One of the few things that popular culture has correct about the elusive ninjas as the fact that they often employed smoke bombs as a diversionary tactic.
Today let’s dive into how these smoke bombs were made and the various uses the ninjas had for these tools.
Many are often surprised to learn that the original ninjas utilized eggshells to house the components for their smoke bomb.
Early ninjas would take eggs and drill a hole in the top and the bottom to allow the egg yolk and contents to drain out. They would then allow the empty eggshell to dry out to achieve the proper level of rigidity.
They would then seal the bottom hole with wax, fill in the egg shell with combination of gunpowder and other ingredients that would increase the flash, increase the plume of the smoke, and ingredients that would potentially irritate the eyes of any opponents that were nearby.
Ninjas would then carefully pack the homemade smoke devices into their pouch to be used in case of emergency or an attack.
Smoke bombs could be utilized in a defensive fashion if a ninja was caught during a mission and needed a quick escape. If the samurai were closing in on them he could take a moment to throw the smoke bomb on the ground, eschewing the vision of the pursuers, while taking the moment to flee and perhaps even throw some caltrops on the ground to further hinder any pursuers.
The smoke bombs were also utilized in an offensive fashion as a ninja who might be lying in ambush throws the smoke bomb in the field of vision of his or her target before striking. The chances for success of assassinating a target would be greatly increased when the target and any bodyguards or protection he might have is unable to see.
There is also a psychological factor to the use of the smoke bombs for the ninjas. Ninjas could utilize a smoke bomb and seemed to disappear as they would run and hide during that flash. This tactic contributed to the common misconception of the era that ninjas, or Shinobi, were supernatural beings that possessed inhuman abilities.
These days, homemade smoke bombs like these are primarily used in pranks.
If you are in the mood to feel like a ninja, there are plenty of guides available on YouTube and other resources that show exactly how to make a homemade smoke bomb from an eggshell just like the ninjas did.