Here we see that tradition survives when injected with modernity. Historically, a Japanese concealed weapon used for throwing was referred to as a Hira-shuriken, but in modern times it is known as a throwing or ninja star. Whilst previously this term was used for any star made of metal everyday items, they later tended to be made of the relatively modern alloys stainless or carbon steel.
Corresponding with this traditional versus modern clash in manufacturing, the current perceptions of the throwing star differ from their origins. Unlike their revere today, the stars were thought expendable by Samurai warriors hence haven’t been preserved over time. Current replicas do however resemble the originals, thanks to the ready availability of carbon steel from which they could be made has increased due to its wide array of uses.
It’s purpose of course has changed over time. Contrary to popular belief, shuriken were not primarily intended as a killing weapon, Shuriken were primarily used to cause either nuisance or distraction. Targets were primarily the eyes, face, hands, or feet—the areas most exposed under armor. The shuriken would sometimes be thrown in a way that cuts the opponent and becomes lost, later causing the opponent to believe that they were cut by an invisible swordsman.
Shuriken, were also used in other innovative ways; they might be wrapped in fuse to be lit and thrown to cause fire , embedded in the ground injuring those who stepped on them, or wrapped in a cloth soaked in poison and lit to cover an area with a cloud of poisonous smoke. There are reports of shuriken being coated with poison, while other reports indicate that shuriken may have been buried in dirt or animal feces to cause a then-incurable tetanus infection.
Once a cheap throwaway item, in its new carbon steel state throwing stars are revered collectibles. Shanghai Metal Corporation agrees on the value of carbon steel and is a manufacturer of this and other value added metal products similar to those mentioned in this article. If you would like to find out more, check out our website, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
Siobhan R. // SMC Editor