CAIRO – 17 February 2022: Archaeologists have discovered artifacts at several Japanese sites, including Iwatsuki Castle and Hachioji Castle, which may be weapons belonging to the ninja teams that were active in Japan hundreds of years ago.
The history of ninja weapons goes back to the Siege of Odawara in 1590. During this siege, the Toyotomi and Tokugawa clans defeated the Hojo clan, who controlled much of Japan, and captured both castles.
The siege took place during the period (1467-1615), a period when Japan was divided between several warlords who fought for power.
Historical texts mention ninjas as spies and saboteurs during this time and they likely participated in the siege.
The artifacts include flat throwing stones and a barbed weapon that can cut into the feet of soldiers and horses. Iwata Akihiro, an archaeologist at the Saitama Prefectural Museum of History and Folklore, told Live Science in an email that these artifacts were likely weapons of "a combat group that could move to work like a ninja."
Akihiro told Live Science that these weapons were hastily manufactured before the siege and despite the hasty manufacture, both weapons were likely effective.
Also, Akihiro added that stone throwing was used to stop the enemy's movement. Despite being armed with weapons, the ninja clans were unable to save the two castles as they fell into the hands of much larger armies in 1615. The Tokugawa clan succeeded in uniting all of Japan under its rule, forming a government that would retain power for centuries.