Hatsumi Sensei’s Shuriken-jutsu in 1964

These past few years there seems to have been a surge in the interest of shuriken-jutsu, both within the Bujinkan community and in the overall martial arts scene in general. So, at BKRBUDO we have started to carry a special line of hand-made shuriken on our website by the martial artist SHIZUMA 静馬 or “calm horse”. Pictures and custom order instructions will be on the site soon!!!

So, in that regards, I thought this little essay may be pertinent.

It is a passage on the art of Togakure Ryu Ninjutsu’s shuriken-jutsu by Hatsumi Soke from 1964…

 Page 1

Title: Shuriken

Pic 1 – Senban

Pic 2 – せんばんを投げる初見先生。Hatsumi Sensei throwing a senban.

 手裏剣の変形で、形は糸まきのようなもので、中の四角な穴は、くぎぬきに使うためにあけられている。

An oddly shaped shuriken, like the shape of a spool, with a square hole opened in the center used as a nail puller.

せんばんは戸隠流の忍者専用だったらしい。戸隠流せんばん投げというのは、右手に九枚もって、手首のスナップをきかして投げる方法だ。

It seems that the senban was exclusively for Togakure Ryu ninja. Togakure Ryu senban-nage is a method of holding a stack of nine in the right hand and throwing them by using a snap of the wrist.

かどの刃は、つなをきったり、土を掘るときなどに使う。

The bladed corners are used to cut ropes, dig in the ground, etc.

手裏剣術は、武士の表芸の一つとされ、決して忍者の専用武術ではない。

Shurikenjutsu is one of the arts of the bushi class, and by no means exclusive to the martial arts of the ninja.

流派も多いし、またその流派によってちがう形の手裏剣を使った。

There are many schools, and depending on the school, the shape of the shuriken used is different.

変わった型の手裏剣を使ったのは忍者ばかりではなく、たくさんの武道家がいろいろくふうして各種の手裏剣をあみだした

Not only ninja used strange types of shuriken, various shuriken have come about by many martial artists devising various shapes.

手裏剣は石投げからはじまり、鉄板をいろいろな型にきった八方とか六方が生まれてきた。

Shuriken started with throwing stones, and iron plates cut in various shapes giving birth to the eight pointed and six pointed types.

だから、なげられた手裏剣を見ると、何流の忍者がおそったのかすぐにわかった。

So, if you look at the shuriken that was thrown, you can immediately know what school the ninja that was attacking was from.

 Page 2

Top pic – 棒手裏剣 Bo-shuriken (spike style shuriken)

Middle pic –

四方手裏剣  Shiho-shuriken (upper right and middle right)

十方手裏剣 Jippo-shuriken (upper middle two)

小づか Kozuka (left vertical)

十字手裏剣 Juji-shuriken (lower right)

 Caption of bottom left pic – 一発で命を奪う棒手裏剣。The Bo-shuriken that takes a life in one shot.

Page 3

Top pic

八方手裏剣 Happo-shuriken (top and bottom right)

六方手裏剣 Roppo-shuriken (top and bottom 2nd from right)

万字手裏剣 Manji-shuriken (top and bottom left)

三光手裏剣 Sankou-shuriken (bottom 2nd from left)

Bottom pic – 十法手裏剣をかまえる忍者。A ninja poses with a Jippo-shuriken

 手裏剣は、このように、とても種類が多い。それぞれ、用途によって使いわけるが、歯の数が多いほど、敵をきずつけやすい。しかし、ささりぐあいが浅いので、敵を倒すというところまではいかない。歯の数が少ないもの、つまり棒手裏剣や四方手裏剣は、ささりにくいが、ささると深くはいり敵を倒せる。

Shuriken, as you can see come in many styles. Each has its own purpose, but the more teeth it has, the easier it is to damage the enemy. But as the puncture wound is shallow it is not enough to down the enemy. Those with few teeth, such as the bo-shuriken and the four-pointed shuriken, are more difficult to stick in but, when they do, they penetrate deeply and down the enemy.

 From Hatsumi Sensei’s 1964 book;

Ninja / Ninpo Gaho 忍者/忍法画報

Translation by; Sean Askew

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