Ninja Weapons



The aikuchi is very similiar to the tanto except it has no hand guard.  The aikuchi could sometimes be thrown.


The blowgun was usually made from a bamboo piece usually about twenty to forty inches long.  In emergencies, a rolled up piece of paper could be used as a temporary blowgun.  The blowgun was favoured by the ninja mainly because it was silent and the ninja did not have to reveal his whereabouts´s to use it.  Blowgun darts (fukiya) were made from wires and paper.  The paper was rolled in the

shape of a cone.  The dart tips could be coated with a poison.  At times for close quarter combat, blinding powder could be substituted for fukiya.  The blowgun could be used to attack an enemy, create a small noise and distraction, or even pass secret messages to fellow clan members.   The blowgun itself could be used as a weapon in time of need.

These needles (about two inches long) were carried in the mouths of the ninja.  This dangerous needle was spit into the enemies face by curling the tongue to form a tube shape.  Other ways of spitting the needles consisted of concealing a small piece bamboo in the mouth used to shoot out as many as twelve needles at a time.  Usually used as a diversion before drawing the sword for a finish.


This favourite weapon of the Kunoichi (female ninja) was a small skinny dirk.  The kaiken could easily be concealed in one's garment or sleeve.


KakuteThe Kakute or "horn finger" is a metal ring that has two metal spikes attached.  The kakute was worn usually on the middle finger.  This sometimes tipped with poison weapon could be worn on either the inside or the outside of the hand.  The Kakute was favoured by the kunoichi (female ninja).  Deceiving enemies with this innocent looking weapon, then attacking at the least expected moment.


KamaThe kama or sickle was a farming tool used to cut grass helping moving and reaping a farmers crop.  It was also used for other chores such as cutting wood and digging.  The kama of old was of light construction to the farmers liking because they would spend hours farming.  Later the kama was developed into an effective martial tool, able to withstand heavy blows from enemy attacks.  Handles were often wrapped with a cord to give them extra grip.  The kama, like most weapons, is an extension of the hand and can be performed more effectively with the knowledge of basic taijutsu.


A Samurai specialty, the katana was used by the ninja too, mainly due to the fact of its ease of retainability.  The katana was among the ninja´s worst enemy weapons to defend against.  Ninjas without a ninja-to could usually be found with a past enemies katana.  The katana was more widely used even to the ninja, beyond popular belief.  The katana was long and had a curved blade unlike the ninja-to.


KunaiThe kunai served several purposes, primarily as a utility knife.  The kunai tip was sharp with very dull edges.  It measured from seven to sixteen inches in length.  The kunai originated during the Tensho Era (1573-1591).  The kunai was often tied to the end of a rope fo further its uses  The kunai was used to help climb trees and walls, and throw while tied to a small cord or knot.  The kunai´s main purpose was for probing, digging, and chiseling.


KusariThe ninja at times also carried a long piece of chain usually two to three feet in length, with two weights at each end.  It was concealed from sight for the first strike, it could be swung or thrown to entangle.


KusarigamaThis long range blade and chain weapon is another favourite of the ninja.  The chain could be used to entangle and pull in the enemy to finish with the blade.  Some kusarigama had hand guards attached to the lower handle for finger and hand protection.  The kusarigama was a single edge blade mounted to a wooden handle, a chain of nine to twelve feet was affixed at the end.  A iron weight was attached to the end of the chain.  On some kusarigama the chain is attached to the bottom end of the handle while others it is attached to where the handle meets the blade.  The blade could be used to thrust, slash, chop, and swing.  The handle could deflect strike and block.  The chain could strangle, ensnare, whip, and aid in trap making.  The weight served as a frail or missile.



ShogeThe one weapon that resembled the kusarigama yet was made and used in an earlier time than the kusarigama.  It was made up of a hook knife with a long cord approximately twelve feet that was attached to the end.  At the end of the cord was an iron ring about four inches in diameter.  The knife could be swung at or used as a finish after entangling with the cord.  The cord was used to ensnare, entangle, used like a garrote, aid in trap making, and in the use of hojo-jutsu.  The ring could be swung into trees or over roof beams to aid in climbing, it could also be used like the tekken in combat.


This Japanese halberd was often used by sohei (priest soldiers).  Yet still an excellent weapon for the ninja in battle.  The naginata could produce a six inch laceration in trained hands.


NekoteThese small devices were worn around the ends of the fingers.  Their metal hooks could be used to slash at the enemy.  The tips were smeared with poison.



NinjatoThe sword carried by the ninja was the ninja-to or sometimes called the shinobigatana.  Like most ninja weapons the ninja-to had a multitude of uses.  The Ninja-To was shorter than the katana, it could be worn across the back to enable the ninja to climb without sword interference.  The cord (sageo) was attached to the scabbard (saya) about 12 feet in length.  The handguard (tsuba) unlike the katana, was square and larger.  The ninja-to could be laid against a wall to be used as a step to climb, the sword could then be pulled up by the sageo.

The ninja would carry metsubishi (blinding powder) at the bottom of his scabbard to throw into the enemies eyes while drawing his sword.  the scabbard could also be used as a blowgun or snorkel.  The scabbard often served as a secondary weapon in time of need.


This throwing weapon was actually a concoction used to blind the enemy.  The powder consisted of sand, peppers, metal shavings, certain plants, and even ground up seeds.  The ninja carried this blinding powder in egg shells, paper sacks, and other containers.  Metsubishi could be used in blowguns and at the bottom of their saya (scabbard).  The metsubishi was used to throw, mix in with torinoko explosives, placed on things the enemy would touch, and blown out of pipes.


The shinobi-zue was a staff with hidden blades or chains concealed in its shaft.  It was used when ninja´s went in disguise as a wandering monk.  The shinobi-zue was an excellent surprise weapon.  Chains could be withdrawn and used to entangle while the staff could finish.  Ninja could also surprise a victim with a sudden release of a sharp blade.


ShoboThe Shobo "short stick" was concealed in the hand and used in close quarter combat.  The shobo could strike such areas as the bridge of the nose, groin, back of the neck, or even to slap across the enemies face.  The shobo usually had a metal or leather loop attached to slip a finger through.

Ninja shuriken or shaken were hand released blades thrown at the enemy for distraction purposes.  Sometimes the blades were poisoned to cause death.  The shuriken was used to hit the enemy then bounce away unseen.  This gave an almost magical effect for the ninja. The ninja shuriken was among the favourite tools of the ninja.  Though mostly thrown the shuriken could be used as a hand weapon for in close combat.  The shuriken would penetrate skin up to one half inch.  This behind the hand knife could easily be concealed about the person or environment.   The shuriken were carried in a variety of ways all utilizing concealment and surprise.  There are a number of different types of shuriken, among the most popular are the manji (swastika), hara (flat), sanpo (triangle), juji (cross), happo (star), tatamijuji (folding cross), and the bo (straight).  The shuriken was thrown in thre basic ways, one from the front (omote), two from the side (yoko), and the third from behind (ayaku).  These three ways did not limit the ninja´s capabilities in any way however.


TantoThe tanto "half blade" of the ninja differed slightly ffrom the shinobi tanto.  The shinobi tanto would range in surprises, such as disguised pistols so the enemy would watch the ninja draw his tanto yet actually he would be firing a single shot.  The shinobi tanto was sometimes equipped with a metal saya (scabbard) which was used as a weapon itself.   The tanto was carried inside the ninja´s shinobi shozuko (uniform) held firmly by his obi (belt) or sash.


ShukoThis item worn on the hands was made of metal and tightened at the wrist.  One kind was worn on the palm of the hand and one on the back of the hand, four sharp spikes protruded from this metal band.  The claws could be used in close quarter combat to tear like that of a ferocious tiger or bear.  The tekagi could also be used to aid in climbing walls and trees.


TekkenSimilar to brass knuckles the tekken was a curved piece of metal worn around the wrist like a bracelet.  When it came time to use, the tekken was slipped into the hand to form a fist.  This gave the ninja a bone breaking ability to any strike.


TessenThe tessen or iron fan was a ninja weapon less famous than other weapons such as the shuriken.  The fan however was a very good weapon and tool.  Closed, it could make a harmful weapon as a small club, and opened it could deflect projected missiles, the iron fan often had sharpened points.  The fan was good when the ninja was in disguise and couldn´t carry a sword or staff.  The kunoichi included a fan in their arsenal but that weapon is termed sensu and was not made of iron like the tessen.

These spiked caltrops were excellent aides when it came to evasion and escape.  These were scattered on the ground for the enemy to step on and slow or stop his pursuit.  If the ninja had jumped from a higher plane, he would sprinkle tetsubishi where he landed so that enemy would have no choice but to fall on them if he followed.  Tetsubishi could also be placed on or along parts of walls and trees.  They could be thrown in the enemy face as a distraction or tied to hidden traps.  Tetsubishi were made of metal and from certain natural resources.  Due to the construction of the tetsubishi, when thrown one point would always stick up.  The tips of the Tetsubishi were poisoned for a more serious effect.


TorinawaThe torinawa is an arresting rope used in hojo-jutsu rope techniques.  The torinawa was used to tie up enemies and to simulate a garrote.  The torinawa could be used for a hojo-jutsu techniques that caused the enemies to die if he tried to escape from his binds by tightening a loop around his neck.  The torinawa was carried at an easy to reach place.


TsubuteTsubute were flat metal disks that were used by the ninja in a similiar fashion to the shuriken.  Thrown at an opponent these metal disks could stun or even cause serious damage when hitting specific targets.  Tsubute were worn on a breakable cord on the neck to carry multiples at a time The shaken were also sometimes carried in this manner.


WakizashiThe wakizashi was the samurai´s companion sword.  Smaller than the katana and the ninja-to.  The wakizashi was a short with a quick draw and easy manoeuvrability in  small spaces such as hallways or small rooms. The ninja liked the wakizashi because of its ease of carrying on a mission, due to its size the ninja could stealth his way about without a lot of trouble from his sword.


One of the major weapons used in battle was the yari (spear).  It was mainly used for poking, thrusting and stabbing.  The yari was most utilized in the Momochi Era (1394-1595).  The yari´s main target area was the abdomen.  The ninja would practice on rice sacks and iron rings.