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Associated equipment

The assassination, espionage, and infiltration tasks of the ninja led to the development of
specialized technology in concealable weapons and infiltration tools.

Specialized weapons and tactics

Ninja also employed a variety of weapons and tricks using gunpowder. Smoke bombs
and firecrackers were widely used to aid an escape or create a diversion for an attack.
They used timed fuses to delay explosions. Ōzutsu (cannons) they constructed could be
used to launch fiery sparks as well as projectiles at a target. Small "bombs" called
metsubushi (目潰し, "eye closers") were filled with sand and sometimes metal dust. This
sand would be carried in bamboo segments or in hollowed eggs and thrown at someone,
the shell would crack, and the assailant would be blinded. Even land mines were
constructed that used a mechanical fuse or a lit, oil-soaked string. Secrets of making
desirable mixes of gunpowder were strictly guarded in many ninja clans.

Other forms of trickery were said to be used for escaping and combat. Ashiaro are
wooden pads attached to the ninja's tabi (thick socks with a separate "toe" for bigger toe;
used with sandals). The ashiaro would be carved to look like an animal's paw, or a child's
foot, allowing the ninja to leave tracks that most likely would not be noticed.

Also a small ring worn on a ninja's finger called a shobo would be used for hand-to-hand
combat. The shobo (or as known in many styles of ninjutsu, the shabo) would have a
small notch of wood used to hit assailant's pressure points for sharp pain, sometimes
causing temporary paralysis. A suntetsu is very similar to a shobo. It could be a small
oval shaped piece of wood affixed to the finger by a small strap. The suntetsu would be
held against a finger (mostly middle) on the palm-side and when the hand was thrust at an
opponent using the longer piece of wood to target pressure points such as the solar

Ninja also used special short swords called ninjaken, or shinobigatana. Ninjaken are
smaller than katana but larger than wakizashi. The ninjaken was often more of a
utilitarian tool than a weapon, not having the complex heat treatment of a usual weapon.
Another version of the ninja sword was the shikoro ken (saw sword). The shikoro ken was
said to be used to gain entry into buildings, and could also have a double use by cutting
(or slashing in this case) opponents.