Ninja Weapons – Shuriken October 18, 2014
Today we will be looking at another thrown weapon we normally use, the shuriken.
A shuriken is a traditional Japanese concealed weapon that was generally used for throwing, and sometimes stabbing or slashing.They are sharpened hand-held blades made from a variety of everyday items, such as needles, nails and knives, as well as coins, washers, and other flat plates of metal. Shuriken is the name given to any small-bladed object, while shaken is traditionally used to indicate the well-known “throwing star”.
Shuriken are commonly known in the West as throwing stars or ninja stars although they were originally designed in many different shapes. The major varieties of shuriken are the bō shuriken (棒手裏剣, stick shuriken) and the hira shuriken (平手裏剣, flat shuriken) or shaken (車剣, also read as kurumaken, wheel shuriken).
Shuriken were supplementary weapons to the sword or various other weapons, they often had an important tactical effect in battle since shurikens are often used as distraction rather than direct action. The art of wielding the shuriken is known as shurikenjutsu and was taught as a basic curriculum in ninja Academy.
The shuriken we use, are constructed from thin, flat plates of metal derived from a variety of sources including hishi-gane (coins), kugi-nuki (carpentry tools), spools and senban (nail removers).
They often have a hole in the center and possess a fairly thin blade sharpened only at the tip. The holes derive from their source in items that had holes – old coins, washers, and nail-removing tools. This proved convenient for the shuriken user as the weapons could be strung on a string or dowel in the belt for transport, and the hole also had aerodynamic and weighting effects that aided the flight of the blade.
There is a wide variety of forms of hira-shuriken and they are now usually identified by the number of points the blades possess such as the Fuma Shuriken.