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Encyclopedia > Shuriken

Shuriken (手裏剣; lit: "hand hidden blade") is a traditional Japanese concealed weapon that was generally used for throwing, and sometimes stabbing or slashing an opponent's arteries. They are sharpened hand-held blades made from a variety of everyday items such as needles, nails, and knives, as well as coins, washers, and other flat plates of metal. Shuriken were mainly a supplemental weapon to the more commonly used katana (sword) or yari (spear) in a warrior's arsenal, though they often played a pivotal tactical role in battle. The art of wielding the shuriken is known as shuriken-jutsu, and was mainly taught as a minor, or more correctly, a secret part of the martial arts curriculum of many famous schools, such as Yagyu Ryu, Katori Shinto Ryu, Itto Ryu, Kukishin Ryu, and Togakure Ryu. In the modern western world, shuriken can often be purchased online as collector's items. Image File history File links Mergefrom. ... Shurikenjutsu (手裏剣術) is a Japanese martial art of throwing shuriken, knives and dirks. ... For other uses, see Katana (disambiguation). ... several yari, including one hafted with a simple crossbar straight yari head with saya Jumonji yari head use of yari in mock combat Yari (槍) is the Japanese term for spear, or more specifically, the straight-headed spear. ... This article or section includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ...

Shuriken are commonly known in the west as "Chinese stars," "throwing stars" or "ninja stars." This term hardly does justice to the weapon, however, as the pointed "star" shaped form is but one of many different designs the blades took over the centuries in which they were used. Jiraiya, ninja and title character of the Japanese folktale Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari. ...

The major varieties of Shuriken are the bo shuriken (棒手裏剣) and the hira shuriken (平手裏剣), or shaken (車剣, also read as kurumaken) SHAKEN Japanese throwing blades, spikes. ...



Bo Shuriken

This is a throwing weapon consisting of a straight, iron or steel spike, usually 4 sided but sometimes round or octagonal. They were usually single-pointed but there are some that are double-pointed. The length of bo-shuriken ranges from 12 to 21 cm (5-8 1/2 in) and the average weight was from 35 to 150 grams (1.2-5.4 ounces). The bo-shuriken is thrown in a number of ways, such as overhead, underarm, sideways and rearwards, but in each case the throw involved the blade sliding out of the hand through the fingers in a smooth, controlled flight. Image File history File linksMetadata Bo_shuriken. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Bo_shuriken. ... A centimetre (American spelling centimeter, symbol cm) is a unit of length that is equal to one hundredth of a metre, the current SI base unit of length. ... For other meanings of gram, see gram (disambiguation). ...

The major forms of throw are the jiki da-ho (direct hit method), and the han-ten da-ho (turning hit method). These two forms are technically different, in that the former does not allow the blade to spin before it hits the target, while the latter requires that the blade does spin before it hits the target.

Bo-shuriken were constructed from a wide variety of commonly used everyday items, and thus there are many shapes and sizes. Some derive their name from the materials they were fashioned from, such as kugi-gata (nail form), hari-gata (needle form) and tanto-gata (knife form); others are named after the object to which they appear similar, such as hoko-gata (spear form), matsuba-gata (pine-needle form) while others were simply named after the object that was thrown, such as kankyuto-gata (piercing tool form), kunai-gata (utility tool form), or teppan (plate metal) and biao (pin).

Other items were also thrown as in the fashion of bo-shuriken, such as kogai (ornamental hairpin), kozuka (utility knife) and hashi (chopsticks), although these items were not associated with any particular school of shuriken-jutsu, rather they were more likely just thrown at opportune moments by a skilled practitioner who was versed in the method of a particular school.


The origins of the bo-shuriken in Japan are still unclear at this stage, despite continuing research in this area. This is partly due to the fact that shuriken-jutsu is a secretive art, and also to the fact that throughout early Japanese history there were actually many independent innovators of the skill of throwing long, thin objects. The earliest mention of a school teaching shuriken-jutsu is Ganritsu Ryu, prevalent during the 1600s. This school utilized a long thin implement with a bulbous head, thought to be derived from the arrow. Existing examples of blades from this school appear to exhibit an amalgam of the shape of an arrow, and the traditional Japanese needle used in leatherwork and armour manufacture.

There are also earlier mentions in written records such as the Osaka Gunki (大阪軍記, Military records of Osaka) of throwing the knife and short sword in battle, and Miyamoto Musashi is said to have won a duel by throwing his short sword at his opponent, killing him. It has been suggested that Timeline of Miyamoto Musashis life be merged into this article or section. ...

Hira shuriken

Hira shuriken are constructed from thin, flat plates of metal from a variety of sources, such as hishi-gane (coins), kugi-nuki (carpentry tools), senban (washers), and as such do not generally look like what is usually conceived of as the ninja star. Often they have a hole in the center, are only sharpened on the very tips and possess a fairly thin blade. The reason for the hole is that the original source items had holes - old coins, washers, and nail-removing tools, each possessed holes as part of their design. This was found to be convenient for the user of the shuriken, as they could be carried strung together on string, and the hole also had an aerodynamic effect which aided the flight of the blade as it was thrown. In some schools the hole was used as a center reference, a sort of "pointing spot" for the overhead throwing method. Usually with a common four point hira-shuriken the index finger was placed slightly in, or on the edge of the hole parallel with a point. When released during the overhead style throw the finger would be in a pointing position and increase accuracy. A carpenter is a skilled craftsman who performs carpentry -- a wide range of woodworking that includes constructing buildings, furniture, and other large objects out of wood. ... Aerodynamics is a branch of fluid dynamics concerned with the study of gas flows, first analysed by George Cayley in the 1800s. ...

There is a wide variety of forms of hira-shuriken, also known as shaken, and they are now usually identified by the number of points the blades possess. As with bo-shuriken, the various shapes of hira-shuriken were usually representative of a particular school or region that preferred the use of such shapes, and it is therefore possible to identify the school by the type of blade used.

There are two major forms of throw with hira-shuriken, the overhead throw and the horizontal throw. The arm action of the overhead throw is very similar to that of bo-shuriken, although the blade grip is slightly adapted to accommodate the circular shape of the blade itself.


Contrary to popular belief, (video games, Hollywood, etc.) shuriken were not intended as a killing weapon, but rather as a secondary weapon that sometimes played a supportive role to a warrior's main weapon, usually the sword or spear. Shuriken were primarily used to cause either nuisance or distraction, both being tactical methods to gain advantage over the opponent in battle. Generally the target was the eyes, face, hands or the feet. “Computer and video games” redirects here. ... ...

They were also used, especially hira-shuriken, for a wide variety of other uses, such as being embedded in the ground so as to cause pain to those who stepped on them, or having a fuse wrapped around the points of the blade to be lit and thrown in order to cause fire, or to be used as a handheld striking weapon when used in close quarters combat with an opponent. There are reports of shuriken being coated with poison, directed at either the person the blade was being thrown at, or to whoever may pick them up when left lying around in conspicuous places. Other reports indicate that shuriken may have been buried in dirt or animal feces and allowed to rust and harbor the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium tetani; if the point penetrated a victim deep enough it would impart the bacteria into the wound and cause a then-incurable deadly tetanus infection [citation needed]. Horse feces Feces, faeces, or fæces (see spelling differences) is a waste product from an animals digestive tract expelled through the anus (or cloaca) during defecation. ... Aerobic and anaerobic bacteria can be identified by growning them in liquid culture: 1: Obligate aerobic bacteria gather at the top of the test tube in order to absorb maximal amount of oxygen. ... Phyla/Divisions Actinobacteria Aquificae Bacteroidetes/Chlorobi Chlamydiae/Verrucomicrobia Chloroflexi Chrysiogenetes Cyanobacteria Deferribacteres Deinococcus-Thermus Dictyoglomi Fibrobacteres/Acidobacteria Firmicutes Fusobacteria Gemmatimonadetes Nitrospirae Omnibacteria Planctomycetes Proteobacteria Spirochaetes Thermodesulfobacteria Thermomicrobia Thermotogae Bacteria (singular, bacterium) are a major group of living organisms. ... Binomial name Clostridium tetani Flügge, 1886 Clostridium tetani is a rod-shaped, anaerobic bacterium of the genus Clostridium. ... Tetanus is a medical condition that is characterized by a prolonged contraction of skeletal muscle fibers. ...

Shuriken were a simple weapon, but their value was in the wide variety of applications they could be used for, and the ready availability of material from which to fashion the weapon.

Popular culture

Ninja Shuriken available in European arms shops
Ninja Shuriken available in European arms shops

Shuriken are popularly believed to have been used by the ninja. Shuriken can be seen in a wide range of modern media set in both modern and ancient settings. Shuriken have been used by comic book characters such as Anarky, Elektra, Miho and Bullseye; video games such as Mortal Kombat: Deception and The Revenge of Shinobi; anime series such as the ninjas of Naruto and Mai from Avatar: The Last Airbender, films such as 3 Ninjas, and other forms of media. While shuriken are almost always associated with ninjas, and to a lesser extent other thieves and assassins, they are sometimes seen wholly separate from that context: for instance, Wario Ware Touched! and WarioWare: Smooth Moves feature shuriken-throwing minigames, and Vancha March, a vampire-warrior from the Darren Shan novels uses shuriken as his only weapon of choice. Occasionally, instances of shuriken use do not even involve a human throwing them: in the PC Game Tyrian 2000, for example, there is a secret mode which features guns that fire shuriken. In the 2002 Super Sentai series "Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger", the 6th and final Ranger to appear was Tenkuu Ninja Shurikenger. While he had no personal identity anymore (his real face and body now being his green armored suit & helmet), the symbol on Shurikenger's Shinobi Medal was a green eight-point hira-shuriken. Also, the primary rotor of his hellicopter-like mecha, Hishō Henkei Tenkuujin, was a four-point hira-shuriken which could be detached from the mecha's chest in robot form and thrown like a large boomerang. Finally, towards the end of the series, when the powerful six-component Tenrai-Senpuujin is formed, the giant mecha could wield the same red and silver four-point hira-shuriken as either a large sword-like weapon, or could activate a powerful defense shield when it was still attached. In the GamesWorkshop Table-Top board game, Warhammer 40,000, the Eldar race use guns that shoot razor sharp rounded shuriken. In "Gamera tai daiakuju Giron" (1969) aka "Attack of the Monsters", (Gamera VS Guiron), Guiron fires four-point shuriken from the sides of his head. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1024x768, 884 KB) M Disdero 01/11/2007 File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Shuriken ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1024x768, 884 KB) M Disdero 01/11/2007 File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Shuriken ... A comic book is a magazine or book containing the art form of comics. ... Anarky is a fictional superhero character who was created by Alan Grant, and published by DC Comics. ... Elektra Natchios is a fictional character from Marvel Comics. ... An editor has expressed a concern that the tone or style of this article or section may not be appropriate for an encyclopedia. ... Bullseye is a fictional supervillain in the Marvel Comics universe. ... Mortal Kombat: Deception is the latest game in the controversial and bloody Mortal Kombat video game series by Midway. ... The Revenge of Shinobi is a videogame developed and published by Sega in 1989. ... Serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump Shonen Jump BANZAI! Shonen Jump Weekly Comic Original run November 1999 – Ongoing No. ... 3 Ninjas is a 1992 film directed by Jon Turteltaub, starring Victor Wong, Michael Treanor, Max Elliott Slade and Chad Power. ... WarioWare Touched! (さわるメイド イン ワリオ in Japanese) is a video game for the Nintendo DS set for release on February 14, 2005. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Tyrian is a computer game developed by Eclipse Productions (later named World Tree Games) and published in 1995 by Epic MegaGames. ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... The official logo of the Super Sentai Series introduced in 2000 during the run of Mirai Sentai Timeranger The Super Sentai Series ) is the name given to the long running Japanese superhero team genre of shows produced by Toei Company Ltd. ... Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger ), translated into English as Stealth Wind Squadron Hurricaneger or Ninja Arts Squadron Hurricaneger, was Toei Company Limiteds 26th production of the Super Sentai television series. ... For the fictional robot, see Mecha. ... This article is about the wooden implement. ...

See also

There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ... A kunai is an ancient kind of trowel, originated during the Tensho Era in Japan. ...


  • Finn, Michael (1983) Art of Shuriken Jutsu Paul Crompton, UK,
  • Fujita, Seiko (1928) Zukai Shurikenjutsu (An overview of Shuriken jutsu)
  • Hammond, Billy (1985) Shuriken jutsu: The Japanese art of projectile throwing A.E.L.S , Japan
  • Iwai, Kohaku (1999) Hibuki no Subete ga Wakaru Hon (Hidden Weapons) BAB, Japan
  • Kono, Yoshinori (1996). Toru Shirai: Founder of Tenshin Shirai Ryu in "Aikido Journal" #108
  • Mol, Serge (2003) Classical Weaponry of Japan: Special Weapons and Tactics of the Martial Artists. Kodansha, Japan
  • Nawa, Yumio (1962) Kakushi Buki Soran (An Overview of Hidden Weapons) Japan
  • Saito, Satoshi in Skoss, Diane ed. (1999) Sword & Spirit: Classical Warrior Traditions of Japan Vol. 2 Koryu Books,
  • Shirakami, Eizo (1985) Shurikendo: My study of the way of Shuriken, Paul H. Crompton, London
  • Someya, Chikatoshi (2001) Shuriken Giho Airyudo, Japan

External links

  • The Secrets of Shuriken website
  • Shuriken in Iga-Ueno Museum

  Results from FactBites:
Urban Dictionary: shuriken (384 words)
Shuriken dont have *sides* as such, but have points.
There were certain Shuriken particular to a tradition of Ninpo, ect Togakure Ryu used the classic 4 pointed Shuriken that appeared to be nearly square.
Rust was the most dangerous aspect of a Shuriken-as throwing objects they were intended to distract and slow down as a ninja escaped ect, and would not fataly wound an enemy, but could penetrate.
  More results at FactBites »



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