What are Ninja Stars? 

Ninja stars are called shuriken (手裏剣) and they are considered one of the symbol of the Ninja. A shuriken is a traditional Japanese concealed weapon that was used as a throwing projectile, usually made of metal and shaped like a star or blade. They were commonly used by ninjas and samurais during feudal Japan for both offensive and defensive purposes. Shuriken come in various shapes and sizes, but the most recognizable ones are typically star-shaped with sharp edges. They were designed to inflict damage or distract opponents during combat or stealth operations.

Historical records suggest that shuriken were used as far back as the 12th century, during the Heian and Kamakura period in Japan. However, it became well known during the Edo period (1603–1868), when ninja stories got popular among people.  

Ninjas in Iga and Koka

Iga (Mie prefecture) and Koka (Shiga prefecture) areas are famous for their rich history of ninjas. It is also said that ninjas in the areas of Japan actively used and developed shuriken. The ninjas there were actually local samurais who wanted to protect the peace in the community. The area didn’t have daimyos (territorial lords) during the feudal era, so the locals needed to cooperate in order to protect their land. One record says that they worked in the field in the morning and gathered at a temple to train in fighting and to protect them.Socks with the trade name Ninja Tabi Toe Socks by NINJA SOCKS, front view in RED BLACK color with a design of ninja fighting with swords

This is a fun small project for various occasions.
You’ll need two pieces of origami paper or any square shaped paper. We’ll fold each piece of paper and put them together to make the star shape in the end.

  1. Fold a paper in quarters and open it up.
  2. Fold to the middle.
  3. Fold in a half, like a hotdog. Repeat.
  4. Fold the edges to make small triangles.
    (Fold it so that it the triangles faces a different direction.)
  5. Fold the edges again to make two triangles. 
  6. Turn over one piece.
  7. Lay the figure on the other one.
  8. Tuck the edges into the pocket in the middle.
  9. Turn over.
  10.  Tuck them into the pocket again.

Curious about Shuriken and Ninjas?

There are a number of places in Japan to learn more about shuriken or ninjas.
Ninja Museum of Igaryu lets you explore their ninja yashiki (ninja mansions with traps and secret doors). There are exhibits of shuriken and other objects that ninjas used. Visitors can try throwing shuriken and enjoy the ninja shows. 

Toei Kyoto Studio Park is another notable location. This park has a series of historical film sets and you can get dressed in the traditional outfit of your choice. They have numerous shows and attractions such as a ninja yashiki and ninja maze. 

Edo Wonderland in Nikko, Tochigi prefecture is a cultural park that makes you feel you are in the Edo era. You can get dressed in one of the outfits from the era and walk around the town to experience the era.

June 03, 2024