The Ninja: a picture of stealth and strategy- one of the most effective military forces in history! The Shinobi was aided by many ingenious and creative tools to help him reach his goal. Let’s look at some of the most unique ninja tools and their many uses:
While katakanas, bows, arrows, and spears were all utilized by ninjas, let’s talk about a weapon entirely unique to the shinobi.
Throwing stars (“shuriken”) are four-point stars that could be easily hidden inside of clothing. They were great for distraction during an escape, use as a small knife for cutting things and prying open doors, being dipped in poison and thrown at an enemy and so much more!
Fire Tools and Skills
The Bansenshukai (Book of Ninja) says: “Attack by fire is an inferior tactic. However, if it cannot be helped, it should be used.”
A very basic skill of Nin-jutsu is using fire tools. When needed, a ninja can reduce things to ash in one fell swoop. These skills are also useful for signaling allies, creating rain proof torches, and much more.
The recipe for a rain proof torch, found in the Bansenshukai, includes many interesting things like sulfur, cloth made from banana tree fiber, saltpeter, mouse droppings, Japanese nutmeg, powdered green tea, oil and 8 more ingredients!
A Uchikagi grappling hook is made of four separate tempered iron hooks combined by a hemp rope and threaded through rings on the bottom. The Book of Ninja mentions a rope that is only 4 ½ meters (around 15 feet) long. However, a ninja would use whatever length of rope is appropriate for the job.
The Incredible Kunai
The kunai was a super useful tool! It could be used as a knife, a trowel and even a lock prying tool. Attached to a long pole, it becomes a spear. It could also act as a climbing tool or throwing weapon. Truly, the Tensho Era swiss army knife!
Door Opening Tools:
Two of the many useful door opening tools from the book of ninja include:
The toihazushi probing tool is basically a small sickle with a blade at one end and a square at the other. It could be used for feeling where the locking bars and latches are in a door and removing the locking bars.
The hamagari angled saw is four sections of metal connected by hinges. The first two segments contain a straight blade on the inside edge and a serrated blade on the outside. It can be used as a key on some locks, to remove locks and even as a right angle for measuring.
This has been a drop in the bucket in a sea of ninja tools! Many of these inventions were made from tools and farm equipment that the shinobi had around them. We can all learn from the ingenuity of the ninja that something awesome can be made from the most mundane, everyday things!