Everyone loves ninjas and we are no exception. This is our very own list of the Top 10 Facts about Ninjas. Hope you enjoy it.
Number Ten: Cat’s eyes
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.
Number Nine: Mizu gumo
The device was made of four curved planks of either wood or inflatable animal hide that were strung together with a fifth plank in the middle. To this day, historians are not completely sure how mizu-gumo were used. The obvious guess is that the fifth plank was worn on the foot and, with another one on the other foot, allowed the ninja to walk on water. Unfortunately, as Biblical as that sounds, such methods have been disproved. Another theory is that it was used as a raft, which is more plausible. Most likely, the mizu-gumo was used more for wading through swampy marshes than to stay afloat on top of the water.
Number Eight: Saoto Hikigane
It’s been 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 our hand to our ear or placing a cup to a wall does.
Number Seven: Donohi
Ninjas were expert fighters, but even they couldn’t fight chilly temperatures without a little help. 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.
Number Six: Kanzashi
It is well documented that ninjas could turn just about anything into a weapon. Of course, having something long and sharp hidden in their hair didn’t hurt, either. Enter the kanzashi. In feudal Japan, women often wore long, ornamental hairpins called kanzashi. The pins were not dangerous in and of themselves, but in the hands of a ninja, they could be used to attack vital points and nerve clusters. They could also be sharpened and used as knife-like weapons, either for defense or for an attack. Dipped in poison, the hairpins became an assassination tool.
Number Five: Pencil cases
It’s said that the pen is mightier than the sword. Usually, that isn’t meant to be taken literally—but in the hands of a ninja, a pen could be outright fatal. Ninjas tried not to go anywhere without a yatate. This was a small cylinder that was sometimes made from bamboo, although they were usually made out of metal. At one end was a small container to hold ink, while the rest of the cylinder was hollow to hold a small calligraphy brush.
Number Four: Nails
Ninjas were tough as nails, so it comes as no surprise that even their fingernails would be weaponized. Metal fingernails called neko-te were 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.