi translates to an individual who moves in silence. Their functions usually include sabotage, infiltration, espionage, assassination, and more.
The Shinobi were different from the Samurai who followed a Bushido code. They followed their own code which was the Ninpo, and often, would work alone on their missions.
According to Ninjutsu researchers, killing an enemy was not the target of a Shinobi. They focused more on spying but also had means to defend themselves. The Shinobi had to be ready at all times, and they depended on deadly Ninja weapons at their arsenal.
The Shinobi have a collection of unique weapons. Today, a lot of people consider these tools as cool and interesting. Hence, their popularity.
Some of the weapons of the Shinobi were simple tools used for farming. Then after, these evolved into tools that the Ninja used for their missions.
Here is a collection of Ninja weapons that these warriors utilized in the past:
According to the stories, the Ninjato is the primary sword used by the Shinobi. Its other names include the Ninjaken, or Shinobigatana. Research claims that these swords are the preferred weapon of the Shinobi. So, these were often utilized during Japan’s warring period.
These swords have straight blades with squarish guards. Its usual length was less than 60 centimeters. Other parts of the sword, like the Tsuba, were wide and thick. The reason was that the Shinobi had other uses for these.
The Shinobi did use certain swords for their missions, but the existence of it is still unclear. This is due to having no real physical evidence of the Ninjato sword itself. Plus, the only supposed surviving swords were all produced in the Edo period. All Ninjato swords utilized before this period are still missing.
The Shuriken is another popular and vital Ninja weapon. It is a thin star-shaped metallic piece with very sharp edges. Its main use is for throwing but is also useful as a little knife for slicing or slitting.
Even if it’s a very small weapon, it could kill an enemy if thrown at a certain point on the body. Yet aside from attacking, it was also used to distract the enemies during an escape.
The Shuriken was already considered as a dangerous Ninja weapon. But it could be deadlier if it had poisoned edges.
Variations of the Shuriken
The Shuriken had different variations and these were the Shiho and Bojo Shuriken.
The Shiho Shuriken features four sharpened points. Only the points’ tops are sharp to prevent the Ninja from injuring himself. The Bojo or spike Shuriken differs from the Shiho since it features a spike-like shape.
There are two different ways to throw the Bojo; the Jika Uchi and the Han Uchi. The Jika Uchi is a sharp throw towards the target, while the Han Uchi throws the Shuriken the other way around.
Another Ninja weapon is the Tetsu Bishi or the caltrops. These were little pointed weapons that helped slow down the enemy. Opponents who stepped on these got injured.
These were often made from iron. Though sometimes, these had poison inside to immediately kill an enemy.
The Kunai is a short dagger that has a lot of uses. It could be a blade itself, a throwing weapon, a climbing tool, or a prying tool. When attached to a pole, the Kunai could also function as a spear. This was useful to any wielder, especially the Shinobi.
The Kusarigama is another interesting weapon that the Shinobi wielded. It features a chain that connects a weight and a sickle. The chain is around 1 to 4 meters long.
When using the Kusarigama, the Ninja would throw the weight at the opponent’s weapon to drop this. The user could coil the chain’s weight around an opponent’s arm. After that, the wielder would deal a finishing blow using the sickle.
The Kusarigama allows its wielder to attack in a variety of ways, depending on his ability. Unlike the Shuriken, the Kusarigama was not a weapon that only the Shinobi used. In history, it was a weapon for self-defense for those who weren’t allowed to carry the sword of a Samurai. Farmers, merchants, and artisans used the Kusarigama.
The Manriki Gusari was a handheld weapon. Throwing, strangling, and whipping are some of its uses. It consists of a chain with a weight attached on each end.
It comes in a variety of sizes and shapes and there were no rules on its construction. The length of the forged chain could range from 30 to 120 centimeters.
The Kakute was a ring with a spike that is usually poisoned for puncturing and ripping one’s skin. This leaves the victim bleeding to death. The user wears this on the middle finger with the spike hidden in his hand.
The Ninja could wield the Kakute like knuckle dusters when the spike was facing out. This could be harmful especially when used on sensitive parts like the eyes and ears. If coated with poison, the Kakute can kill the opponent.
The term Metsubushi means “to crush one’s eyes”. It was sometimes referred to as Gantsubushi. It was the pepper spray used by the Shinobi.
The Metsubushi itself is not lethal but was very effective in blinding opponents. Once their target gets disoriented, a Shinobi would execute a killing blow.
The police used Metsubushi for blowing dust or powdered pepper into a suspect’s eyes. The powder was usually stored in lacquer or brass box that featured a wide mouthpiece for blowing. The other end featured a pipe or hole to direct the powder into a person’s eyes.
One type of Metsubushi had powder that consisted of ground pepper, ashes, flour, dirt, and mud. Sometimes, it had fine ground glass to make the damage severe. To store this, hollowed out eggs or Happo, bamboo tubes or other small containers are used.
The Kama was a small version of the scythe. It looked like the farming tools of its time and was easy to carry, making it easy to conceal and wield for the Shinobi. Before it became a weapon, farmers used the Kama to cut rice.
Using the Kama can either be in pairs or on its own. It is usually included in weapon training when practicing martial arts.
The Kai or the double Kai was a type of Kama with dull blades designed for Kata demonstration.
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