Ninja Weapons

Few of the weapons popularly associated with ninja were uniquely "ninja weapons." For instance, Tokugawa-era police used the metsubushi (a kind of blowpipe) to distract suspects; samurai carried the kusarigama and shuriken as backup weapons; and the tonfa, sai, and nun-chaku belonged to the Okinawan art of Kobujutsu (p. 178). Ninja generally favored the weapons of the samurai. This isn't surprising - these weapons were readily available and would make it easier to blend in while disguised, and the ninja would be schooled in their use, because many (perhaps most or all) ninja were in fact members of samurai clans.

Ninja might have used more hidden and combination weapons than most people, though, as backup weapons or surprise tactics. An "unarmed" spy could conceal several deadly (or at least distracting) secrets! The poisoned weapons frequently suggested for ninja are unlikely, however - such things tend to be as dangerous to the user as to the victim. Like modern assassins, ninja probably knew that food was the best vehicle for poison.

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