SHO KOSUGI: WEAPONS MASTER, WEAPONS DESIGNER


NINJA, SAMURAI, AND KOBUDO WEAPONS


PROJECTILES and EXPLOSIVES

 

  SHURIKEN (手裏剣) Throwing Stars

 

  TETSUBISHI (鉄菱) Caltrops

 

  YUMIYA (弓矢) Bow & Arrow

 

  SHUDO (手弩) Crossbow

 

  FUKIYA (吹き矢) Blowgun

 

  ENGYOKU (煙玉) Smoke Bomb

 

  METSUBUSHI (目潰し) Blinding Powder

 

  KŌKYŪ (鋼球) Steel Balls

 

  TAIMATSU (松明) Torch

 

  KUNAI (苦無) Throwing Knife

 

  KINUNAWA (絹縄) Silken Cord

 

  BAKUYAKU (爆薬) Explosives

 

 

SHURIKEN(手裏剣)

The SHURIKEN is a Japanese weapon consisting of a flattened piece of metal with sharp points upon it.  There are two categories of shuriken: Hira shuriken (also called shaken) and Bō shuriken (stick shuriken).  Hira shuriken are the most popular and best known form of shuriken, and are what's commonly known as "ninja throwing stars".  They feature multiple points and were originally made from a variety of sources, such as coins, carpentry tools, spools, and nail pullers.  They frequently have a hole in the center and possess a thin blade that's usually only sharpened at the tip. Bō shuriken are throwing weapons consisting of a straight iron or steel spike.  The shuriken was not originally designed as a killing weapon, but as a distraction before a fight or escape.

 

SENBAN SHURIKEN
(銛盤 手裏剣)
Moon Shuriken

Enter the Ninja (1981)


Commonly known as the "Moon Shuriken", the SENBAN was originally a carpenter's tool used as a nail puller.  Reportedly a Togakure-ryū weapon, the SENBAN SHURIKEN would be the type most frequently used in Sho's ninja projects, starting with ENTER THE NINJA.

 

 

 

 

Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


 

 

 

 

Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


 

 

The Master - ''State of the Union'' (1984)


 

The Master - ''Hostages'' (1984)


 

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


 

Pray For Death (1985)


 

Rage of Honor (1987)


 



SENBAN SHURIKEN
(銛盤 手裏剣)
SK Ninja Belt Buckle


Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


The SENBAN was also the shuriken featured on Sho's official SK NINJA BELT BUCKLE, first seen in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 

 

 

Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


This first version of the SK NINJA BELT BUCKLE was also used by Sho in the follow-up NINJA III: THE DOMINATION.

 

 

 

9 Deaths of the Ninja (1985)


A second version of the SK NINJA BELT BUCKLE featuring "NINJA" engraved across all 4 points was worn by Sho in 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA.

 

 



SENBAN SHURIKEN
(銛盤 手裏剣)
Moon Dragon Shuriken


Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


A smaller "Moon Dragon" SENBAN SHURIKEN with a comparatively larger round center hole was briefly seen in NINJA III: THE DOMINATION.

 

 

Note: The English name for this and other subsequent Dragon-engraved throwing stars came from Asian World of Martial Arts (AWMA) ads.

 

 



JŪJI SHURIKEN
(十字 手裏剣)
Ninja Shuriken [V1]


Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


Although shuriken are often called "ninja stars", the one most commonly called the "Ninja Shuriken" during the 1980s was the Iga-ryū / Kōga-ryū JŪJI SHURIKEN ("cross-shaped" shuriken).  The first version of this shuriken, featuring straight edges and no center hole, was seen in a number of Sho's ninja projects starting with REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 

 

 

Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


 

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins (1998)


 

 

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


 



JŪJI SHURIKEN
(十字 手裏剣)
Ninja Shuriken [V2]


Ninja Assassin (2009)


A second version of the "Ninja" JŪJI SHURIKEN with a round center hole was used in NINJA ASSASSIN.

 

 



JŪJI SHURIKEN
(十字 手裏剣)
Ninja Dragon Shuriken [V1]


The Master - ''Hostages'' (1984)


Chrome-plated variations of the "Ninja" JŪJI SHURIKEN were featured in Sho's ninja projects, starting with the 4th episode of THE MASTER. Known as the "Ninja Dragon Shuriken" due to it having a dragon engraved around the small center hole, the first version of this shuriken featured kanji characters across each of its 4 slightly-rounded blades.

 

 

 

 

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


 

9 Deaths of the Ninja (1985)


 

Pray For Death (1985)


 

 

 

 



JŪJI SHURIKEN
(十字 手裏剣)
Ninja Dragon Shuriken [V2]


9 Deaths of the Ninja (1985)


A smaller chrome-plated "Ninja Dragon" JŪJI SHURIKEN was also featured in 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA.  This smaller second version did not have individual kanji characters across its 4 points, but did have a dragon coiled around the small center hole.

 

 

Pray For Death (1985)


This same smaller "Ninja Dragon" JŪJI SHURIKEN is perhaps best remembered as the shuriken that was the centerpiece on the awesome ninja kabuto (helmet) worn by Akira Saito (Sho) in PRAY FOR DEATH.

 

 

 

 



JŪJI SHURIKEN
(十字 手裏剣)
Ninja Dragon Shuriken [V3]


Rage of Honor (1987)


A third version "Ninja Dragon" JŪJI SHURIKEN was used by Shiro Tanaka (Sho) in RAGE OF HONOR.  This small chrome-plated shuriken was similar to the previous one except that the blades were completely straight, and it featured a different larger dragon design around the center hole.

 

 

 



JŪJI SHURIKEN
(十字 手裏剣)
Oni Ninja Shuriken


Rage of Honor (1987)


The most unique "Ninja" JŪJI SHURIKEN used in Sho's films is undoubtedly the one seen much too briefly during the Prison Ninja attack on Alan Amiel's character in RAGE OF HONOR.  It's unclear if Sho had a specific name for this shuriken that was specially designed for the film, but as the side prongs/barbs protruding from each side of the blades put me in the mind of oni (demon) horns, I've called this the "Oni Ninja Shuriken".

 

 

Note: We recently got a much better look at this wicked shuriken when Sho included it in a video he posted on YouTube on June 24, 2020.

 

 



IKEDA-RYŪ YAJŪJI SHURIKEN
(池田流 矢十字 手裏剣)
Ikeda-style Arrow-cross Shuriken


Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


Another category of JŪJI (cross) shuriken featured in Sho's various ninja films, TV shows, etc... features arrow-shaped points.  The first of these YAJŪJI SHURIKEN (arrow-cross shuriken), reportedly from the Ikeda-ryū, made its debut in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 

 

 

Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


 

The Master - ''State of the Union'' (1984)


 

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


 



YAGYŪ SHINKAGE-RYŪ YAJŪJI SHURIKEN
(柳生新陰流 矢十字 手裏剣)
Yagyu Shinkage-style Arrow-cross Shuriken


Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


A second YAJŪJI SHURIKEN, said to be from the Yagyū Shinkage-ryū, also made its debut in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 

 

 

 

Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


 

The Master - ''State of the Union'' (1984)


 



TOGAKURE-RYŪ YAJŪJI SHURIKEN
(戸隠流 矢十字)
Togakure-style Arrow-cross Shuriken


The Master - ''Hostages'' (1984)


A third YAJŪJI SHURIKEN, from the Togakure-ryū, was seen in McAllister's weapons briefcase in the 4th, 9th, & 10th episodes of THE MASTER.

 

 

The Master - ''Kunoichi'' (1984)


 

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


 



OZUNU-KE YAJŪJI SHURIKEN
(小角家 矢十字 手裏剣)
Ozunu clan Arrow-cross Shuriken


Ninja Assassin (2009)


A fourth YAJŪJI SHURIKEN was used in NINJA ASSASSIN.  As this unique shuriken doesn't appear to have a precedent prior to this film, I've classified it as an "Ozunu clan" shuriken.

 

 



HAPPO SHURIKEN
(八方 手裏剣)
Eight-point Ninja Shuriken


Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


A number of HAPPO SHURIKEN (eight-point shuriken) were used in Sho's various ninja projects.  The first of these, classified as a weapon of the Iga-ryū, Kōga-ryū, and Togakure-ryū, featured 8 straight blades and made its debut in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 

 

Oddly, it appears that some of these HAPPO SHURIKEN were also attached to sticks to presumably create some rather unique weapons that were hanging on the wall of Cho Osaki's dojo in the film.

 

 

The Master - ''State of the Union'' (1984)


 

The Master - ''Hostages'' (1984)


 

The Master - ''Kunoichi'' (1984)


 

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


 



HAPPO SHURIKEN
(八方 手裏剣)
Eight-point Master Shuriken [V1]


The Master - ''Max'' (1984)


This second HAPPO SHURIKEN is undoubtedly the most popular amongst Sho fans.  Commonly referred to as "The Master Shuriken" due to its frequent appearances in THE MASTER TV series, this cool shuriken actually had two slightly different versions.  The first version, featuring inner-curved blades with blunt points, was seen in the 1st and 10th episodes of the series.

 

 

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


 



HAPPO SHURIKEN
(八方 手裏剣)
Eight-point Master Shuriken [V2]


The Master - ''Max'' (1984)


This second version of "The Master" HAPPO SHURIKEN, with straighter and pointier tips, appeared in virtually every episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

 

 

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


 

The Master - ''State of the Union'' (1984)


 

The Master - ''Hostages'' (1984)


 

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


 

The Master - ''Juggernaut'' (1984)


 

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


 

 

The Master - ''Kunoichi'' (1984)


 

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


 

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


 

The Master - ''Rogues'' (1984)


 

 

 

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


 

 

 

Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


This same second version of "The Master" HAPPO SHURIKEN was also used in NINJA III: THE DOMINATION.

 

 

 



HAPPO SHURIKEN
(八方 手裏剣)
Eight-point Pro Dragon Shuriken [V1]


The Master - ''State of the Union'' (1984)


Another type of HAPPO SHURIKEN called the "Pro Dragon" made its first of multiple Sho ninja project appearances on THE MASTER.

 

 

The Master - ''Kunoichi'' (1984)


 

 

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


 

Pray For Death (1985)


 

Rage of Honor (1987)


 

 

 



HAPPO SHURIKEN
(八方 手裏剣)
Eight-point Pro Dragon Shuriken [V2]


The Master - ''Hostages'' (1984)


A smaller second version "Pro Dragon" HAPPO SHURIKEN was seen on the 4th episode of THE MASTER and in 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA.

 

 

The Master - ''Kunoichi'' (1984)


 

9 Deaths of the Ninja (1985)


 



HAPPO SHURIKEN
(八方 手裏剣)
Eight-point Superior Dragon Shuriken


The Master - ''Hostages'' (1984)


Another HAPPO SHURIKEN called "Superior Dragon" was also seen on the 4th episode of THE MASTER and in 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA.

 

 

9 Deaths of the Ninja (1985)


 

 

 



BŌ SHURIKEN
(棒 手裏剣)
Straight Shuriken


Enter the Ninja (1981)


The most basic shuriken is of course the BŌ SHURIKEN.  Often nothing more than a straight stick-like spike or blade with a single sharpened tip, this shuriken is nevertheless as deadly and useful, as seen in its first appearances in ENTER THE NINJA.

 

 

 

 

Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


A few different types of BŌ SHURIKEN were featured in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.  The first of these were the KOZUKA-like ones seen in Braden's ninja briefcase and in Cho Osaki's secret box of ninja weapons.

 

 

Note: Slightly different versions of these were later sold as SK NINJA KNIVES by SHO KOSUGI NINJA ENTERPRISES.

 

 

More typical spike-like BŌ SHURIKEN could also be seen inside Cho's secret ninja weapons collection, along with dart-like ones with red tassels.

 

 

 

Additional spike-like BŌ SHURIKEN, hidden inside the tsuka (handle) of Braden's ninja-tō, were used to pry open a door in the film.

 

 

Braden also exacted his revenge on Caifano (Mario Gallo) by throwing a SK NINJA KNIVES BŌ SHURIKEN through his hand.

 


The Master - ''Rogues'' (1984)


Although this next ninja prying tool is not technically a BŌ SHURIKEN, it seemed to be best place to classify it because, as seen in numerous photos above, shuriken were often used as tools to pick locks, pry open doors, boxes, trunks, cabinets, etc... This was particularly true on THE MASTER where shuriken were definitely more than just throwing weapons and were often used as prying tools.  This specific prying tool was jokingly referred to as a "ninja can opener" on the 12th episode of the series.

 

 

 

Pray For Death (1985)


Akira Saito (Sho) uses a SK NINJA KNIVES BŌ SHURIKEN to essentially castrate the monster who raped his wife in PRAY FOR DEATH.

 

 

Rage of Honor (1987)


This cool spring-loaded spike is another BŌ SHURIKEN-like tool that Shiro Tanaka (Sho) used to pick his jail cell door in RAGE OF HONOR.

 

 

 

 

Interestingly, one of the "Prison Ninja" (Masafumi Sakanashi & Kiyatsu Shimoyama) also used a BŌ SHURIKEN-like tool to get into another cell.

 

 

The Ninjas From Hollywood Japan Tour 2002


Hawk (Shane Kosugi) threw (or more accurately simulated throwing) a BŌ SHURIKEN in THE NINJAS FROM HOLLYWOOD JAPAN TOUR 2002.

 

 



MATSUBA SHURIKEN
(松葉 手裏剣)
Pine needle Shuriken [V1]


Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


Another very distinctive type of BŌ SHURIKEN is the MATSUBA SHURIKEN (pine needle shuriken).  This wicked little shuriken, also known as the IGA-RYŪ MATSUBA-GATA (伊賀流 松葉型  "Iga-ryū pine needle form") shuriken and as the YOSHIO-RYŪ ENBI-KEN (義尾流 燕尾剣  "Yoshio-style swallowtail blade"), appeared in a number of Sho's ninja projects starting with REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 

 

 

Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


 

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


 



MATSUBA SHURIKEN
(松葉 手裏剣)
Pine needle Shuriken [V2]


The Master - ''Kunoichi'' (1984)


A unique second version MATSUBA SHURIKEN featuring a serrated saw-like edge was memorably revealed in the 9th episode of THE MASTER.

 

 



DAI MATSUBA SHURIKEN
(大松葉 手裏剣)
Large Pine needle Shuriken


Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


Larger MATSUBA SHURIKEN were seen in Braden's ninja briefcase and in Cho Osaki's secret box of ninja weapons in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

 

 

 



DAI TATAMI-JŪJI SHURIKEN
(大たたみ十字 手裏剣)
Large Folding Cross Shuriken [V1]


The Master - ''State of the Union'' (1984)


The most atypical shuriken featured in Sho's ninja projects were undoubtedly the extra-large folding ones specially designed by Sho and/or SHO KOSUGI NINJA ENTERPRISES.  The first of these was the DAI TATAMI-JŪJI SHURIKEN (Large Folding Cross Shuriken), which appeared on the 3rd and 4th episodes of THE MASTER.

 

 

 

The Master - ''Hostages'' (1984)


 



DAI TATAMI-JŪJI
(大たたみ十字)
Large Folding Cross Shuriken [V2]


9 Deaths of the Ninja (1985)


A second version "Large Folding Cross" DAI TATAMI-JŪJI SHURIKEN was briefly used by Spike Shinobi (Sho) in 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA.

 

 

 



DAI TATAMI-ROPPŌ SHURIKEN
(大たたみ六方 手裏剣)
Large Folding Six-Spikes Shuriken


Pray For Death (1985)


A truly spectacular DAI TATAMI-ROPPŌ SHURIKEN (Large Folding Six-Spikes Shuriken) was used by Akira Saito (Sho) in PRAY FOR DEATH.

 

 

 



YONSA NIBAI MORISAKI SHURIKEN
(四叉二倍銛 手裏剣)
Four-pronged Double Harpoon Shuriken


The Master - ''Hostages'' (1984)


This next Sho creation, which I've called YONSA NIBAI MORISAKI SHURIKEN (Four-pronged Double Harpoon Shuriken), seems to have evolved from a couple of mysterious four-pronged harpoon-like items in McAllister's weapons briefcase in the 4th, 9th, and 10th episodes of THE MASTER.

 

 

The Master - ''Kunoichi'' (1984)


 

 

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


We get our best look at these in the 10th episode of THE MASTER, but these four-spiked weapons or tools are never explained on the series.

 

 

When Shelly Fairchild (Cynthia Cypert) asks Max (Timothy Van Patten) what they're for, he responds: "Beats me, probably lesson seventeen.".

 

 

It wasn't until I began to take screenshots for this Blog that I was able to connect them directly to the "Four-pronged Double Harpoon Shuriken".

 

Pray For Death (1985)


The "Four-pronged Double Harpoon Shuriken" in question is the amazing spiked projectible seen in PRAY FOR DEATH, which I'm convinced was created by interconnecting and welding together the two four-pronged weapons seen in the 4th, 9th, and 10th episodes of THE MASTER.

 

 



BAKUHATSU HAPPO SHURIKEN
(爆発八方 手裏剣)
Explosive Eight Point Shuriken


Rage of Honor (1987)


Sho also specially designed two more amazing shuriken for his follow-up ninja film, RAGE OF HONOR, including the BAKUHATSU HAPPO SHURIKEN (Explosive Eight Point Shuriken), which consisted of a silver disc that at the press of a button sprung eight blades and also armed it, turning it into a small explosive.

 

 

 

 



SANKO SŌTŌ SHURIKEN
(三光槍頭 手裏剣)
Three Lights Spearhead Shuriken


Rage of Honor (1987)


The other shuriken that Sho created for RAGE OF HONOR, which I've called SANKO SŌTŌ SHURIKEN (Three Lights Spearhead Shuriken), was actually a merging together of a "Sanko (Three Lights) Shuriken" (三光手裏剣) and a "Spear Throwing Dart".

 

 

 

 



JIRAIYA SENYŌ NO GAMA SHURIKEN
(ジライヤ専用のガマ手裏剣)
Jiraiya's Gama Shuriken


忍者戦隊カクレンジャー「超大物・来日!!」
Ninja Sentai Kakuranger - ''A Super Big Figure Coming to Japan!!'' (1994)


This next shuriken also features a unique design.  As the name suggests, the JIRAIYA SENYŌ NO GAMA SHURIKEN (Jiraiya's Gama Shuriken) was the one carried and used by Jiraiya (Kane Kosugi) in the first of two NINJA SENTAI KAKURANGER episodes guest starring Sho.

 

 

 

The name of this uncommon shuriken, ジライヤ専用のガマ手裏剣 (JIRAIYA SENYŌ NO GAMA SHURIKEN), can be seen in the first image below and translates to "Jiraiya dedicated Gama Shuriken".  The term "Gama" means giant toad, which is the mecha (giant robot) that Jiraiya summons.  As seen in the first image below, this shuriken has a star shape similar to the letter "G" (for GAMA), but interestingly if you turn it 90 degrees to the left (as seen in the picture on the right), it looks even more like a "J" (for JIRAIYA).

 

 



YIN-YANG GOGYO SHURIKEN
(陰陽五行 手裏剣)
Yin-Yang Five Elements Shuriken


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


This final shuriken is another very unique one that's described and depicted as a yoyo-like item that Daiki Ike carries and wields as a weapon in the YIN-YANG CODE: THE DRUMS OF TENKAI-BO novel...

 

 

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


The truth about this yoyo-like "Yin-Yang Five Elements Shuriken" is ultimately revealed in the second novel, YIN-YANG CODE: SHADOW OF TENKAI-BO, when Daiki and his friends discover that it is in fact a shuriken made up of five small blades, each containing one of the five elements that divide the material world: Wood (), Fire (), Earth (), Metal (), and Water ().

 

 

 





 

TETSUBISHI(鉄菱)

The TETSUBISHI are MAKIBISHI (caltrops) made of iron.  They are sharp spiked objects that were used in feudal Japan to slow down pursuers and also used in the defense of samurai fortifications.  Whereas tetsubishi were a type of makibishi made of iron, makibishi made from the dried seed pod of the water chestnut formed a natural type of makibishi called tennenbishi.  Both types of makibishi could penetrate the thin soles of the shoes such as the waraji sandals that were commonly worn in feudal Japan when the makibishi was dropped on the ground or planted in advance.  Makibishi could be carried in a bag attached to a belt along with other commonly carried weapons and/or tools such as shuriken (throwing stars) and kaginawa (grappling hook).  Makibishi could be thrown like a shuriken and could also be used against an enemy on horseback.

 


Enter the Ninja (1981)


Coming in a variety of forms and sizes TETSUBISHI were used in a number of Sho's various ninja projects, starting with ENTER THE NINJA.

 

 

Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


 

 

Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


 

 

The Master - ''Max'' (1984)


 

The Master - ''State of the Union'' (1984)


On the 3rd episode of THE MASTER, an amazingly intricate extra-large TETSUBISHI was pulled out by McAllister along with another more standard-looking one that was apparently strong enough to blow out the tire on a Jeep.

 

 

 

If you look closely at these next screenshots, you will notice some mis-matched footage as another large TETSUBISHI thrown by McAllister to blow out another tire inexplicably becomes a "Master Shuriken"!

 

 

 

The Master - ''Juggernaut'' (1984)


 

The Master - ''Kunoichi'' (1984)


 

The Master - ''Rogues'' (1984)


 

忍者戦隊カクレンジャー「超大物・来日!!」
Ninja Sentai Kakuranger - ''A Super Big Figure Coming to Japan!!'' (1994)


 

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins (1998)


 

 





 

YUMIYA(弓矢)

The YUMIYA is the Japanese Bow & Arrow.  YUMI (弓) refers more specifically to traditional Japanese asymmetrical bows, and includes the longer daikyū (大弓) and the shorter hankyū (半弓) used in the practice of kyūdō and kyūjutsu, or Japanese archery.  The YUMI was an important weapon of the samurai warrior during the feudal period of Japan.  It shoots Japanese arrows called YA (矢), hence the term YUMIYA to refer to the Bow & Arrow combination.


Enter the Ninja (1981)


Included as one of the weapons wielded by Sho in the unforgettable opening credits sequence for ENTER THE NINJA, the YUMIYA was used extensively by mulitple ninja characters in Sho's first ninja film.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


The YUMIYA also played an important part in Sho's second ninja film, REVENGE OF THE NINJA.  In the film's opening scene, a number of Red Ninja armed with YUMIYA attack the Osaki family, including one who kills the wife of Sho's character Cho Osaki with an arrow through the heart.

 

 

 

Later in this unforgettable sequence, Cho Osaki fends off numerous Red Ninjas by catching multiple arrows fired at him with his bare hands and with his mouth!

 

 

 

Another less traditional but absolutely amazing YUMI was used by Braden to fire a special arrow from one building to another to create a zipline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another different black YUMI (Bow), along with bundles of both white and black YA (Arrows), are seen very briefly in the collection of weapons laid out during Cho Osaki's pre-battle ceremony.  Oddly, although this YUMIYA is not used by Cho Osaki in the final film, it was used in a deleted scene included in the original theatrical trailer, but by Cho's enemy the Silver Masked Ninja (doubled by Sho).

 

 

 

Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


One of the awesome white and black striped YUMIYA from REVENGE OF THE NINJA was used by Christie (Lucinda Dickey) during the cemetery attack in NINJA III: THE DOMINATION.

 

 

 

 

 

A reverse-colored black and white striped YUMIYA was also used by one of the Black Ninja Hanjuro's ninja during the massively edited-down "flashback" sequence in NINJA III: THE DOMINATION.

 

 

The Master - ''Max'' (1984)


The YUMIYA from Cho Osaki's pre-battle ceremony in REVENGE OF THE NINJA was used by Okasa (Sho) in the first episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

 

 

 

9 Deaths of the Ninja (1985)


Another YUMIYA was seen in 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA.  This black YUMI (bow) coupled with white YA (arrows) was used by Spike Shinobi (Sho) in the awesome flashback training seen in the film.

 

 

 

 

This same YUMIYA was also used by Spike Shinobi's Sensei (Ken Watanabe) at the end of this great flashback sequence.

 

 

Finally, this very same YUMIYA was also used by the mysterious Cave Ninja Leader near the end of the film.

 

 

Pray For Death (1985)


The YUMIYA from 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA returned in Sho's next ninja film, PRAY FOR DEATH.  Or more specifically the black YUMI (bow) returned, coupled this time with black YA (arrows) which look like the ones used in the first episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

 

 

 

Rage of Honor (1987)


A different YUMIYA was featured in Sho's final 1980s ninja film RAGE OF HONOR, but not used by a ninja character this time.  Instead this small black and white striped bow coupled with the white arrows from Sho's previous ninja films, was used by a Native/Indigenous Argentine warrior.

 

 

 

 

It's worth noting that there are many other Indigenous warriors who also wield bow & arrows in the film, but they all look like ones that a native tribesman from the area would have used (along with native blowguns and spears), unlike this one.

 

Journey of Honor (1991)


YUMIYA were used by numerous samurai characters in Sho's epic period adventure samurai film JOURNEY OF HONOR.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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


A number of different types of YUMIYA were used by both the Ryukyuans and by attacking bandits during the first 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)


A YUMIYA fired by a samurai proved to be too much for Sho's character Shintenpū in the 13th episode of DRAGON SPIRIT.

 

 


The Ninjas From Hollywood Japan Tour 2002


A YUMIYA was wielded by a mysterious warrior in the stage production THE NINJAS FROM HOLLYWOOD JAPAN TOUR 2002.

 

 

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins (1998)


Various enemies and opponents carry YUMIYA in the TENCHU: STEALTH ASSASSINS video game.

 

 

 

 


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


As depicted in this amazing drawing, a number of Kunoichi (female ninja) use YUMIYA in the YIN-YANG CODE: SHADOW OF TENKAI-BO novel.

 





 

SHUDO(手弩)

The SHUDO is the Japanese hand-held crossbow which consists of a bow-like assembly called a prod, mounted horizontally on a main frame called a tiller, which is hand-held in a similar fashion to the stock of a long gun.  Crossbows shoot arrow-like projectiles called bolts or quarrels.


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


Just like Braden had done with his spring-loaded extendable YUMI (bow) in REVENGE OF THE NINJA, McAllister (Lee Van Cleef) used a SHUDO to fire a bolt across two buildings in order to create a zipline/tightrope in the 2nd episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

 

 

9 Deaths of the Ninja (1985)


Spike Shinobi (Sho) used a SHUDO to fire a variety of bolts, including ones that would explode on impact, in 9 DEATHS OF THE DEATHS.

 

 

 

 

 

Rage of Honor (1987)


Shiro Tanaka (Sho) used a SHUDO both as a weapon to fire bolts at enemies, and as a tool to create a zipline across a ravine by firing a bolt with a grappling hook attached to it in RAGE OF HONOR.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Eagle (1988)


Ken Tani (Sho) also used a large SHUDO as a weapon and as a tool to create a zipline across a dock and ship in BLACK EAGLE.

 

 

 

 





 

FUKIYA(吹き矢)

The FUKIYA is the Japanese blowgun.  The fukiya is often considered to have been a weapon of the ninja.  A typical ninja fukiya is around 50 cm.  Due to this rather short length, it is theorized that ninja would have had to use special darts with poisoned tips in order for it to be effective, and fired from a concealed location.  Most likely, it was used similar to shuriken, as a distraction.  The blowgun can also double as a breathing pipe to enable the ninja to better survive in the wilderness.  The darts used in the fukiya are called FUKIBARI (吹針).  Traditionally, fukibari were about two inches long but shorter ones (along with very small shuriken) could also be carried in the mouth, allowing a ninja to use them without the need of a fukiya by spitting them out.


Enter the Ninja (1981)


The FUKIYA was another one of the weapons used during the amazing opening credits of ENTER THE NINJA, as well as in the film itself.

 

 

 

 

Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


A couple different types of FUKIYA were featured in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.  The first one was a hollowed-out bamboo stalk that Braden used in conjunction with long needle FUKIBARI similar to the ones seen in ENTER THE NINJA.

 

 

The second FUKIYA was the non-bladed section of the SHIKOMI-FUE that we previously looked at in the STAFFS and SPEARS section.

 

 

Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


The Black Ninja Hanjuro (David Chung) made great use of a bamboo FUKIYA, both as projectile weapon and as an underwater breathing tube, in NINJA III: THE DOMINATION.

 

 

 

In another memorable scene in the film, Yamada (Sho) used a very small FUKIYA hidden behind his tsuba "eye-patch" to non-lethally incapacitate a police officer.

 

 

 

The Master - ''Juggernaut'' (1984)


John Peter McAllister (Lee Van Cleef) used a short blowgun in the 7th episode of THE MASTER.

 

 

9 Deaths of the Ninja (1985)


Though not technically a FUKIYA, the NINJA SAI used by Spike Shinobi (Sho) in 9 DEATHS OF THE NINJA served the same function by shooting a small FUKIBARI (blowdart).

 

 

Pray For Death (1985)


Young Takeshi Saito (Kane Kosugi) used a small pipe FUKIYA with a special detachable spoke from his bike as a FUKIBARI to help him fend off his much larger adult attackers in PRAY FOR DEATH.

 

 

 

 

Rage of Honor (1987)


One of the two Prison Ninjas used a small FUKIYA in RAGE OF HONOR.

 

 

Yin-Yang Code: The Drums of Tenkai-Bo (2018)


One of Tenkai-Bo's Shugenja warriors attacked Daiki and his friends with a FUKIYA in the YIN-YANG CODE: THE DRUMS OF TENKAI-BO novel.

 





 

ENGYOKU(煙玉)

The ENGYOKU (smoke ball) is the ninja smoke bomb.  Early versions of this weapon were made from emptied eggs filled with a combination of gunpowder and other ingredients that would increase the flash, increase the plume of the smoke, and ingredients that would potentially irritate the eyes of any opponents that were nearby.  Sealing the bottom hole with wax these smoke bombs could be utilized in a defensive fashion if a ninja was caught during a mission and needed a quick escape.  The smoke bombs were also utilized in an offensive fashion as a ninja who might be lying in ambush could throw the smoke bomb in the field of vision of his or her target before striking.


Enter the Ninja (1981)


The ENGYOKU "smoke bomb" was a staple in virtually all of Sho's ninja projects, starting with ENTER THE NINJA.  Though the smoke supposedly emanating from the explosion caused by throwing these small round balls was actually movie magic courtesy of effects technicians, the end result made for some great scenes of distraction and ninja characters essentially disappearing in a puff of smoke.

 

 

 

 

Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


 

 

 


Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


 

 

 


The Master - ''Max'' (1984)


 

 

 

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


 

 

 

 

The Master - ''State of the Union'' (1984)


 

The Master - ''Hostages'' (1984)


 

 

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


 

 

The Master - ''Fat Tuesday'' (1984)


 

This distinctive ENGYOKU ("smoke bomb") was combined with a TETSUBISHI to create a large smoke explosion while blowing out some car tires.

 

 

 

The Master - ''Juggernaut'' (1984)


 

 

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


 

The Master - ''Kunoichi'' (1984)


 

 

 

 

 

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


 

 

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


 

 

The Master - ''Rogues'' (1984)


 

 

Pray For Death (1985)


 

 

Rage of Honor (1987)


 

 

 

 

忍者戦隊カクレンジャー「超大物・来日!!」
Ninja Sentai Kakuranger - ''A Super Big Figure Coming to Japan!!'' (1994)


 





 

METSUBUSHI(目潰し)

The METSUBUSHI (eye closers) are various blinding powders used in feudal Japan by samurai law enforcement officers and other individuals to temporarily or permanently blind or disorient an opponent.  One type was a powder made up of mud, flour, and dirt.  For severe damage, it could also include fine-ground glass.  It was kept in hollowed-out eggs (happō), bamboo tubes or other small containers.  When confronted by an attacker, a person would throw the metsubushi in the attacker's eyes, blinding him, while the victim ran off or hid himself.


Enter the Ninja (1981)


 

 

Pray For Death (1985)






 

KŌKYŪ(鋼球)

The KŌKYŪ (steel balls) are ball-bearing like weapons.  There is no indication that these were "real" ninja weapons, but they were memorably used in conjunction with TETSUBISHI in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.  They also appear to have been used to represent some of the ENGYOKU (smoke bombs) in a number of Sho's ninja projects (as seen in the previous section above).


Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


 





 

TAIMATSU(松明)

The TAIMATSU is the Japanese torch.  Historically, it was a stick with combustible material at one end, which is ignited and used as a light source.  Ninja torches were varied and numerous, with many different mixtures for different occasions.  A variety of torch and gunpowder skills were mastered by the ninja.  This is due to the fact that many ninja had to lead bands of warriors to an enemy's camp under the cover of night.  Their torches needed to withstand harsh weather conditions and last long hours.


Enter the Ninja (1981)


 

 

Revenge of the Ninja (1983)


 

The Master - ''State of the Union'' (1984)


 

 

Pray For Death (1985)


 





 

KUNAI(苦無)

The KUNAI is a Japanese tool thought to be originally derived from the masonry trowel.  Although a basic tool, in the hands of a martial arts expert, the kunai could be used as a multi-functional weapon. The kunai is commonly associated with the ninja, who used it to gouge holes in walls.  Additionally, in media depictions of ninja, the kunai is commonly portrayed as a steel knife that is used for stabbing or particularly throwing, sometimes confusing it with the shuriken.


Ninja III: The Domination (1984)


 





 

KINUNAWA(絹縄)

The KINUNAWA is a silken cord that is fired from a cylindrical tube.  There is no indication that this was an actual "real" ninja weapon, but it was memorably used in a couple of episodes of THE MASTER.


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


 

 

 

 

The Master - ''Hostages'' (1984)


 





 

BAKUYAKU(爆薬)

The BAKUYAKU are the various materials and substances used as explosives to gain entry or escape from prison cells and cages in a number of episodes of THE MASTER.


The Master - ''Hostages'' (1984)


 

 

 

The Master - ''Juggernaut'' (1984)


 

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


 

 

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


 

 

The Master - ''Rogues'' (1984)


 

 

Tenchu: Stealth Assassins (1998)


Another form of ninja explosive called KANSHAKUDAMA (癇癪玉) is available to Rikimaru (Sho's motion-captured character) and Ayame in the TENCHU: STEALTH ASSASSINS video game.  This small hand tossed explosive is basically a bomb with a fuse that must be lit before it is thrown.