What is a ninja sword (“shinobi-ken” “shinobi-gatana”)?
The answer to this question is difficult to find due to the greater number of hoaxes introduced by the film industry into the image of the ninja sword. However, we will try to give a clear answer to this question and at the same time describe the sword we made. For an answer, we turn to the monograph by Valery Khorev “Japanese sword. Ten Centuries of Excellence ”2003. Where do we give the passage in which the theme is revealed: the ninja sword — “shinobi-ken” or “shinobi-gatana”:
V. Horev, writes:
“You can’t interrupt the conversation about Japanese weapons without touching a very specific and even sensitive topic — ninja weapons. In this case, we are not interested in the whole mass of their sinister devices, but the notorious “shinobi-ken” or “shinobi-gatana” deserves a special story. Any boy from Cape Horn to the polar Tiksi today knows what this object looks like — not a very long straight blade, square tsuba and black handle with a set of poisons and needles inside. Of course, the tsubu was thrown like a shaken, and through the tubular sheath they breathed underwater and spat on poisonous thorns. Night demons triumphantly fought with awkward samurai. They crushed their primitive technique with irreplaceable tricks using the reverse grip, which became the hallmark of Hollywood scouts. They wore this object behind their backs, and the hilt stuck out over the right shoulder, like the banner of victory:
In souvenir shops, everyone can see or buy a marvelous, almost natural “ninja sword,” which Hattori Hanzo himself would envy. But beware! Disappointment lurks us, like these very ninjas, to throw from the azure heights into the gray prose of life. All real Ninjutsu just didn’t know. That is absolutely. Here is what A. Gorbylev writes about espionage swords (“Claws of the Invisible.” Minsk 1999), referring, in turn, to the fundamental work of Nava Yimo “Hisse no heiho. Ninjutsu-no kenkyu ”(All-conquering martial art. The study of ninjutsu”. Tokyo, 1972):
“The handle was all-metal. She was braided with a black cord. Unlike standard swords, menuki were not laid under the braid. The tsuba was square and rather massive. The wooden scabbard was either simply covered with black lacquers, or was first covered with leather. There was no jewelry on them, but finally they put on the honed iron head of the kojiri. A kagegat’s brace was threaded longer than usual — up to 3.6 meters — a sage cord, the blade itself was relatively short. And that’s all, there are no direct blades in Ninjutsu Museum in Iga Ueno, nor in the Manor of the Ninja Yashiki in the city of Konan. The direct ninja swords are not described in the works of historians, nor in the encyclopedias on traditional weapons, nor in the manuals of swords. In other words, such swords are an invention of filmmakers. ”
If you give yourself the trouble to think and really look at things, immediately it becomes clear the absurdity of the very idea of a certain special sword, because the first and last law of “invisibility” is invisibility. Of course, not in the optical, but in the everyday sense. That is, a spy and a murderer should not differ from a person in a crowd. Either he is a samurai, or a merchant, or someone else, but no catchy, extravagant details of the appearance are simply unacceptable. A set of special craft tools is represented by secret, small-sized and universal samples. But the sword cannot be hidden from the prying eyes, the owner of which could be the grated counterintelligence, “spy hunter”, and therefore, outwardly, he was a copy of an ordinary katana:
If we talk about the blade, that, as a rule, was a little thicker and shorter than usual. It is inconvenient to work with a long sword in the crowded castle corridors, it is difficult and noisy to wade through chimneys and thickets, and so on. The thicker strip had increased weight and correspondingly great power, and its strength made it possible, if necessary, to wield the sword as a lever. Grace in this case is not appropriate. Some argue that the ninja, because of their poverty, were content only with rude home-made products of bad iron, while other (mostly Russian) experts praise the unattainable strength and chopping properties of magic steel. Oddly enough, the latter are closer to the truth, for the view of medieval spies as ragged and renegades is fundamentally wrong. You can not contrast the ninja and the samurai, since nine out of ten spies are bushy by birth. Samurai — estate, scout profession or hobby. The ninja had enough money to pay for the work of famous blacksmiths, as well as the masters themselves. If an urgent operation required a special blade, it could be whipped up, simply and firmly, without any metallurgical delights. And also they just threw it at the slightest need, if the piece of iron prevented from running, swimming or halfway, escaping from the chase. The argument that different clans stained blades in strictly defined colors, like delirium. If you recall the terrible habit of a ninja to mutilate a person to deprive the enemy of the possibility of identification when they capture an enemy, then the presence of, say, a blue blade of Togakura-ryu