By Yossi Sheriff

Kunai, 苦無, (קונאי) is a japanese knife attributed to the historical figure of the Ninja. Kunai sizes in Ninjutsu range from 20 cm to 60 cm, with the average being 40 cm. There are at least two schools of historical interpretation about the uses of the kunai.

Image of the AKBAN armory Kunai in several angles


Video of Kunai stances

Video of Kunai mid-range Ninjutsu techniques

Video of using the Kunai in conjunction with Kusari

Uses of the kunai

  1. One school of thought sees The kunai as used by common folk as a multi-purpose gardening tools and by workers of stone and masonry. The kunai is not a knife, but something more akin to a piton. The blade was soft iron and un-sharpened because the edges were used to smash plaster and wood, to dig holes and to pry. Normally only the tip would have been sharpened. The uses to which a kunai was put would have destroyed any heat-treated and sharpened tool like a knife.
  2. The interpretation held by some veterans in AKBAN holds the kunai as a specialized weapon highly suitable by its manufacturing methods to the uses it was subjected to. As any metal smith knows, making a neat circular hole at the end is not a task done just for hanging the kunai at the end of a long work day is a waste of effort - it had practical reasons.

The kunai is highly suitable for digging, a task that every warrior living outside needs, and the end hole makes it easy to tie a rope at the end of the kunai. this rope and the weight of the weapon itself, make the kunai a deadly and accurate throwing knife. The rope at the end makes not only for a better retrieval but is the stabilizing force allowing the kunai to fly parallel to the ground.

The Ninja weapon Kunai

Just like with the shuriken and Ninjutsu, the myths in popular manga culture played a role in creating the current pop culture image of a kunai.

Videos of Ninjutsu lessons that refer to the Kunai