Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Rokugu- The 6 Basic Shinobi Tools

A Good Example of the Use of Shinobi Tools
   Rokugu (lit. six tools) are the six basic Shinobi tools that are essential to the gear of ninja/shinobi. These are the tools that a shinobi must always carry on all of his/her missions, all of them. These tools help in many of the common situations a ninja faces. Although there exists variations and types between the tools of each school in their shape, color, material or extent, the basic form and use of them had been the same through all the schools and regions of shinobi like Iga, Koka, Togakure-ryu.
   Unfortunately, none of the weapons or tools, which are famously portrayed to be the essential gear of the ninja like ninja sword, shuriken, blow pipe, shinobi shozoku, smoke bombs e.t.c, makes it to this list of six essential shinobi tools other than the Kaginawa (hooked rope).

   The six basic shinobi tools (Rokugu) are:

1. Amigasa -straw hat: The amigasa is a straw hat used to cover face or to change appearance. Through it you can see other people but they can not see your face. When not using it, you can carry it on your back, however, it is more advisable to carry it on your chest.

A type of amigasa- straw hat
2. Kaginawa -hooked rope: Kaginawa is a hooked rope with one or several hooks which is used primarily to climb or descend walls. There are several types of the hooks used. Other uses include torinawajutsu (techniques to tie, grapple and/or restrain some one), lock a sliding door, trap making, making ladders and carrying loads across distance. The  kaginawa can be carried suspended to the obi (belt/sash) or it can be tied around the body for concealing.
A kaginawa of four hooks
3. Sekihitsu -stone pencil: Sekihitsu is a rock or pencil or a stone pencil used to make hint markings and taking notes. The color of this stone pencil differs through several schools. Some uses black, some use white or red while some use a combination of different colors. Each color in this case may give certain meanings.

4. Kusuri -medicine: This may be a single medicine or it may be a box carrying different medicines. Generally the medicine used is for stomach disease (especially worm killer because it was thought that diseases are caused by worms) or it is a medicine to treat wounds. It depends on the type of job you perform. It is advised that you should not enter into a mission or job with an upset stomach.

5. Sanjaku Tenugui -3 Shaku hand cloth: 1 shaku is length equal to 30.3 cm (almost 1ft). This cloth is used for several purposes: to cover the face, to carry items, to filter water, to make a rope (by tying several or cutting the single into pieces, then tie them), to restrain or silence someone, to put it over locks or hinges so they make less noise to open or break them and for many other uses. The sanjaku tenugui can be used as a hachimaki (headband) or it can be carried in obi (belt/sash) or it can be put around collar. It is essential that you should carry it all times.
A sanjaku tenugui from Hatsumi Soke's personal collection.

6. Uchitake/Tsuketake -Bamboo striker/ Fire carrying bamboo cylinder: These are fire making and fire carrying tools, used for several purposes.
Uchidake from Tokagure-ryu
   It must be noted that these tools are symbolic and anything that resembles any of the above tools can be used in its place and given the same name. Once again, I must say that a shinobi must be flexible in his approach, like a bamboo. To a shinobi everything is a tool, the greatest tool being his own mind.

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