Standard Ninja Equipment, Weapons and Tools
The Ninja's Sword: the Katana
The Ninja's primary weapon in battle was their traditional Japanese sword, the katana. The katana was used not only to strike the enemy, but also to stave off his attack. The katana was perfectly suited to do this due to its strength, length and flexibility. The lightly armed ninja couldn't have picked a better weapon for his purposes.
Katana swords varied greatly in length and curve. The ninja viewed practicality as a decisive factor when it came to choosing the right blades. They would, therefore, use a shorter and straighter version of the katana than the ones usually carried by the haughty samurai. Climbing was made easier this way, especially because the ninja's sword would not be worn on his belt, but rather over the shoulder with the blade edge up and the handle near the left ear.
Uses of the Katana
While exploring potentially dangerous dark places such as the shadowy corridors of castles, a ninja would balance his sword's sheath out in front on the tip of the sword blade, with the scabbard's suspensory cords held between his teeth. If the scabbard's end met a hostile, the ninja would let it fall and push forward towards the enemy.
A katana could also be of great help when scaling a wall, because the strong iron tsuba (sword-guard) could be used as a step with the sword put up against the wall. The ninja would wrap the end of the suspensory cord round his foot in order to be able to pull his sword up once he had gotten on top of the wall.
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Other Standard Ninja Tools and Equipment
The ninja could have a wide array of weapons and other equipment on him. A simple Japanese folding fan might as well hide a knife blade of sorts, or iron knuckle-dusters, known as tekagi.
A common piece of ninja equipment was the kaginawa (4), or hooked rope for climbing walls and trees. This was a 3-pronged grapnel joined with a coil of thin, strong rope. The ninja would carry it hanging from his belt.
A utility bag could also be hung on the belt, containing small throwing blades such as knives or ninja stars, known as shuriken (3), that were cast in a spinning motion.
Caltrops, or tetsu bishi (2), might also included among a ninja's provisions, consisting of iron spikes arranged in a tetrahedron shape in a fashion whereby one spike was always protruding upwards. Considering that samurai wore simple thin-soled sandals, tetsu bishi were a very efficient way of slowing them down.
Poisons and their antidotes along with additional provisions of food could also go into the ninja's utility bag if appropriate.
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The amegasa (5), or sedge hat, was a rain hat made of straw. It was a commonplace item of the ninja useful for concealment, and protection during the rainy season.
The sanjaku tenugui (6), or 3 shaku towel could be used as a bandage, utilized as a sling, or just what it looks like, a simple towel.
The Uchitake (7) was a waterproof gunpowder container made of bamboo into a tube shape. A tinderbox could be used for the purpose of lighting fires, and less frequently for creating an explosion.
The inro (8) was a small medicine carrier, standard equipment for Japanese samurai, containing a number of interlocking compartments, tightened by a draw cord. It could be used to carry pills, potions and poison antidotes.
The seki hitsu (9), or stone brush, was a writing kit with a pencil, carried for the purpose of drawing maps of the enemy territory and writing messages. The box was usually waterproof.