SHO KOSUGI: WEAPONS MASTER, WEAPONS DESIGNER


NINJA, SAMURAI, AND KOBUDO WEAPONS


STAFFS and SPEARS

 

  BŌ () Long Staff

 

  JŪMONJI-YARI (十文字槍) Cross Spear

 

  JŌ () Medium Staff

 

  YAJŪMONJI-YARI (矢十文字槍) Arrow-Cross Spear

 

  HANBŌ (半棒) Half Staff

 

  SANSA-SŌ (三叉槍) Three-pronged Spear

 

  SHOBŌ (ショボウ) Small Stick

  NUNTE-BŌ (ヌンテ棒) Nunte Spear

 

  TONFA (トンファー) Tonfa Baton

 

  NAGINATA (薙刀) Samurai Glaive

  TONFA-YARI (トンファー槍) Tonfa Spear

 

  SASUMATA (刺股) Spear Fork

 

  TE-YARI (手槍) Hand Spear

  SHAKUJŌ (錫杖) Staff with Metal Rings

 

  YARI () Straight Spear

  SHIKOMI-SHAKUJŌ (仕込錫杖) Shakujo with Hidden Blade

 

  KAMA-YARI (鎌槍) Two-Sickle Spear

 

  SHINOBI-ZUE (忍び杖) Sticks with Hidden Weapons

 

  TSUKI-YARI (月槍) Moon Spear

 

  SHIKOMI-FUE (仕込笛) Flute with Hidden Blade

 

  SHI-JI YARI (し字槍) Shi-character Spear

  SHIKAKE-TSUE (仕掛け杖) Trick Walking Cane

 

  HA-YARI (刃槍) Sword Spear

 

  KAKUSHI (角指) Small Hidden Spike

 

 

(棒), (杖), & HANBŌ(半棒)

The , , & HANBŌ are staff weapons used in Okinawan and Japanese martial arts.  The (long staff) is typically around 6 feet long and 1 inch (25 mm) in diameter and used in Okinawan martial arts, while being adopted into Japanese arts such as Bōjutsu.  The typically has a length ranging from about 50 inches to 56 inches and a diameter of about 1 inch.  It is closely linked historically with the Japanese sword.  The HANBŌ (half bō) is an approximately 90 centimeters (35 in) long staff, half the length of a typical BŌ, with a diameter between 0.94 & 1.18 inch (2.4 & 3 cm).


Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


During the unforgettable opening scenes in REVENGE OF THE NINJA one of the Red Ninja wielded a distinctive silver .

 

 

A number of staffs were also seen on the wall of Cho Osaki's dojo.  In one particularly memorable scene, Cathy (Ashley Ferrare) forgoes the 2 HANBŌ at the top and grabs what looks to be the same silver-colored during her attack on little Kane Osaki (Kane Kosugi).

 

 

 

After evading Cathy's repeated attacks, Kane manages to make his way to the opposite end of the dojo where he grabs an octagon-shaped natural wood HANBŌ to defend himself.  Of course, this short staff turns out to be more than it appears, as we will see later in the article.

 

 

 

During the climactic finale, the silver-masked ninja Braden (doubled by Sho) uses an octagon-shaped black which is more than it appears to be.

 

 

Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


Sho wielded a round natural wood in his battle against possessed monks in NINJA III: THE DOMINATION.

 

 

The Master - ''Max'' (1984)


In the first episode of THE MASTER, Lee Van Cleef's character John Peter McAllister (doubled by Sho) wielded a wooden while training his new ninja student Max (Timothy Van Patten).

 

 

 

 

The Master - ''Hostages'' (1984)


In the 4th episode of THE MASTER, Okasa (Sho) wielded a BAMBOO JŌ that, as we previously saw, turned out to be a BAMBOO SHIKOMIZUE.

 

 

 

 

The Master - ''High Rollers'' (1984)


This next staff, first seen in the 5th episode of THE MASTER, is quite different.  Although the TELESCOPIC BATON (aka EXPANDABLE BATON) is not technically speaking a ninja, samurai, or kobudo weapon, it was one of The Master's ninja weapons and was essentially used like a HANBŌ. This expandable and collapsible baton is typically composed of a cylindrical outer shaft containing telescoping inner shafts (typically 2 or 3, depending on the design) that lock into each other when expanded.  The shafts are usually made of steel, but lightweight baton models may have their shafts made from other materials such as aluminum alloy.

 

 

 

 

The Master - ''The Good, the Bad and the Priceless'' (1984)


Some much more traditional HANBŌ were seen in the 8th episode of THE MASTER, where two henchmen wielded them against The Master (doubled by Sho).

 

 

 

The Master - ''Kunoichi'' (1984)


The TELESCOPIC BATON made its second and final appearance as a ninja HANBŌ substitute in the 9th episode of THE MASTER, where Max Keller (Timothy Van Patten) takes it from The Master's case of ninja weapons to challenge Okasa (Sho).

 

 

 

 

The Master - ''The Java Tiger'' (1984)


A makeshift BAMBOO JŌ was used by a henchman and then by The Master (doubled by Sho) in the 10th episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

 

 

The Master - ''Failure to Communicate'' (1984)


A black was wielded by The Master (Lee Van Cleef and his fight double Sho) in a training scene in the 11th episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

 

 

The Master - ''A Place to Call Home'' (1984)


A black was wielded by Bobby (Kane Kosugi) in a practice duel with The Master (doubled by Sho) in the final episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

 

 

 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Bo'' (1986)


Sho introduced and wielded the in a NINJA THEATER HOSTED BY SHO KOSUGI segment focused on the weapon.

 

 

 

 

 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Shikomizue'' (1986)


were also frequently used by Sho's ninja opponents in various segments of NINJA THEATER HOSTED BY SHO KOSUGI.

 

 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Yari'' (1986)


 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Manriki-gusari'' (1986)


 

 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Ninja Fan'' (1986)


 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Nunchaku'' (1986)


 

 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Tonfa'' (1986)


 

Pray For Death (1985)


Although seen only from a distance, one of the grey ninja who battles "The Black Ninja" (Sho) was armed with a black in PRAY FOR DEATH .

 

 

Rage of Honor (1987)


Sho wielded a HANBŌ in a scene where he sneaks into an Argentinan warehouse in RAGE OF HONOR.

 

 

And, in a perfect example of using what's on hand as a weapon, some large tree branches were later used as makeshift in the film.

 

 

 

琉球の風 第9回 冊封使の季節
  Dragon Spirit - ''Investiture Mission'' (1993)


Ryukyuan guards were armed with in the 9th episode of the Japanese period TV series DRAGON SPIRIT.

 

 

 

琉球の風 第13回 首里城明け渡し
  Dragon Spirit - ''Surrender of Shuri Castle'' (1993)


Rukyuan martial artists trained by Shintenpū (Sho), along with Ryukyuan villagers, used to defend themselves against invading Japanese samurai in the 13th episode of DRAGON SPIRIT.

 

 

 

ザ・格闘王
The Fighting King (1994)


A number of were used and seen on dojo walls in THE FIGHTING KING directed by Sho and starring his son Kane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ザ・格闘王2
The Fighting King 2 (1994)


A pipe-like HANBŌ was the weapon of choice of one of the villains in THE FIGHTING KING 2 also directed by Sho and starring his son Kane.

 

 

 

Sho Kosugi Self-Defense and Ninjaerobics (1996)


As seen in various clips recently posted on Sho's Instagram accounts, a number of were used by Sho and his opponents in his SHO KOSUGI SELF-DEFENSE AND NINJAEROBICS instructional TV series.

 

 

 

 

 

 


The Ninjas From Hollywood Japan Tour 2002


were used by various characters, including Sho's son Shane, in the stage production THE NINJAS FROM HOLLYWOOD JAPAN TOUR 2002.

 

 

 


Ninja Assassin (2009)


Somer of Ozunu's students could be seen practicing with BAMBOO BŌ during a tender scene between Kiriko (Anna Sawai) and Raizo (Joon Lee) in NINJA ASSASSIN.

 

 


Yin-Yang Code: The Drums of Tenkai-Bo (2017)


were depicted in a drawing featured in Sho and co-author Warren Chaney's YIN-YANG CODE: THE DRUMS OF TENKAI-BO novel.

 





 

SHOBŌ(ショボウ)

The SHOBŌ is a small ninja weapon, similar to the Emeici of China, used for striking pressure points on an opponent.  It was a piece of wood or metal that was gripped by the wielder and was hung by a ring worn on the middle finger.  The ends were exposed and were usually sharp, which made them effective for paralyzing and even killing enemies quickly and without leaving a trace.  They were easily hidden in the fists and were very lightweight and portable, and usually used in pairs.  A variation on the SHOBŌ featuring interchangeable end parts was called the SHO-SHIN-BŌ.


Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


A pair of brown blunt ended SHOBŌ were briefly seen in Braden's secret ninja weapons cabinet in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 

 

Later in the film, Braden (Arthur Roberts) transfers a different pair of shiny metal SHOBŌ from his weapons cabinet to his leather carrying case.

 

 

A pair of SHOBŌ (or more likely SHO-SHIN-BŌ) with arrow-shaped blades at each end were seen in Cho Osaki's secret box of ninja weapons.

 

 

Oddly, an identical pair of these arrow-bladed SHOBŌ were used by Braden in a brutal and unforgettable scene near the end of the film.

 

 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Shobo'' (1986)


An awesome pair of SHOBŌ featuring an arrow-shaped blade at one end and a small kama (sickle-like) blade at the other end was the subject of a segment of NINJA THEATER HOSTED BY SHO KOSUGI. Despite the title and description of it in the segment, this cool little weapon featured interchangeable ends thus making it a SHO-SHIN-BŌ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sho Kosugi Self-Defense and Ninjaerobics (1996)


Another SHO-SHIN-BŌ with small kama-like blades at both ends was used by Sho in at least one segment of his SHO KOSUGI SELF-DEFENSE AND NINJAEROBICS TV series.

 

 

 

 





 

TONFA(トンファー)

The TONFA is a close combat Okinawan weapon.  It consists of a stick with a perpendicular handle attached a third of the way down the length of the stick, and is about 15-20 inches (380-510 mm) long.  It was traditionally made from red or white oak and wielded in pairs.  The tonfa is believed to have originated in either China or Southeast Asia where it is used in the respective fighting styles.  Many modern law enforcement departments use tonfa-derived side-handle batons such as the Monadnock PR-24, to augment the less-lethal tools of an officer.


Enter the Ninja (1981)


Pairs of TONFA were wielded by Hasegawa (Sho) in two separate but equally memorable weapons demonstrations in ENTER THE NINJA.

 

 

 

The white ninja Cole also used a single TONFA to great but undoubtedly painful effect to take down an armed guard.

 

 

Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


TONFA were amongst the various weapons on display on the walls of Cho Osaki's dojo in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 

 

Similar to how the weapon had been used in ENTER THE NINJA, TONFA were used by Braden to take out a guard in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 

 

 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Tonfa'' (1986)


The TONFA was one of the featured weapons in the NINJA THEATER HOSTED BY SHO KOSUGI home video series.

 

 

 

琉球の風 第4回 若夏の恋
  Dragon Spirit - ''Young Love'' (1993)


At a meeting with Jana-Uekata (Toru Emori) and Kosho (Norihei Miki) in the 4th episode of DRAGON SPIRIT, Sho's character Shintenpū listens attentively while closely examining one of his TONFA.

 

 

 

琉球の風 第9回 冊封使の季節
  Dragon Spirit - ''Investiture Mission'' (1993)


Armed with a pair of TONFA, Shintenpū has a practice duel against his student Ken (Kane Kosugi) in the 9th episode of DRAGON SPIRIT.

 

 

琉球の風 第11回 父子の悲劇
  Dragon Spirit - ''A Father's Sorrow'' (1993)


Armed only with a pair of TONFA, Shintenpū battles and defeats attacking samurai armed with katana in the 11th episode of DRAGON SPIRIT.

 

 

 

 

琉球の風 第13回 首里城明け渡し
  Dragon Spirit - ''Surrender of Shuri Castle'' (1993)


Armed with a pair of TONFA, Ken (Kane Kosugi) valiantly battles numerous invading samurai in the 13th episode of DRAGON SPIRIT.

 

 

ザ・格闘王
The Fighting King (1994)


Numerous pairs of TONFA can be seen on the dojo walls during the opening training scene in THE FIGHTING KING.

 

 

Sho Kosugi Self-Defense and Ninjaerobics (1996)


Sho wields a pair of TONFA in at least one segment from his SHO KOSUGI SELF-DEFENSE AND NINJAEROBICS instructional TV series.

 

 

 

 

The Ninjas From Hollywood Japan Tour 2002


TONFA were used by one ninja character in Sho's second stage production THE NINJAS FROM HOLLYWOOD JAPAN TOUR 2002.

 

 

 





 

TONFA-YARI(トンファー槍)

The TONFA-YARI is, as the name suggests, a combination of the Okinawan TONFA and the Japanese YARI.  This metal Tonfa-Spear was specially designed by Sho and/or SHO KOSUGI NINJA ENTERPRISES, INC. in the 1980s and features short spear-like blades at both ends of the Tonfa's longer shaft.


The Master - ''Failure to Communicate'' (1984)


Shockingly, the only screen appearance of this ultra-cool TONFA-YARI was in the 11th episode of THE MASTER, which ended up being the last episode with Okasa (Sho).

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

TE-YARI(手槍)

The TE-YARI (hand spear) is a Japanese yari with a short shaft.  Other names for these shorter hand spears were MAKURA YARI (枕槍 "pillow spear") and KAGO YARI (籠槍 "palanquin spear").  During the Edo period Yari were shortened and new ones were made shorter for use in the confined spaces of cities and towns.  These shorter hand spears were used for home protection and shorter ones were used when traveling by palanquin.  Te-yari were also used by samurai law enforcement officers to help capture criminals.

 

The Master - ''Max'' (1984)


The first TE-YARI seen in one of Sho's projects initially appears to be nothing more than a TANBŌ (a short staff between 2 feet and 3 feet in length), but we soon discover that this seemingly simple stick features two hidden spear-blades that spring out with the push of a button.  It subsequently transforms into yet another weapon, which we will look at later in this article.

 

 

 

 

 

The Master - ''The Good, the Bad and the Priceless'' (1984)


A short bamboo TE-YARI is briefly seen in the 8th episode of THE MASTER when it is thrown at and caught by The Master (doubled by Sho).

 

 

 

The Master - ''Kunoichi'' (1984)


This very same bamboo TE-YARI is also seen when Okasa (Sho) steals a tantō from McAllister's case in the 9th episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

The Master - ''Failure to Communicate'' (1984)


In the character's final appearance on the series, Okasa (Sho) wields a pair of TE-YARI in the 11th episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pray For Death (1985)


The spring-loaded double-bladed TE-YARI from the first episode of THE MASTER (or one very similar to it) is used by Akira Saito (Sho) in PRAY FOR DEATH.  Like in its previous appearance, it subsequently transforms into another weapon, which we will look at later in this article.

 

 

 





 

YARI(素)

The YARI, or SU-YARI (素槍), is a traditionally-made Japanese spear, or more specifically, the straight-headed double-edged spear.  This type of blade could cut as well as stab and was sharpened like a razor's edge.  Yari were characterized by a straight blade that could be anywhere from several centimeters to 3 feet or more in length.  The blades were made of the same steel (tamahagane) that traditional Japanese swords and arrow heads were forged with, and were very durable.  A yari shaft can range in length from one meter to upwards of six meters (3.3 to 20 feet).


Enter the Ninja (1981)


The YARI was featured in numerous scenes in ENTER THE NINJA and was one of the primary weapons used by Hasegawa (Sho).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


During the opening scenes of REVENGE OF THE NINJA at least three of the Red Ninja warriors were armed with a YARI.

 

 

 

It's unclear if the two with the black shafts had triangulated blades like the YARI used in ENTER THE NINJA, or if they had flat blades like the one with the white and orange shaft.

 

 

 

Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


Two of Hanjuro's ninja can be seen wielding a YARI in the short flashback scene that remains in NINJA III: THE DOMINATION.   And thanks to this great B&W photo posted by Sho on Instagram, we discovered that Hanjuro also wielded one of these YARI in a deleted portion of the film's finale.

 

 

The Master - ''The Good, the Bad and the Priceless'' (1984)


A YARI with blades at both ends was used by Simon Garrett (George Maharis and fight double Alan Amiel) in the 8th episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

Oddly, the second blade disappeared later in the scene when The Master (doubled by Sho) cut what was obviously a different prop in half.

 

 

 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Yari'' (1986)


The flat-bladed YARI from REVENGE OF THE NINJA returned in the "YARI" segment of NINJA THEATER HOSTED BY SHO KOSUGI.

 

 

 

 

 

Journey of Honor (1991)


A multitude of traditional Japanese YARI were carried and used by numerous samurai in Sho's epic jidai-geki film JOURNEY OF HONOR.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

琉球の風 第1回 海の王国
  Dragon Spirit - ''An Island Kingdom'' (1993)


Multiple YARI were used by both the Ryukyuans and their bandit attackers in the first episode of DRAGON SPIRIT.

 

 

琉球の風 第3回 父子の再会
  Dragon Spirit - ''Reunion'' (1993)


YARI were also used in a great scene in the 3rd episode of DRAGON SPIRIT where Shintenpū (Sho) catches one thrown at him and his group and immediately throws it back at their bandit attackers.

 

 

 

 

琉球の風 第12回 前夜の嵐
  Dragon Spirit - ''Stormy Eve'' (1993)


Ken (Kane Kosugi) wielded a YARI in a great practice duel against his teacher Shintenpū (Sho) in the 12th episode of DRAGON SPIRIT.

 

 

In preparation for the upcoming samurai invasion that was to come, Ryukyu soldiers armed with YARI stood guard ready for battle.

 

 

琉球の風 第13回 首里城明け渡し
  Dragon Spirit - ''Surrender of Shuri Castle'' (1993)


During the samurai invasion of Ryukyu in the 13th episode of DRAGON SPIRIT, YARI were used by both samurai and by the ryukyuans.

 

 

 

 

ザ・格闘王2
The Fighting King 2 (1994)


A number of characters wielded YARI in the second film directed by Sho, THE FIGHTING KING 2, starring his son Kane.

 

 

 

 

 

Sho Kosugi Self-Defense and Ninjaerobics (1996)


The YARI was also featured in a least one segment of the SHO KOSUGI SELF-DEFENSE AND NINJAEROBICS TV series.

 

 

 

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins (1998)


Samurai guards armed with YARI are amongst the opponents a player encounters in the TENCHU: STEALTH ASSASSINS video game.

 

 

 

Yin-Yang Code: The Drums of Tenkai-Bo (2017)


Single-bladed and double-bladed YARI are depicted as being weapons used by Tenkai-Bo and his army of Shugenja in Sho and co-author Warren Chaney's two YIN-YANG CODE novels.

 

 

Yin-Yang Code: Shadow of Tenkai-Bo (2017)






 

KAMA-YARI(鎌槍)

The KAMA-YARI is essentially a yari with a horizontal kama (sickle) blade at the base of the vertical blade to assist in hooking things.  Generally, the hook is large enough to hold the head, neck or jaw (when in a tree) or to hook limbs of a swordsman on the ground; it is different in function in this respect from other types of yari.  The kama-yari was also used to hook horsemen and dismount them.  The kama-yari with two downward-facing kama blades located centrally on each side of the vertical yari blade is reportedly specific to Togakure-ryū Ninpō.

 

Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


The spectacular KAMA-YARI made its first appearance during the opening ninja attack in Sho's second ninja film REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 

 

The KAMA-YARI was of course also prominently on display on one of the walls of Cho Osaki's dojo.

 

 

Unfortunately, one cool scene featuring Cho Osaki (Sho) practicing with the KAMA-YARI was deleted from the theatrical release.  A still photo from the scene was included on the back of the original soundtrack LP and the scene itself was included in the otherwise heavily-edited network TV broadcast of the film.  An old VHS recording of this short scene can be viewed in its entirety on YouTube.

 

 

Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


Although not used in any of the fighting, a number of KAMA-YARI were seen inside the temple on the hill in NINJA III: THE DOMINATION.

 

 

The Master - ''Kunoichi'' (1984)


The KAMA-YARI made its next appearance in the stunning and unforgettable opening sequence of the 9th episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

 

9 Deaths of the Ninja (1985)


Some KAMA-YARI spearheads were part of the wicked and deadly trap encountered by Spike Shinobi (Sho) in 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA.

 

 

Pray For Death (1985)


A KAMA-YARI with an all-black shaft was wielded by one of the grey ninja warriors in "The Black Ninja" TV series segment in PRAY FOR DEATH.

 

 

Akira Saito (Sho) wielded a striking KAMA-YARI with a red and black shaft in his battle against Koga (Robert Ito and his fight double Alan Amiel).

 

 

 

 

 

Rage of Honor (1987)


The awesome KAMA-YARI was wielded for the last time by one of the camouflaged ninja warriors in RAGE OF HONOR.

 

 





 

TSUKI-YARI(月槍)

The TSUKI-YARI (moon spear), also called TSUKI-NARI YARI (月形槍"moon-shaped spear"), was a Japanese polearm that had a crescent blade for a head which could be used for slashing and hooking.  Another unofficial name for this spear is HANGETSU-YARI (半月槍), which means "Half-moon spear".


Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


The TSUKI-YARI made its first appearance when it was wielded by monks in the temple on the hill scenes in NINJA: THE DOMINATION.

 

 

 

9 Deaths of the Ninja (1985)


Multiple TSUKI-YARI spearheads were part of the wicked and deadly trap encountered by Spike Shinobi (Sho) in 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA.

 

 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Bo'' (1986)


A number of Sho's ninja opponents wielded TSUKI-YARI in various segments of NINJA THEATER HOSTED BY SHO KOSUGI.

 

 

 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Kama'' (1986)


 

 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Nunchaku'' (1986)


 





 

SHI-JI YARI(し字槍)

The SHI-JI YARI is a Japanese spear featuring a uniquely shaped spearhead specially designed by Sho and/or SHO KOSUGI NINJA ENTERPRISES, INC. in the 1980s.  The name of the spear was provided by Sho and means "Shi-character" in reference to the spearhead's resemblance to the Japanese Hiragana character SHI (し).


Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


The first appearance of the distinctive SHI-JI YARI was in the temple on the hill scenes in NINJA: THE DOMINATION.

 

 

 

9 Deaths of the Ninja (1985)


A SHI-JI YARI spearhead was part of the wicked and deadly trap encountered by Spike Shinobi (Sho) in 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA.

 

 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Bo'' (1986)


One of Sho's ninja opponents wielded a SHI-JI YARI in the "BO" segment of NINJA THEATER HOSTED BY SHO KOSUGI.

 

 

 





 

HA-YARI(刃槍)

The HA-YARI (sword spear) is, as the name suggests, a cross between a sword and a spear.  It is another unique and atypical Japanese spear (named and possibly designed by Sho) that features a spearhead that is actually the blade of a Ninja-Tō.


Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


The only appearance of this very unique HA-YARI made with a Ninja-Tō blade, was in the temple on the hill scenes in NINJA: THE DOMINATION.

 

 

 

One of the most amazing aspects in this creation of this sword-spear it is that they even included the square tsuba (guard) with the Ninja-Tō blade.

 





 

JŪMONJI-YARI(十文字槍)

The JŪMONJI-YARI ("cross-shaped spear"), also called MAGARI YARI (曲槍 "curved spear"), looked somewhat similar to a trident or partisan and brandished a pair of curved blades around its central lance.  Variations of this spear included the JOGEKAMA YARI (a JŪMONJI-YARI with one side blade pointing down and one side blade pointing upwards), the KARIGATA YARI (a JŪMONJI-YARI with the two side blades pointing down), and the GYAKU YARI (a JŪMONJI-YARI with the two side blades resembling a pair of buffalo horns).

 

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins (1998)


The JŪMONJI-YARI was carried by samurai guards in at least one segment of the TENCHU: STEALTH ASSASSINS video game.

 

 





 

YAJŪMONJI-YARI(矢十文字槍)

The YAJŪMONJI-YARI is a type of Japanese yari specially designed by Sho and/or SHO KOSUGI NINJA ENTERPRISES, INC. in the 1980s.  The design is based on the traditional JŪMONJI-YARI (十文字槍 "cross-shaped spear") style but features YA (矢 "Arrow") shaped points, making it a YAJŪMONJI-YARI ("Arrow-cross-shaped spear").  Two separate versions of the YAJŪMONJI-YARI were created for Sho's ninja projects.


The Master - ''Failure to Communicate'' (1984)


The first of Sho's YAJŪMONJI-YARI was a 4 foot long all-metal version used by his character Okasa in the 11th episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

 

 


Rage of Honor (1987)


The second of Sho's awesome YAJŪMONJI-YARI was a 7 or 8 foot long version made of wood and metal, used exclusively in RAGE OF HONOR.

 

 

 

 





 

SANSA-SŌ(三叉槍)

The SANSA-SŌ is a trident-like three-pronged spear in the JŪMONJI-YARI (十文字槍 "cross-shaped spear") category.  It is used as a harpoon for spear fishing and historically as a polearm.


Journey of Honor (1991)


The lone appearance of the pitchfork-like SANSA-SŌ was in the shipboard battle in JOURNEY OF HONOR.

 

 

 





 

NUNTE-BŌ(ヌンテ棒)

The NUNTE-BŌ is an Okinawan Kobudō spear created by combining the BŌ (long staff) and the NUNTE (a SAI-like weapon with two oppositely-facing curved side prongs and points at both ends, rather than a handle).  This was supposedly accomplished by those who spent most of their time in and around the docks and marshes of Tomari.  Used as a boat tool, the Nunte-bō spear may actually have been a functional device in the harbor areas of Okinawa.


琉球の風 第5回 南海の密約
  Dragon Spirit -'Secret Pact'' (1993)


The NUNTE-BŌ was used by the Ryukyu warriors trained by Shintenpū (Sho) in the 5th and 6th episodes of DRAGON SPIRIT.

 

 

 

琉球の風 第6回 愛の女たち
  Dragon Spirit - ''The Women'' (1993)






 

NAGINATA(薙刀)

The NAGINATA is a Japanese pole weapon similar to the European glaive that consists of a wooden or metal pole with a curved single-edged blade on the end.  NAGINATA often have a round tsuba (handguard) between the blade and shaft.  The 30 cm to 60 cm long blade is forged in the same manner as traditional Japanese swords.  The blade has a long nakago (tang) which is inserted in the shaft.  NAGINATA were originally used by the samurai class of feudal Japan, as well as by ashigaru (foot soldiers) and sōhei (warrior monks).  The naginata is the iconic weapon of the onna-bugeisha, a type of female warrior belonging to the Japanese nobility.

 

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins (1998)


Despite the slightly atypical look, the NAGINATA is used by a variety of opponents in the TENCHU: STEALTH ASSASSINS video game.

 

 

 

 

Ninja Assassin (2009)


Wooden practice NAGINATA were amongst the weapons seen on the dojo walls in some flashback training scenes in NINJA ASSASSIN.

 





 

SASUMATA(刺股)

The SASUMATA (spear fork) is a pole weapon used by the samurai class and their retainers in feudal Japan.  Although some sources place its origin in the Muromachi period (1336-1573), most sources discuss its use in the Edo period (1603-1868) where the samurai, who were in charge of law enforcement, would use the sasumata to restrain and arrest suspected criminals uninjured.  The sasumata had a long hardwood pole usually around two meters in length with sharp barbs or spines attached to metal strips on one end of the pole to keep the person being captured from grabbing the pole.  The opposite end of the pole would often have a metal cap, or ishizuki like those found on naginata and other pole weapons.  The head of the sasumata would be used to catch around the neck, arms, legs, or joints of a suspect and detain him until samurai officers could close in and apprehend him.

 

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins (1998)


The SASUMATA was carried by a number of guards/opponents in the TENCHU: STEALTH ASSASSINS video game.

 

 





 

SHAKUJŌ(錫杖)

The SHAKUJŌ is a type of staff topped with metal rings traditionally carried by Buddhist monks.  As the metal rings would rattle while a monk was walking, it was originally used as a noisemaker to announce his presence and frighten away animals, in order to alert insects and other living beings of the monk's passage, so they might get out of the way, and thus prevent him from unintentionally harming any living creature.  The shakujō was later adapted for use as a rhythmic instrument during chanting and sutra recitation, and for use as a formidable weapon in the hands of a shugenja (Buddhist monk warrior).  It could be used as a staff to block and parry attacks, and the metal rings at the tip could be slammed into an opponent's face to momentarily blind him.  At the very tip of the metal finial is a sharp point which can be used to attack weak points of the body.  The bottom end of the shakujō has a metal butt which can be used to thrust and hit an opponent.

 

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins (1998)


SHAKUJŌ are carried by a number of monk-like opponents encountered in the TENCHU: STEALTH ASSASSINS video game.

 

 

 

 

Yin-Yang Code: The Drums of Tenkai-Bo (2017)


Although neither a film nor TV series adaptation of Sho's YIN-YANG CODE saga has yet to come to pass, we did get some very good visuals of a number of SHAKUJŌ in some fantastic illustrations by Japanese artist Shinobu Ohno and co-author Warren Channey in both of Sho's novels.

 

 

Yin-Yang Code: Shadow of Tenkai-Bo (2018)


 





 

SHIKOMI-SHAKUJŌ(仕込錫杖)

As the name suggests, a SHIKOMI-SHAKUJŌ is a shakujō staff with a blade hidden inside its shaft that can be used as a spear or sword.


Yin-Yang Code: Shadow of Tenkai-Bo (2018)


Tenkai-Bo was shown to use a pair of SHIKOMI-SHAKUJŌ in some great drawings featured in YIN-YANG CODE: SHADOW OF TENKAI-BO.

 





 

SHINOBI-ZUE(忍び杖)

The SHINOBI-ZUE (ninja cane) had the appearance of an ordinary walking stick, farmer's pole, or priest's staff.  The shinobi-zue, which varied in length from three to six or seven feet, were hollowed out to conceal a variety of tools and weapons including blades varying in length from daggers to full swords.  In some cases, part of the shinobi-zue actually formed the handle of the sword, while in others the blade could be removed for throwing.  Special end caps could be removed from long shinobi-zue, exposing a fixed blade and turning the device into a spear.


Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


SHINOBI-ZUE were used in two very memorable scenes in Sho's second ninja film, REVENGE OF THE NINJA.  As previously discussed, the first of these appeared to be a simple HANBŌ until Cathy (Ashley Ferrare) tries to take it from little Kane, revealing it to contain a hidden spear.

 

 

 

The second SHINOBI-ZUE seen in the film was an even cooler long black staff wielded by the silver masked ninja Braden (doubled by Eddie Tse) that contained multiple hidden blades.

 

 

 

 

After using this SHINOBI-ZUE as a spear for most of his battle against Cho Osaki (Sho), this weapon suddenly became a SHIKOMIZUE when Braden pulled out a hidden sword contained inside of it.

 

 

 

Braden later revealed another hidden blade inside this awesome SHINOBI-ZUE when he pulled out a small KOZUKA-like dagger at the end of the section used as the SHIKOMIZUE's handle.

 

 

 

The Master - ''Out-of-Time-Step'' (1984)


A bamboo SHINOBI-ZUE containing a hidden KOZUKA-like dagger was briefly shown to be one of the many ninja weapons inside the case carried by John Peter McAllister (Lee Van Cleef) in the 2nd episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

 

 

A different longer bamboo SHINOBI-ZUE that turns into a spear was wielded by McAllister (Lee Van Cleef and his fight double Sho) in a great rooftop battle against Lika (Soon-Teck Oh and his fight double Alan Amiel).

 

 

 

 

The Master - ''Juggernaut'' (1984)


Another bamboo SHINOBI-ZUE was used by Max Keller (Timothy Van Patten) in the 7th episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

 

 

After wielding this long bamboo pole as a BŌ, Max reveals the hidden blade attached inside one end of it and uses the SHINOBI-ZUE as a spear.

 

 

Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


Another more modern type of SHINOBI-ZUE, used in two of Sho's ninja films, featured a hidden blade that would spring out by pressing a button.

 

 

The first of these spring-loaded SHINOBI-ZUE spears was used by the silver masked ninja Braden (doubled by Sho) in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 

 

 

Rage of Honor (1987)


The 2nd spring-loaded SHINOBI-ZUE spear was used by one of the camouflage ninja warriors fighting Shiro Tanaka (Sho) in RAGE OF HONOR

 

 

As you can see, the spear-like blade on this second version consisted of a long metal spike.

 

 

 

Furthermore, this metal SHINOBI-ZUE also featured another secret section that was quickly revealed after Shiro (Sho) grabs a hold of its shaft.  Pulling down on it, the camouflage ninja separates it into two sections, coming away with a trident-like spear consisting of 3 long metal spikes.

 

 

 





 

SHIKOMI-FUE(仕込笛)

The SHIKOMI-FUE is a traditional Japanese flute (FUE) that comes apart to reveal a hidden blade attached to one part, transforming what appeared to be a simple musical instrument into a small hand spear.


Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


This cool SHIKOMI-FUE was of course memorably used by Grandmother Osaki (Grace Oshita) in her valiant battle against the silver masked ninja (doubled by Sho) in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 

 





 

SHIKAKE-TSUE(仕掛け杖)

The SHIKAKE-TSUE is a walking cane (TSUE) with a hidden detachable spear-like blade attached to the cane's hand grip.  Similar to the shikomi-zue (cane sword), some shikake-tsue also featured other weapons like chains hidden inside the cane's hollowed-out shaft.


Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


A SHIKAKE-TSUE was used by the Rising Sun Shirt Thug (Jogi Hollands) in his fight against Cho Osaki (Sho) in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 

 

 

 

 

9 Deaths of the Ninja (1985)


While disguised as an old man, Spike Shinobi (Sho) used a metal SHIKAKE-TSUE in 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA.

 

 

Note: Although in 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA it appears to be a standard TSUE (walking cane), Sho revealed in a January 2, 2020 YouTube video that this was indeed a SHIKAKE-TSUE (trick cane), as it contained a hidden chain that was unfortunately not revealed in the film.

 

 



 

KAKUSHI(角指)

The KAKUSHI, also known as KAKUTE (角手), is a ring (or some other small device) made of iron or steel that was sometimes used by the ninja, and frequently favored by the kunoichi (female ninja).  They had one to four metal spikes protruding from it that were sometimes dipped in poison.  KAKUSHI were usually worn on the middle finger with the spikes hidden inside the hand, and then used to attack when the enemy least expected.


Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


The KAKUSHI is undoubtedly the smallest "spear" featured in any of Sho's projects.  This tiny weapon, obviously dipped in poison, was used to great effect by a possessed Christie (Lucinda Dickey) in NINJA III: THE DOMINATION.

 

 

 

Ninja Theater Hosted by Sho Kosugi - ''Katana'' (1986)


As seen in this segment of NINJA THEATER HOSTED BY SHO KOSUGI, the Kashira (cap at the end of the handle) on the SK NINJA-TŌ was a removable single-spike KAKUSHI.