ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Specialised Ninja Equipment and Gear

Updated on January 31, 2011

The ninja could use a diverse array of specialized weapons and equipment under appropriate circumstances. The majority of these ninja tools appear in Bansen Shukai, a famed seventeenth-century ninja manual.

Although, specialized ninja gear could include a variety of different tools serving different purposes, our nightly shadows rarely brought everything with them on a mission. Depending on the difficulty, length, nature and, of course, objective of the ninja's mission, he packed his bag with ninja equipment accordingly.

This hub is about specialized ninja equipment. For essential ninja gear, such as weapons and containers, see my hub on standard ninja tools and equipment. For more on the ninja uniform, please, refer to Ninja Costumes and Outfit.

First, let's examine the traditional ninja equipment used when attacking a castle under the secrecy of darkness.

Ropes and hooks as illustrated in Bansen Shukai, a manual of ninja lore from 1683. Click to enlarge.
Ropes and hooks as illustrated in Bansen Shukai, a manual of ninja lore from 1683. Click to enlarge.
Rope ladder with wooden slats, illustrated in Bansen Shukai. It was used to be affixed across a gap or moat for others to cross. Click to enlarge.
Rope ladder with wooden slats, illustrated in Bansen Shukai. It was used to be affixed across a gap or moat for others to cross. Click to enlarge.

Ninja Equipment for Getting across the Moat

In order to cross the ditch or moat around the medieval Japanese castle, a ninja might want to utilize his hooked rope to cross the moat hand-over-hand, or, depending on the width of the ditch, employ a simple flotation device and paddle across the water.

This might look like overkill, because, even in medieval Japan, the simplest way to cross a small body of water was to swim across it, and ninja, just like every-day samurai, were expected to swim well. They could even use their weapons while wading through water, because their training included this exercise.

Nevertheless, the ninja might not want to get himself and his ninja gear wet, because on occasion explosives might play an active part in the ninja's plans and he, therefore, could not risk getting the gunpowder wet. Instead, he would use a ninja technique to cross the moat, rather than his swimming skill.

In Bansen Shukai, we can see one of the most famous ninja tools, the mizugumo, or wooden water shoes, which actually look rather unstable. Bansen Shukai also has illustrations for pre-constructed ninja boats. On the other hand, if a team of ninja were involved in an operation, one of them could tread across the moat to help his mates rig up a simple rope ladder.

Light-weight ladder with a hinged section for climbing walls. Illustration form Bansen Shukai. Click to enlarge.
Light-weight ladder with a hinged section for climbing walls. Illustration form Bansen Shukai. Click to enlarge.

Ninja Gear for Climbing the Castle Wall

Once on the castle's side of the moat, the ninja had to face the challenge of climbing the wall. In some cases the stone walls of medieval Japanese castles and fortresses were deeply curved and dotted with many gaps making it easy for the ninja to scale them without the extra effort of using any type of ninja gear. Other times, mechanical devices had to be used.

Beyond the afore-mentioned standard hooked rope, for more challenging ascents, the ninja might want to use some sort of portable ladder. This could be an ordinary rope ladder with strong rungs of wood and a bulky hook at the top.

A cunning version of this was constructed of a series of short bamboo sections with a rope threaded through each section, alternating with pieces threaded across the middle and through their entire length. A hook was joined to the top, and then the entire length of the rope was safely tightened resulting in a light-weight contraption of a ladder. On the feet he ninja might wear spiked scaling equipment quite like crampons. 

Other Ninja Gear for Wall-Climbing

The kurorokagi (1) was a metal climbing device consisting of a strong iron hook mounted on a wooden handle. Its purpose was to aid scaling walls. It acted as an extension to the hand, and it was also used to provide steps during a descent.

The hokode (7), or hand claws, were used to help a ninja scale a wall, but it could also act as melee weapon in a fist fight.

The tekagi (8), or knuckle dusters, were originally designed for wall-climbing purposes, but they were soon gaining ground as fighting ninja equipment.

Once on top of the stone base of the Castle wall, the ninja reached the white plaster walls, sometimes simple outer structures decorated by gun and arrow ports, other times elaborate superstructures with towers mounted on them.

The surfaces of these outer walls were commonly protected with tiles, making it difficult for the ninja to climb them.

Instead, he could force his way into a defended spots, where the walls were made on a wattle and daub core and plastered over, so a ninja could employ his kunai (5), a cross between a broad bladed knife and a paint scraper, to cut and carve and eventually make a hole through which he could get inside.

Specialized Ninja Weapons and Equipment. Click to enlarge.
Specialized Ninja Weapons and Equipment. Click to enlarge.

Ninja Explosives and Firearms


Ninja were familiar with a number of explosives and firearms of mainly Chinese origins.

One of them was soft-cased bombs constructed round a paper or wicker carton, devised to emit smoke or poisonous gas, or to simply alarm an enemy by its loud explosion.

These bombs could be devised to take out single or multiple enemies by the use of iron fragments, broken pottery or even dried human faeces.

Another type of explosive commonly employed by ninja was hard-cased bombs of iron or pottery.

These could inflict fatal damage in the manner of a fragmentation bomb, and larger versions would have had enough power to bust a hole into the plaster walls of a fortress.

Smaller models could be thrown by hand, in the manner of hand grenades. They would be set on fire with a tinderbox or a smouldering cord carried in waterproof lacquered containers.

Traditional Martial Arts Weapons


Ninja also utilized traditional martial arts weapons originating from agricultural implements, such as the kusari gama or shinobi gama (6), a hybrid of a sickle and a chain.

Having a weight on both ends, the chain could be flung to stop an enemy in flight or even a pursuer. The ninja would then knock him off his feet and finish him off with the sickle blade.

Ninja Tools for Getting past Guards and into inner Buildings

Ninja Ear Trumpets

The buildings located within the walls of a medieval Japanese fortress were most often made of wood, including the daimyo's yashiki, or mansion. The daimyo's mansion was a palatial structure added to the structure of the keep and most often used for entertaining purposes.

This place would be probably the most heavily guarded area within the castle. The ninja would use saoto hikigane (2), portable listening devices like ear trumpets, to eavesdrop conversations and learn the movement patterns of guards.

Ninja Saws


The ninja would usually enter such wooden buildings by utilizing some sort of saw. The hamagari, for instance, was a long thin saw with a myriad of very sharp teeth mounted on a folding iron shaft similar to a penknife. It was a devastating weapon when it came to getting wooden structures out of the way.

Alternatively, using tsubokiri (3), the ninja could carve small gaps between the planking and use a two-pronged iron fork to extend their size to big enough for the insertion of a thin leaf-shaped saw, or shikoro (4), with small teeth that, in turn, would enlarge the hole enough for the ninja to get inside.

Ninja Bow and Arrows

Ninja were trained to be masters of bow and arrow skills. Ninja bows were usually smaller versions of samurai longbows in order to be carried more conveniently.

Ninja Video Showing Kusari Gama in the Beginning

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      James 

      3 years ago

      My husband and i felt very etiactsc that Michael managed to deal with his survey with the ideas he acquired in your blog. It's not at all simplistic to simply possibly be offering key points that many some other people might have been trying to sell. So we grasp we need the blog owner to be grateful to because of that. The explanations you have made, the easy blog navigation, the relationships you can aid to create it's got mostly spectacular, and it's letting our son in addition to our family know that this subject matter is amusing, which is tremendously indispensable. Thank you for all the pieces!

    • profile image

      Alinn 

      3 years ago

      Hello Christine! Our serendipitous aduertvne ended sadly- I believe I left my jacket at your camp. Did you happen to find a camo coat?It was wonderful getting to know you, I'll be telling that story many more times. Sincerely,Brooke

    • profile image

      Ammad 

      3 years ago

      Beautiful picture Anwar! I love the black and white, the ctbblesoones and the arches it looks very European. I've always heard great things about Cesky Krumlov and I would love to visit the Czech Republic soon. Good luck with your decorating!

    • Haunty profile imageAUTHOR

      Haunty 

      7 years ago from Hungary

      The first three in this hub are from a book that I only have a part of. It's title is 'Ninja' and it's in Hungarian. The fourth is a scan I got along with the book. I have many of these. They are from a friend. I can ask him if they are actually from the book.

    • TheMMAZone profile image

      TheMMAZone 

      7 years ago from Kansas

      You have some incredible images I haven't seen anywhere. Are you the artist?

    • Haunty profile imageAUTHOR

      Haunty 

      7 years ago from Hungary

      I can imagine. Wonder if the pay was good... :)

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 

      7 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      Ninja's seemed to be the MI-5's 007s of their time.;)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)