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Shinobi Tools Box

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While the game has captured some of the more commonly known tools of the Ninja, I have come across some of the more esoteric tools and techniques to help fill out the arsenal of the stealth artists

Tsui-giri: Large Picks about a foot long consisting of a wooden handle and a long thin, tempered metal spike that could be used as a weapon as well as for quietly carving spying holes in walls.

Torinoko: Smoke bomb. Gunpowder wrapped in a paper much like a firecracker with a paper fuse. Could be used like a grenade or smokescreen.

Maru-kagi: Round Key. In spite of the name, a hand held item with a wooden handle and curved hooks coming out at 90 degrees from the handle. Used to jimmy though doors and latch onto early locking mechanisms, to allow the ninja to open the door lock from the outside.

Ibushi-ki: Smokepot or Smudgepot. A cylinder device made of ceramic with 8 holes along the side and one at the top, when gunpowder was put in and lit, a thick curtain of smoke would rise from the holes.

Tekko-Kagi: One of several climbing claw variants. This particular version could be used in battle against an incoming samurai blade as when fitted over the hand and fingers, the ‘claws’ would protect most of the hands and fingers. When used for climbing, it could me attached to the hand like a crampon

Kagi-nawa: Hook Rope. While the four spiked climbing rope variant is more well known, this one was known as more stealthy version, and used for climbing up and down. Often used in quiet getaways.

Ikari-kagi: Grappling hook. A four pronged metal anchor hook attached to a hope. Used for climbing roofs or over walls.

Uchi-Kai: Prying hook: a small metal hook and wooden handle. The hook was driven into a wall to help the ninja climb and open doors.

Kiri: Pick. Smaller than those normally sold. The easy-to-conceal item was used to cut holes.

Maki-hashigo: Roll-up Ladder. Something of a misnomer, this was a pulley-mechanism with a pointed spike thrown over a wall to anchor the rope and wheel. Once secured, a person (or items) could be drawn up like a bucket from a well

Misshio-ire: Secret Document Holder. Designed to look like the sheath of a small sword (Tanto or thereabouts), it contains a small pipe would could be used to conceal secret documents from enemy forces. That certain clans that remain nameless could use this to seen messages in court is, of course, scurrilous rumor.

Zouri: Sandals. A style of slipper made of pleated rope and cotton souls. Used for walking in absolute silence.

Hoguchi: Tinder Box. A small box used for carrying hot coals. Given the general construction in the empire, no much is needed to start a fire.

Seoi-bukuro: Shoulder Bag. Pretty much the ninjas backpack for carrying tools. A woven net bag of strong rope. Typically slung over the left shoulder to allow right hand freedom of movement.

Tenohira-Taimatsu: Hand-held torch. A compact touch made from pine resin and bamboo skin, notable for staying alight even in rain.

Gando: Searchlight. While this is technically translated as ‘flashlight’, it is another misnomer to the modern user. This item is a candle-holder consisting of two hoops with in a wrap used to conceal the light. The hoops move to keep the candle upright, no matter the users movements.

Tobacco-ire: Tobacco pouch. While commonly used to actually carry tobacco by many, it is used by the ninja to carry gunpowder. One the job, the ninja would not use tobacco as the strong smell would given them away.

Kusuri-ire: Medicine pouch. Used by ordinary people as well as ninja. Some would even have the medicine type listed on the pouch.

Saoto hikigane: Nicknamed the “ear trumpet” because that’s exactly what it looks like. Saoto hikigane were cone-shaped and were made of metal or sometimes wood. The size of the tool varied, with some being more concealable than others. The ninja would place the wide end to a wall so that the sound coming through was magnified and funneled into his or her ear. It worked the same way cupping a hand to the ear or placing a cup to a wall does.

Donohi: Body Warmer. Ninjas often used body warmers named donohi to survive long stakeouts in cold weather. The body warmers were commonly made of bamboo, iron, or copper. They contained flammable materials such as gunpowder, alcohol, and cloth. A fire-starting tool called a tsuketake was usually attached to the donohi to set the fuel ablaze. Once lit, the fuel could burn for hours, even days. Since so much of a ninja’s job involved using their hands, the last thing they wanted was for their fingers to go numb from the cold or for them to get frostbitten. Donohi were very useful in protecting them from such dangers. Also, as a fast and portable source of fire, it could be used for anything from setting an enemy’s home on fire to cooking food.

Kanzashi: Hairpin. In Rokugan, women often wear long, ornamental hairpins called kanzashi. The pins are not dangerous in and of themselves, but in the hands of a ninja, they can be used to attack vital points and nerve clusters. They can also be sharpened and used as knife-like weapons, either for defense or for an attack. Dipped in poison, the hairpins become an assassination tool. Kanzashi are ideal weapons for kunoichi (female ninjas), who favor small weapons that can be concealed in plain sight. Due to the popularity of the hairpins among women, kunoichi can carry them without anyone giving them a second look.

Yatate: Pencilbox. This was a small cylinder that was sometimes made from bamboo, although they are usually made out of metal. At one end is a small container to hold ink, while the rest of the cylinder was hollow to hold a small calligraphy brush. Its use as a weapon aside, it is important to again remember that ninjas were spies. Yatate were vital to their ability to write down their observations of their targets and record information as they gathered it. In an attack, however, ninjas were able to conceal spikes, needles, and even poison in the yatate instead of a writing brush. Like the kanzashi, no one had reason to be suspicious of pencil cases that most people carried anyway

Neko-te: Metal Fingernails. Ninja are tough as nails, so it comes as no surprise that even their fingernails would be weaponized. Metal fingernails called neko-te are a favorite among female ninjas. The nails were attached to the fingers in numerous ways. Sometimes, they were molded in a way similar to a thimble. Other times, they were attached by a band around the fingertips like a ring. The nails themselves were usually made of iron, but in a pinch ninjas would use thin pieces of bamboo. Even old hairpins and jewelry could be fashioned into razor-sharp nails. The weapon’s name was inspired by the claw-like appearance of a cap being worn on each finger. “Neko” means “cat” in Rokuganese, and “te” translates to “hand.” It is important to note that this weapon was used exclusively by female ninjas. Kunoichi training stressed the use of lightweight and easily concealable weapons.



Currently working on other tools and weapons for the Shinobi. More to come

Edited by TheWanderingJewels
added more tools

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Ninja Technique (AKA Spycraft)


Passwords: Given their vocation, the usage of passwords could be the difference between identifying a friend or foe, or life and death. These were commonly used when delivering secret documents or meeting allies behind enemy lines. The types of words used, from motifs in nature, poetic associations, antonyms, were borrowed from the vernacular and modified on a daily basis.

Some examples in English:

Mountain - Forest

Sun – Moon

Flower – Fruit

Sea - Salt

Valley – Water


Passwords taken from Poetry

Snow – Mt Hanayama (a snow capped mountain in Rokugan)

Flower – Yoshino (a region n\know for flowers)



Codes: secret messages were commonly transmitted by the use of elaborate codes that would be overlooked by anyone but the recipient. Such codes included the following.

Goshiki-maki: Five-Color Rice. Rice grains were dyed red, yellow, black, blue, and purple and arranged in different combinations or patterns. With this technique, the ninja could make over 100 different codes.

Yuinawa-moji: Rope Code: Rope with a particular number or style of knots, could serve as a coded message. These would be hing from a conspicuous place, such as the eaves of a roof.

Shinobi-iroha: The shinobi have made their own alphabet, using parts of earlier forms of Rokugani writing. There are 48 characters in all.

Nekome-Jutsu: Ninja’s were trained in nekome-jutsu, which was the ability to tell time just by looking at a cat’s eye very closely. Cats have very sensitive eyes, and their pupils adjust to the changing light throughout the day. In early morning, a cat’s pupils are round and fully open to allow in as much light as possible. Between around 8:00 AM and noon, their pupils become more oval-shaped to block out the excess light as the Sun rises higher. A cat’s pupils are narrowest at noon when the Sun is at its peak. With this knowledge, ninjas were able to accurately guess to within the hour what time it was.

Edited by TheWanderingJewels

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