One of the reasons that our culture and historians have had such a fascination with ninjas was the unique range of weapons that they chose to utilize.
The humble origins of the first ninjas forced them to engage in a degree of creativity when designing their initial weapons as they had limited resources and had to maintain a degree of concealability.
Let’s discuss one of their more particularly fascinating and terrifying ninja weapons here today, the Neko-te.
The Neko-te, or “Cat-Hands”, is an example of the incredible level of ingenuity that ninjas utilized when creating their arsenal of weapons.
The Neko-te was more often utilized by female ninjas, also known as kunoichi.
These weapons at times varied in design but accomplish the same end. They were false fingernails attached to the hand of a ninja to allow them to scratch like a cat.
The tips of the false fingernails of the Neko-te were often coated in the various poisons that ninjas often utilized.
While the fingernails are often too short to inflict fatal wounds, they were used to scratch the eyes of an opponent and either administer poison for the kill or used as a distraction to escape while the opponent is blinded.
A common theme you will begin to observe as you learn more about the weapons favored by ninjas of the past is that of concealability. The Neko-te were very easy to conceal, that being one of the primary reasons it was favored by so many female ninjas. It was also a very simple matter to dip the ends of the false fingernails into various deadly poisons without drawing too much attention to one’s self.
The use of the Neko-te by the ninja also had another unintended consequence. It also added to the level of notoriety that the ninja carried as well as the level of fear held in the hearts of their enemies.
Consider the fact that, at the time in history, many of the Samurai and citizens were very superstitious and believed that ninjas, or Shinobi, were supernatural beings. The fact that they move so stealthily and seem to scratch the eyes with seemingly inhuman fingernails only added to the level of intimidation.
Next time you see in a movie or television show the use of false fingernails as weapons you can now confidently say that you are aware of the origin of that ninja weapon, the Neko-te.