Kunai 苦無

Kunai as klätterverktyg

Kunai (苦無) (translates to “without any problem”[1]) is a ninja tool to dig, serve as holders for torches or a short sword and shuriken. A large Kunai called “daikunai” (Large trowel; 大苦無) and a smaller one “shokunai” (small trowel; 小苦無).

Tobikunai (flying trowel; 飛苦無) had a kaginawa (rope with hook; 鉤縄) or similar solid item in the end to be thrown. There were also tobikunai with long handles, where a drill or small nail could be fixed and could then be used as both tools and weapons. There were even times when a stack of dry grass, twigs or the like could be tied on it to be used in Katon (escape using fire; 火遁).

Kunai was thus a tool for breaking in that could also be used as a weapon.

From: Sengoku Ninpo Zukan (1978) by Masaaki Hatsumi in free translation


[1] For the sake of consistency in speech, the term “trowel” will be used here to refer to the kunai as it shares many of the same uses as a trowel. – Luke Crocker


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