SHO KOSUGI: WEAPONS MASTER, WEAPONS DESIGNER


HOMEMADE AND MODIFIED FAN REPLICAS


Like many kids growing up in the 1980s, renting and watching movies was a big part of my life, but nothing captured my imagination quite like ninja movies.  Something about how they presented the mystique and secrecy of the art of ninjutsu and how this ancient Japanese tradition survived to the present day, coupled with the near superhuman martial arts abilities and the simple but oh so cool black-hooded costumes filled me with never ending awe and joy as a kid.  Even to this day, there's nothing like watching a great ninja movie for me.  But above all, I think what captured me the most about ninja movies, particularly the ones starring Sho, were all of the amazing weapons, which I guess is no surprise considering the subject of this Blog.

I don't remember exactly when I built my first homemade ninja weapon, but I know it likely wasn't very long after seeing REVENGE OF THE NINJA and ENTER THE NINJA, which I rented days after seeing REVENGE OF THE NINJA and finding out the amazing star of the film had done another ninja film before it.

I do know that the first weapons I built were made of wood and plastic.  I remember my dad had some wooden slats in the basement which I spray painted silver and fashioned some type of handle and guard to make my first NINJA-TŌ.  An old broom handle was undoubtedly turned into a BŌ, and a branch from a tree in the backyard was bent into a half crescent and a thin rope was attached at either end to make my first YUMI (Bow), while other thinner branches were turned into YA (arrows).  I also remember taking some scissors to some plastic container lids to make my first SHURIKEN, which I also spray painted silver.  My mom made me a ninja mask out of some black cloth which, coupled with a black turtleneck and black sweatpants, turned me into a ninja for the first time, armed with my first homemade ninja weapons.

My second go at making ninja weapons occurred a while later, after a childhood friend, who was a year or two younger than me, got me together with a classmate of his, who was a huge Sho and ninja fan like me.  We quickly became friends and he told me he had been making ninja weapons too, but his had aluminum blades, so after watching Sho's films and THE MASTER over and over again together, we began to make replicas of the ninja weapons we saw.

As you'd expect, we mostly made NINJA-TŌ, as those were the easiest to make.  As I recall, the first thing we'd do was to cut the aluminum slats to the width and length we needed and cut and grind one end in the shape of a blade tip.  After that we'd cut some square tsubas out of plywood and slide the blade into the drilled out slot in the center and then slide the handle end into a foot or so of foam pipe insulation which we'd glue on and then wrap tightly over with black electrical tape.  Pretty rudimentary, but it gave us some nice lightweight and easy to use ninja swords.  One of my absolute favorite ninja weapons was (and still is) the KUSARI-GAMA, so I also made one of those with a wood handle attached, which still exists to this day.

I'm not exactly sure what the impetus was to do so, but we moved from aluminum to stainless steel soon after that.  My dad bought some sheets of strong stainless steel, and with his help and expert guidance, I began to make many more replicas of Sho's weapons.  Although nothing remains of my first wood and plastic weapons, some of the aluminum-bladed ones survive in one form or another to this day, and all of the ones with stainless steel blades do as well.

Moreover, while I was planning this Blog over the last few years, I not only restored many of my old homemade Sho tribute weapons to their former glory and then some, but I also built new prop weapon replicas that I'd not gotten around to making back in the 1980s and early 1990s.  To stay true to how we'd made them back then, I built these new prop replicas with the same basic tools, which included a hacksaw, files, rivets, glue, tape, wood-filler, and lots of sandpaper and sanding and plenty of paint, along with a seemingly endless amount of good old-fashioned elbow grease.  The only upgrade from the tools I had to work with 30+ years ago is that for some of my new builds I was able to use a jigsaw to cut a few of the aluminum blades.

So with that said I hope you will continue to indulge me and allow me to toot my own horn a bit as a I present my homemade fan replicas of some of my favorite weapons from Sho's ninja movies and TV shows, etc..., along with some weapons that I purchased and modified to look more like the ones featured in those much-loved ninja classics.

 

Homemade Revenge of the Ninja Replicas

 

OSAKI NINJA-TŌ and NINJA-TANTŌ

 

The first weapon I built using the stainless steel sheets and slats my dad bought was of course a homemade replica of Sho's iconic NINJA-TŌ.  It didn't look exactly how it does in these pictures back then, but the basic components remain the same.  The blade remains unchanged and as stainless steel does, it's still as beautiful and shiny as it was when my dad and I made it over 30 years ago.

 

 

The handle (tsuka), guard (tsuba), and scabbard (saya) on these are all made of wood, with the handle and the scabbard made from long axe handles.  Originally these were all wrapped in black electrical tape, but a couple years ago I stripped the old tape off, wood-filled and sanded the hell out of them and then spray painted the guard and saya with glossy black paint.  The handle was re-wrapped with proper tsuka-ito cord. The white under-wrapping on the handle, which is traditionally real or imitation rayskin remains as it was, which believe it or not is white duct tape.

 

 

Originally my Sho tribute ninja-tō was not specific to any one film, but when I recently restored it I turned it into the REVENGE OF THE NINJA version by adding some small matsuba-gata (pine needle shaped) shuriken menuki (made of plastic) under the handle wrap (positioned exactly like they are on both sides of Sho's sword in the film). The hidden kozuka (small knife) is the only new addition, built during the restoration process.

 

 

And because many of Sho's ninja characters had one, I'd also made a matching homemade replica of Sho's NINJA-TANTŌ, which I also restored.

 

 

By the way, the brass habaki on these are made from thin brass sheets which I cut to size, folded over, and stuck on with double-sided tape and gorilla glue.  As with all of my Sho prop weapon replicas, my goal has never been to create "real" weapons featuring "real" blades and "proper" components.  It has simply been to make replica props that look like the prop weapons used in Sho' films and TV shows, and I believe I've achieved that quite well.

 

 

For this final photo, I positioned my homemade tribute "Cho Osaki Ninja Daisho" replica set exactly as is seen in Cho's secret box of ninja weapons in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 

 






Homemade Ninja III: The Domination Replicas

 

YAMADA NINJA-TŌ and NINJA-TANTŌ

 

After restoring my old homemade stainless steel ninja-tō and ninja-tantō and turning them into tributes to the REVENGE OF THE NINJA versions, I thought it would be cool to make a homemade replica of the second version SK NINJA-TŌ, which was first used in NINJA III: THE DOMINATION.  Knowing how much easier it is to work with aluminum and that the prop weapons used in NINJA III had aluminum blades, I headed off to my local hardware store and bought a 1 inch wide aluminum slat and proceeded to do just that.

 

 

Other than the blade being aluminum the only other difference between my homemade YAMADA NINJA-TŌ and NINJA-TANTŌ tributes and the CHO OSAKI ones is that there is no matsuba-gata menuki and the tsuka-ito wrapping is done in the distinct "ninja style" instead of in the "samurai style", just as it was on the second version SK NINJA-TŌ used in NINJA III: THE DOMINATION.  It's all in the details, my friends.

Note: The cool YAMADA TSUBA that's in the picture above was custom-made by a very nice guy named Jason who filled my request to create this amazing replica using a 3D printer (more on this in a future section of the blog).

 

 






Homemade Enter the Ninja Replicas

 

HASEGAWA NINJA-TŌ and NINJA-TANTŌ

 

If someone had told me that I'd make a tribute to the ninja swords used in ENTER THE NINJA I wouldn't have believed it, because as I previously mentioned, I never liked them very much.  But after I had my homemade tribute swords for REVENGE OF THE NINJA and NINJA III: THE DOMINATION completed I started to think that it might be cool to have one for the first film in "The Ninja Trilogy" to complete the set.  Then it hit me that I could make a version that resembled the ones in ENTER THE NINJA, but done in the same dimensions and style of the SK Ninja-Tō.  In other words a hybrid upgrade that would match my other 2 tributes perfectly.

 

 

So with that in mind, I built my custom HASEGAWA NINJA-TŌ and also built a new customized HASEGAWA NINJA-TANTŌ to properly complete my "Ninja Trilogy Daisho set".  The materials used were the same as on my previous one except of course that the tsuba are made of aluminum (with different sized holes just like the original ones in the film), and the handle is wrapped in the traditional samurai style, as that is also how the ones in the film were wrapped.  The fuchi and kashira, which look to be made of brass, are simply spray painted gold as the handle is all wood.

 

 

These pictures don't really do them justice as they came out so much nicer than I expected and the process of making these definitely gave me a new appreciation for the ninja swords featured in Sho's first ninja film.

 






Homemade The Master Replicas

 

OKASA SHIKOMIZUE and TANTŌ

 

One of my favorite weapons from Sho's ninja projects has always been the absolutely awesome BAMBOO SHIKOMIZUE he used as Okasa in the "Hostages" episode of THE MASTER, so while I was on my recent prop weapons revival I of course had to make a homemade replica of it.

The most difficult part was finding a bamboo stalk that would be big enough and straight enough to work.  After going to every hardware and gardening shop in town without any success, and just finding places on-line that only sold them in large bundles, I finally lucked out and found that one local hardware place sold them individually on-line, and they seemed to be the right size.  Although it ended up being the right length and diameter it was a little more curved than I'd hoped for, but luckily it was straight enough that I was able to cut the sections I needed to get my desired results.

 

 

As you can see, I went all out, building not only the SHIKOMIZUE sword (using the old aluminum blade from my original foam-handled SK Ninja-Tō replica that me and my ninja buddy built in his dad's shop more than 30 years ago), but I also made all of the hidden kozuka (small knives) that attach to either end of the bamboo saya, with newly purchased aluminum.

 

 

 

I also took a small section of bamboo and filled it with a heavy steel bolt which I attached to a chain quick-link and a chain that was the exact same type as the one seen in the episode of THE MASTER.  I made this weighted chain component optional, so that the pointy double-edged kozuka can be replaced by it at the bottom of the bamboo saya, so that it looks just as it did on THE MASTER.

 

 

And, as a bonus, because I always like to have Daisho (long and short sword) sets, I also custom-built a matching Aikuchi TANTŌ as well.

 

 






Homemade The Master Replica

 

KUNOICHI SHIKOMIZUE

 

The Okasa Bamboo Shikomizue wasn't the only Shikomizue I recently built.  Not by a long shot.  I also purchased a long oval-shaped pickaxe handle and created a seamless straight shikomizue with yet another newly purchased aluminum slat that I've dubbed the KUNOICHI SHIKOMIZUE in honor of the one used by the "Kunoichi" in what I consider to be the best episode of THE MASTER, which is of course titled "Kunoichi".

 

 

 






Homemade The Master Replicas

 

KOSUGI SHIKOMIZUE

 

Riding this new Shikomizue wave to the end, I also custom-made two more replicas of the SHIKOMIZUE used in the "Kunoichi" episode of THE MASTER, but this time I used round metal pipes.

 

 

I've called these the KOSUGI SHIKOMIZUE because they are replicas of the 2 versions that were sold by SHO KOSUGI NINJA ENTERPRISES in the 1986 catalog.

 

 

I made these to look like they were a matching set, and from these pictures I think it's safe to say that they look pretty much the same...

 

 

But of course they aren't completely identical, because just like the ones from the catalog, one of them has a secret hidden chain in its saya.

 

 






Homemade Revenge of the Ninja Replica

 

SHIKOMIZUE ⬌ TONFA-TŌ

 

My final homemade custom-built prop SHIKOMIZUE is something extra special.  As SHIKOMIZUE are meant to do it starts off looking like a plain stick, but it has a number of secret hidden features.

 

 

The first secret feature is of course not a surprise at this point, which is the hidden straight sword, which I made with another newly purchased aluminum slat and a round wood dowel.

 

 

 

The second secret feature is that the handle has a hidden KOZUKA in it, which is of course what makes this my homemade REVENGE OF THE NINJA replica as it resembles the SHIKOMIZUE that was used by the Silver Masked Ninja in the epic rooftop finale.

 

 

 

The final secret feature might be the coolest one because the handle also tilts up to a 90 degree angle, thus transforming it into a TONFA-TŌ (Tonfa Sword) similar to the one Sho wielded in various magazine photoshoots, etc...

 

 

Note: I made this prop replica TONFA-TŌ before I got the real thing at auction, and I'm happy to report that I was spot on with the dimensions.

 






Homemade Revenge of the Ninja Replicas

 

KAMA-YARI and YARI

 

Sho's ninja films and TV shows also featured some very cool Japanese spears, including my absolute favorite, the KAMA-YARI, first seen in REVENGE OF THE NINJA. Of all the homemade weapons I made back in the 1980s and early 1990s, the KAMA-YARI spearhead was without a doubt the most difficult to cut.  As I mentioned earlier, I was working with basic hand tools so cutting this stainless steel spearhead with a hacksaw was a major task to say the least.  I must've burned through a half dozen hacksaw blades and at least two or three drill bits.  I also nearly sliced my thumb off, but when all was said and done I had a pretty cool replica of my favorite spear.

 

 

The flat-blade YARI pictured with my KAMA-YARI, was, if memory serves me correctly, made much earlier.  As I recently discovered, I must've put it together pretty hastily, because when I started to restore all of my old homemade weapons, I discovered that the rivets holding the blade in place were loose and protruding out from beneath the black electrical tape which I'd used to wrap the entire shaft.  The KAMA-YARI was also originally wrapped with black electrical tape but also had white duct tape at each end to make it look like the ones in Sho's ninja projects.

 

 

During my restorations I stripped off all of the old tape, fixed all cosmetic problems and made everything tight and right and perfect.  I then painted both shafts with glossy black paint and put nice white vinyl tape on them (just like they used on the ones in Sho's ninja projects, believe or not), and now I have a matching set of homemade tribute REVENGE OF THE NINJA spears.

 






Homemade Ninja III: The Domination Reproduction

 

TSUKI-YARI

 

This next replica spear was a lot easier to make, not only because I was able to trace my original prop TSUKI-YARI spearhead to get an exact duplicate of the shape, but also because I was able to use a jigsaw to cut it out of an old sheet of aluminum that my dad still had.  A little filing and sanding and the blade was done.  I bought a new 6' dowel at a local hardware store, painted it black, added the white vinyl tape, and I now have a pretty much exact reproduction of the TSUKI-YARI, first seen in NINJA III: THE DOMINATION.

 

 

 






Homemade The Master Replicas

 

OKASA TE-YARI

 

These two homemade TE-YARI (hand spears) replicas were made during my stainless steel phase in the 1980s.  Made to resemble the TE-YARI wielded by Okasa (Sho) in his final episode of THE MASTER, these were also restored to better than original condition over the last couple of years.  One of the blades was loose and crooked, but now both are tight and right and have newly re-painted shafts.

 

 

 






Homemade The Master Replica

 

OKASA YAJŪMONJI-YARI

 

This next spear was probably the most ambitious of my recent replica builds.  I've always loved this Sho-designed YAJŪMONJI-YARI (Arrow-Cross Spear) used by Okasa on THE MASTER, so I was excited to make a replica for my tribute weapons collection.  The entire spear is made of aluminum, with an aluminum pipe used for the shaft and the arrow-cross cut out of more of my dad's old sheet of aluminum with a jigsaw.  In order to make it accurate to the shape and size of the original I actually blew up a screenshot from the episode and printed it out across multiple pages.

 

 

 






Homemade Sho Kosugi Ninja Enterprises Replica

 

BŌ ⬌ NUNTE-BŌ

 

This next weapon is so simple that I almost didn't include it, as it's basically just a (staff) made from a long dowel bought at a hardware store in the 1980s.  This is the same I used when I was training in the martial arts at a local dojo back then.  As you can imagine it was pretty beat up, so I fixed it up with some wood filler, sanded it, and repainted it.

 

 

The reason I decided to include it in my homemade replica section was because while I was restoring it I noticed it had a hole drilled in one end of it. I quickly remembered what it was for, which was to turn it into a NUNTE-BŌ; by inserting one of my two chrome-plated NUNTE in there.  I think my plan back then was to buy another NUNTE and permanently attach one in there, but I never found one.  In any event, I think this was a pretty neat little weapon conversion I devised to make a quick homemade replica of the NUNTE-BŌ sold by SHO KOSUGI NINJA ENTERPRISES.

 

 

 

Note: I also have a homemade (medium staff), HANBŌ (half staff), and an ALUMINUM BŌ that looks like the silver one seen in REVENGE OF THE NINJA, but as there was even less building on my part for these, they didn't make the cut for this article.

 






Homemade Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi Replicas

 

SHOBŌ

 

This is another old vintage replica that I made 30+ years ago.  If I remember correctly all of the components were things my dad had in his workshop.  As you can see it's two steel spikes with the head cut off and two steel rings attached with a small nail, while the two small kama blades were cut from thin sheets of steel.  Pretty simple, but just like Sho says in the "Shobo" segment of NINJA THEATER HOSTED BY SHO KOSUGI, my homemade tribute replicas do indeed "spin well".

 

 

 






Homemade The Master Replica

 

HANBŌ ⬌ TE-YARI ⬌ TONFA-YARI

 

This next recent build is another special one as it's actually multiple weapons in one.  As you can see it starts off looking like a simple HANBŌ.

 

 

By removing one of the ends it becomes a replica of the TE-YARI (hand spear) used by Sho in THE MASTER - "Failure to Communicate".

 

 

And by removing the other end it becomes a replica of the Double-Bladed TE-YARI used by Sho in THE MASTER - "Max".

 

 

And by taking an extra piece that has a threaded bolt at the bottom and screwing it into its matching coupler it then transforms into a replica of the TONFA-YARI (Tonfa Spear) used by Sho in THE MASTER - "Failure to Communicate".

 

 

 

Finally, by putting back the two pieces that were previously removed at each end of the stick, it then ends up being a TONFA with a really long shaft.  I really had a lot of fun designing and making this one.  It's amazing what can be done with just aluminum, wood, and a brass coupler used in multi-section walking canes and pool cues.

 

 

Note: I made this beauty long before I had any idea I'd ever own the original TONFA-YARI prop from the "Failure To Communicate" episode, but once again I was surprisingly close on the dimensions.

 






Homemade Revenge of the Ninja Replicas

 

TONFA

 

One of the first homemade replica weapons I ever made was this pair of TONFA.  At the beginning of this Blog section, I said I didn't have anything left from my very first homemade ninja weapons made of wood and plastic, but this one might actually date back to that time.  This was another example of taking what was on hand and creating something new from it, because the shaft of these TONFA are literally from an old wooden broom handle and the two wooden hand-holds were taken from a Hand Grip Strengthener.

 

 

I don't remember which film inspired me to make this homemade replica all those years ago, but if it was built as early as I suspect then it was either REVENGE OF THE NINJA or ENTER THE NINJA, and because they most resemble the ones in REVENGE OF THE NINJA (color not withstanding), I've designated these as my Homemade REVENGE OF THE NINJA Replicas.

 






Homemade The Master Reinventions

 

TONFA-YA

 

Don't wrack your brain trying to figure out where this next crazy-looking TONFA appeared on THE MASTER.  As I've titled it, this was my own "reinvention", inspired by a couple of weapons from THE MASTER.  Basically, it was a homemade weapon that I created to try and do my own custom-design similar to how Sho had reinvented his own custom-designed ninja weapons for THE MASTER.  If memory serves me right, these were the last weapons I made with the stainless steel we had back in the early 1990s.

 

 

Initially I had planned to create a pair of TONFA-YARI replicas, but after finishing the TONFA parts I noticed that two pieces of stainless steel leftover from cutting out my KAMA-YARI spearhead were identical triangles.  For fun I placed them at the end of the TONFA shafts and noticed that they looked like arrows which immediately made me think of Okasa's "Arrow-Cross Spear".  I thought they looked pretty cool and would be something that Sho would have done, so that's how I created my homemade Sho-inspired TONFA-YA (Tonfa Arrows).

 

 

One unexpectedly cool thing about these is that they can be wielded like regular TONFA by holding them by the perpendicular handholds, or they can be wielded like TSURUHASHI (Pickaxes) by holding them by the non-bladed ends and having the perpendicular handholds as handguards.

 






Homemade Revenge of the Ninja Replica

 

SHINOBI-ZUE

 

This recently built homemade prop weapon should look a lot more familiar as it is a replica of the SHINOBI-ZUE (staff with a hidden spear) used by the Silver Masked Ninja (Eddie Tse) in his incredible duel against Cho Osaki (Sho) in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.  The weapon in that film was of course also a SHIKOMIZUE with a hidden KOZUKA in the handle, but since I'd already made that part in the SHIKOMIZUE that transforms into a TONFA-TŌ (see above), I ultimately decided to make this a separate replica weapon.

 

 

 

 






Custom-modified Revenge of the Ninja Replicas

 

SHIKOMI-FUE

 

These next replicas are the most recent of all of my tribute weapons, finished just a few weeks ago.  I really wasn't planning to do any more weapons, but I stumbled upon these very similar two-sectional flutes on amazon.com and couldn't resist doing another cool weapon from the greatest ninja movie ever made, REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 

 

I custom-modified the original flutes by stripping off all of the dark varnish and everything else to take them down to the bare bamboo underneath. After that it was just a matter of figuring out what to do about the hidden blades.  I tried a butter knife just to get an idea of what I needed, and it fit almost perfectly and looked so great that I decided to go back to my roots and use what I had on hand.  A little bit of filing and the knives fit just right and allowed the two flute ends to go into each other.

 

 

The holes on the flutes weren't exactly in the same spots as on the ones seen in REVENGE OF THE NINJA, so I had to improvise a little, but I managed to get a very similar breakdown of red striping, which I spray painted on.  All in all I'm quite pleased with these as I now have some pretty good custom-modified tribute replicas of these iconic SHIKOMI-FUE (flutes with hidden blades) from REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 






Homemade Revenge of the Ninja Replicas

 

SHIKAKE-TSUE

 

Another weapon with a hidden blade that I made a custom replica of in the last couple of years was the SHIKAKE-TSUE (Trick Walking Cane) used in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 

 

 

Back in the 1980s I put together an earlier version using a small hand drill for the hidden removable handle.  Originally the cane shaft for it was an old slightly-crooked branch that I'd no doubt found in the backyard, so this homemade replica may also have been among my very first Sho tribute ninja weapons.  In any event, the bottom of the branch was completely rotted-out so I cut it part way and inserted the top part of it into a new steel pipe, which is now the new and improved shaft of my first SHIKAKE-TSUE.

 

 

 

 






Homemade Revenge of the Ninja Replicas

 

TETSUBISHI

 

One of the oldest and simplest homemade ninja weapons I made were TETSUBISHI.  These metal caltrops were made by bending two nails to 90 degree angles and sharpening the ends to points and then welding them together.  I made a dozen of these wicked little projectile weapons as a tribute to the TETSUBISHI so memorably used in REVENGE OF THE NINJA and in Sho's other ninja projects.

 

 






Custom-modified Revenge of the Ninja Replica

 

YUMIYA

 

Another of my absolutely favorite ninja weapons from Sho's ninja projects is the white and black striped YUMIYA (Bow & Arrow) first seen in REVENGE OF THE NINJA, and perhaps most famously featured in one of Sho's best posters, entitled "YUMIYA", which I of course had on my bedroom wall growing up.  Amazingly I found one that looked virtually identical to it at a local sporting goods department store in the 1980s.  All I had to do was to paint it white and add some black electrical tape to get the right look.  I probably used this weapon more than any other back then, constantly shooting the three blunt-point arrows that came with it into carboard and foam targets set up in the backyard.

 

 

When I looked at it a couple of years ago, some of the plastic fins on the arrows were missing and the white paint was stripped off in some sections on both the arrows and the bow, so I decided to not only restore them but to add some proper custom-made white feather fins and also make some proper arrow tips similar to the ones used by Sho.  Although this picture doesn't do it justice (especially the white feather fins which look great in person), my custom-modified "Revenge of the Ninja" YUMIYA replica looks better than ever.

 






Homemade Enter the Ninja Replica

 

FUKIYA

 

Another extremely easy replica to make is a FUKIYA (Blowgun).  This one made from a metal pipe in the 1980s was my homemade tribute to the one seen in ENTER THE NINJA (except of course that mine is Hasegawa black instead of Cole white).  The three FUKIBARI (darts) pictured with it were made a couple of years ago using three BŌ-SHURIKEN.

 

 

The cone-shaped fins were made the same way we used to do in our ninjutsu classes, which consisted of rolling paper around a spike (or nail) and then using wax and glue to fill it in and hold it on.  As an added layer to hold it more tightly in place and make it stronger we also used good old electrical tape.  I still have about ten of those old homemade blow-darts, but these new larger ones look much nicer and work even better.

 

 






Homemade Revenge of the Ninja Replica

 

FUKIYA

 

Another pretty easy to make FUKIYA replica that I made in 2018 was this tribute to the cool bamboo one first seen in REVENGE OF THE NINJA. Hollowing it out was a bit of a challenge especially as it's not perfectly straight, but the look is what I was after.  Same with the blow-darts which were made using large sewing needles and plastic beads.  Definitely not as arrow dynamic as the cone-shaped darts, but it's all about the look.

 

 

 






Homemade The Master Replicas

 

KAMA ⬌ KUSARI-GAMA

 

Out of all of the replicas I've ever made I think that these might be the best.  Not only is the KAMA one of my absolute favorite weapons, but the shiny metal-bladed ones with the black handles that were so memorably used by Sho in THE MASTER - "Fat Tuesday" and in so many of Sho's other ninja projects, were, and are still, the nicest looking ones I've ever seen.  These magnificent homemade replicas were made by me and my dad well over 30 years ago.  The stainless steel blades were a nightmare to cut with a hacksaw, but they came out amazing.  My ninja buddy had a pair of store bought ones with black blades and redwood handles so we were able to get the shape of the blade and dimensions off of those.

 

 

And because I love the KUSARI-GAMA just as much as the KAMA, I of course had to make it so that one KAMA could easily be turned into a KUSARI-GAMA by attaching an eyelet screw at the bottom of one of the handles so that it could be hooked up to a weighted chain via a quick-link.

 

 

Originally the weight I put at the end of the chain was, believe it or not, a black spray-painted golf ball, but when I restored my precious homemade Sho tribute KAMA ⬌ KUSARI-GAMA a couple of years ago I replaced it with a metal weight taken from an old broken horse harness that I my dad had.  Seemed much more appropriate to have something a real ninja might have used centuries ago rather than a modern golf ball.

 

 






Homemade The Master Replica

 

KUSARI-GAMA

 

As mentioned in the section intro, I still also have the original KUSARI-GAMA I made back when me and my ninja buddy made aluminum weapons in his dad's shop.  I'm not sure what it was about that aluminum but it wasn't pristine when were working with it and has progressively gotten worse over time, so when I restored all of my old weapons I repainted the blade with silver spray paint, just I had done originally.  My first attempt at making a homemade replica of the KUSARI-GAMA seen in THE MASTER - "Kunoichi" might not have been my best (the blade is a bit too fat), but I'm really happy I still have it.

 

 






Homemade Revenge of the Ninja Replica

 

OSAKI KAMA ⬌ KUSARI-GAMA

 

My final homemade KAMA / KUSARI-GAMA is this long-handled tribute to the awesome one used exclusively in REVENGE OF THE NINJA, that I made a couple of years ago.  Not sure why I didn't make this one back in the day, but it was probably because of how difficult it had been to cut the blades out of stainless steel.  This time around I had the luxury of a jigsaw and some much easier to cut aluminum.  I got the shape of the blade by blowing up a screenshot from the film and made the handle from a long black powder-coated metal broom handle that I stumbled upon at a local hardware store and which first inspired me to make this replica.

 

 

The toughest part was figuring out how to make the blade foldable and how I could attach it to the hollow handle.  Ultimately what I did was attach the blade to a small wooden rod with a single rivet that would allow the blade to move up and down and then to insert this wooden rod into the top of the pipe.  Before that I also cut one side of the pipe to allow the blade to move and to fold nicely into the handle as it did on the one seen in the film.

 

 

The added bonus to using a short but solid wood rod was that it also allowed me to attach an eyelet to the bottom of it so that the long chain could be attached.  I made sure to use the same type of chain that the original REVENGE OF THE NINJA one had, and I even made the same kind of weight, which was nothing more than wood covered by a rubber cap that's used on the legs of chairs and tables to protect the floor from being scratched.  This weight slides perfectly into the end of the pipe and holds the chain up nicely inside.  Pretty ingenious actually.

 

 






Homemade 9 Deaths of the Ninja Replica

 

KYOKETSU-SHŌGE

 

Here's yet another vintage homemade replica masterpiece, if I do say so myself.  This tribute to the awesome KYOKETSU-SHŌGE used by Sho in 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA was once again made by me and my dad well over three decades ago.  This was definitely another nightmare to cut out of stainless steel using a hacksaw blade, but somehow we did it.

 

 

My ninja buddy had a store bought model, all black metal with a swivel chain hookup as I recall, so we thankfully had another good one to trace for the blade shape.  The handle is made of wood and I attached a very nice rope to it.  The final touch was the chrome ring which came from one of my dad's horse harnesses.

 

 

Although Sho famously used a KYOKETSU-SHŌGE in ENTER THE NINJA, I much preferred the one used in 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA, which was also sold by SHO KOSUGI NINJA ENTERPRISES, so that's why my tribute replica was made to resemble it.

 






Homemade Pray For Death Replica

 

NUNCHAKU-YARI

 

This next homemade replica is another that's well over 30 years old.  The ball-bearing swivel chain was taken from one of the foam-padded NUNCHAKU that were seemingly sold everywhere in the 1980s, and which I used in my martial arts classes.  I designated this as my homemade replica to the NUNCHAKU-YARI (Nunchaku Spears) used in PRAY FOR DEATH because it too used this same type of ball-bearing swivel chain, whereas the very similar one used on screen in THE MASTER - "Max" did not (although the one in the promotional photos for the series did).

 

 






Homemade Rage of Honor Replica

 

NUNCHAKU-KUGI

 

This next replica of the wickedly cool NUNCHAKU-KUGI (Nunchaku Spikes) that Sho specially designed and used in RAGE OF HONOR is one I'd been planning to make in the late 1980s early 1990s, but never got around to.  Instead I remember I connected two metal pens together with a chain and used it in my university classes.  Anyway, I finally made a proper replica in 2019 using two large metal spikes, two very small eyelet hooks, and a small chain.  This one is definitely a display item only.  Definitely wouldn't trust the chain not to break while swinging these spikes around.  It looks cool though, which is all that really matters.

 

 






Custom-modified Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi Replica

 

NINJA TESSEN

 

This next one is such a minor customization that I almost didn't included it.  The first NINJA TESSEN (Ninja Fan) pictured below featuring the jump kick graphic is one of the knock-offs.  It is one of the very few Sho knock-off items I ever bought.  Anyway, having had this for about ten years and liking to have a pair of every weapon I thought it'd be cool to have a fan like it that would just have the large NINJA kanji characters, which is what was on the reverse side of the genuine SK NINJA FAN.  The knock-off fan only has cloth and graphics on one side, so by getting another single-faced fan I'd sort of have an original two-faced SK NINJA FAN split into two single-faced fans.

 

 

So with that in mind I purchased one of the new fans being sold on AliExpress, scanned and printed the NINJA kanji characters the size I needed, and then created a stencil which I overlaid over the purchased fan.  Applied some white spray paint over the stencil and presto I now have a custom-modified NINJA TESSEN similar to the one seen in NINJA THEATER HOSTED BY SHO KOSUGI and in various photoshoots, and sold by SHO KOSUGI NINJA ENTERPRISES.

 






Custom-modified Enter the Ninja Replica

 

TEKAGI

 

This is yet another example of how I've custom-modified some of my purchased weapons in order to make them look more like proper Sho replicas.  I purchased this mass-produced pair of TEKAGI a few years ago because, as we will soon see, I'd transformed my original pair into other Sho tribute weapons many years ago.  As with pretty much all of these cheap TEKAGI, mine came with ugly nylon straps, so when I started to restore all of my old weapons, my dad and I made some very nice leather straps for them attached with rivets just like the ones used by Sho in ENTER THE NINJA and REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 

 

 






Homemade Rage of Honor Replicas

 

TEKAGI-YA

 

As I just revealed above, my original TEKAGI were transformed into other Sho tribute weapons, and here they are.  I know I've said this many times before, but this is definitely another one of my favorites.  I think of all of the weapons that Sho specially designed for his ninja projects, this might be my absolute favorite.  I can still remember my reaction when I saw him pull out these incredible TEKAGI-YA (Tekagi-Arrows) in RAGE OF HONOR. I'm not sure how long it took me to decide to make myself a pair of these but it wasn't very long.

 

 

The homemade ARROWS were painstakingly cut out of stainless steel with a hacksaw and then attached to the back of the TEKAGI's band with two rivets. I remember I was pretty stoked when I finished putting these together and everyone I showed them to were pretty impressed.  Moreover, our martial arts school used to put on demos for the public and one time my ninja buddy and I did a fight demo with me armed with these and him armed with I think my pair of TE-YARI (hand spears), and to this day I still remember the crowd's reaction when I pulled these out from inside my ninja gi jacket.  It was the same gasp of awe and delight that I had the first time I saw the original ones in RAGE OF HONOR.

 

 

My part-homemade part-customized TEKAGI-YA (or SHUKO-YA) aren't exactly identical to the ones Sho wielded in RAGE OF HONOR and in a cool demonstration in the October 1986 issue of Inside Kung-Fu magazine", because, for one thing, they're not all silver.  The reason for that is that I've never been able to bring myself to paint them and lose the great stainless steel look on the blades contrasted with the black claws and nice leather straps (which were also recently added - replacing the old nylon straps).  Regardless of the differences I still really love my homemade custom-modified TEKAGI-YA replicas.

 






Custom-modified Revenge of the Ninja Replica

 

KAGINAWA

 

This next custom-modified replica happened completely by accident.  While I was killing time waiting for the bus a couple of years ago I went into a discount variety store and started browsing the aisles when suddenly I spotted these all-metal gardening rakes on a shelf that looked exactly like the KAGINAWA (Grappling Hook) that Cho Osaki (Sho) flings out to stop his fall off of the building in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.  Needless to say, I couldn't resist and I immediately bought one and proceeded to customize it to turn it into a proper replica grappling hook.

 

 

It may come as a surprise to you but this "grappling hook" which was also used in NINJA III: THE DOMINATION and with some slight variations in THE MASTER, was not a grappling hook at all but was indeed a small gardening rake just like this one, so I was basically just replicating what Mikio Sankey or Sho must've done when creating these movie props.

 

 

In order to make my custom-modified "Revenge of the Ninja" KAGINAWA replica I cut the shaft to the right length and filled the inside of the hollow pipe with Gorilla glue.  I then pounded in a round piece of wood into the pipe so that I could then attach a large eyelet screw to the end of it that could then be attached to a 33' polypropylene rope that I purchased on Ebay.  I also sanded off all of the bumpy green paint on the metal rake and then when everything was smooth and nice I spray painted the whole thing glossy black and then added a clear coat.  Looks fantastic and very realistic but I would not use it as a real grappling hook, just like I wouldn't have used the prop one either.  It's all movie make believe after all.

 






Homemade Sho Kosugi Ninja Enterprises Replica

 

KOSUGI KAGINAWA

 

Even before I'd finished my first KAGINAWA (Grappling Hook) replica, I knew I was going to also make a homemade replica of the similar but even cooler version that was one of two different models sold in the SHO KOSUGI NINJA ENTERPRISES catalog.  Knowing that I could use one of those great metal gardening rakes as a starting point I bought another couple of them so that I'd have a spare one in case I screwed up and also because I needed pieces of the rake for the joining bars.  Believe it or not the KOSUGI KAGINAWA you see below is the result of pounding and bending the hooks on a gardening rake identical to the one above.  It took quite bit of pounding with a mallet and hitting the hooks over pipes and in a vice but I finally managed to get it close to where I needed it to be.

 

 

After that, in order to get it to look just right, I also did a bunch of plastic surgery on it, or more accurately wood filler surgery.  I know it sounds strange to use wood filler on metal, but it works amazingly well and once it dries it's surprisingly hard.  And like I said before, these are display pieces only as they wouldn't hold the weight of a puppy, much less a human being.  The two angled bars that connect the 3 hooks together came from the extra rake that I bought.  I pounded/wedged them into place and to make sure they'd never move I added some Gorilla glue.  After that it was a lot of sanding and molding and sanding again.  The eyelet screw was once again attached to a piece of wood that was glued and pounded into the pipe.  I attached another 33' rope to it and it was all done.  Definitely a lot more work to build this grappling hook, but it came out great and is a very close match to the one in the SHO KOSUGI NINJA ENTERPRISES catalog.  Love it.

 

 

Ironically I'd purchased a real and useable grappling hook on Ebay maybe six months to a year prior to this because it looked just like the other model in the SHO KOSUGI NINJA ENTERPRISES catalog.  I spray painted it black then added a clear coat and bought a 33' foot rope to officially complete my KOSUGI KAGINAWA replica collection.

 

 






Custom-modified Revenge of the Ninja Replica

 

NAWABASHIGO

 

Last, and perhaps least, a couple of years ago I also purchased a rope ladder on amazon.com.  The rungs on it were good and solid but the rope left a lot to be desired.  I still had a very good strong black climbing rope that we used to climb cliffs and trees during ninja training exercises, so I removed the rope from the ladder, painted all of the rungs, and then connected my old ninja climbing rope to custom-make my final Sho tribute ninja climbing tool, the REVENGE OF THE NINJA-inspired NAWABASHIGO (Rope Ladder).