Shuriken is also known as ninja star at times. As the name tells the story, it is a weapon shaped like a star. And yes, it is a star but a very lethal and dangerous one. It features a few edges on it that can be deadly.

It has been adopted as a self defense weapon today. However, there are several other activities being performed with it. But, it was not the case if we explore the ancient times. The traditional uses of shuriken were pretty different.

In this article, we are attempting to identify the difference between modern and traditional shuriken. However, we are focusing mainly on the uses of the weapon, not the designs and shapes. So, let’s explore all those important differences.

Traditional Shuriken

The traditional shuriken or ninja stars were quite different from today. Yes, the differences of designs, shapes and number of edges exist, but we are rather talking about the uses. Whenever we explore the traditional uses of this weapon, our attention quickly goes to the ninjas.

Ninjas were the first to use them. They were used mainly for fighting the enemies. Ninjas, the great warriors were famous for their tactics during the wars. They could do anything strategically to defeat their enemies.

So, these warriors actually introduced such weapons. These were smart weapons designed to assist them in wars and battles. Let’s figure out the traditional uses of the shuriken.

- Used During the Wars

Ninja stars were mainly used during the wars. They served as fighting weapons to deal with the enemies. As mentioned above, ninjas used different tactics to defeat their enemies, and this was one of them.

Yes, swords were the primary fighting weapons to battle the enemies, but ninjas always equipped themselves with secondary weapons that could assist them.

Also, at different occasions, the warriors lost their primary weapons and in those cases, they used secondary weapons to survive. Therefore, during the wars, they carried these stars as their secondary weapons in case of losing the primary weapons i-e swords.

- Used As a Tactical Weapon

As mentioned above, shuriken was not the primary fighting weapon. It was rather a tactical weapon. It was a part of the strategies adopted by the ninjas to defeat their enemies. Being a tactical weapon, it was used for tactical purposes. It was not supposed to be a primary weapon to kill the enemies.

The ninjas used to throw them on their enemies as a tactic to distract them. They were thrown at a pace and with serious force. One they struck them, they flew away very quickly. Meanwhile, they distracted the enemies. It was difficult for them to figure out what was causing the trouble.

- Used for Maiming

Traditional shuriken was used for maiming, not killing. In other words, it was used for causing slight injuries, not causing deaths. It was first thrown on the enemies to cause injuries on their heads.

The ninjas made sure that they throw them at a quick pace and with accuracy. Since they had sharp edges, they could cause serious injuries on the heads of their enemies.

Furthermore, ninja stars were used for causing injuries on the feet. They were not thrown all the time.

Sometimes, they were embedded in the ground to cause injuries on the feet of the enemies who stepped on them. In any case, they were pretty effective in providing an advantage to the ninjas over their enemies in the wars.

Hence, traditionally shuriken was just a fighting weapon used in the wars. Mainly, it was used in tactical ways. Before the war started, ninjas threw them on their enemies to gain an early advantage over their enemies and eventually, win the battles.

Modern Shuriken

In modern days, there are no wars that require the use of such tactical weapons. Now, we have firearms and nuclear weapons to serve those purposes. Hence, what should be the motivation behind shuriken?

Well, today, we might not use shuriken as tactical fighting weapons, but we do use them for self defense. In fact, the use of this small weapon today revolves around self defense against the attackers. However, it is also used for playing throwing sport. So, let’s explore these modern uses.

- Shuriken for Self Defense

The foremost use of shuriken today is self defense. People tend to carry and use different weapons to deal with the attackers who are finding it easy to attack the people randomly. Almost every other day, such attacks take place. To prevent those attacks, people have to carry a weapon.

This need of carrying self defense weapons have urged people to use shuriken. But, is it worth using it for defense? Following are the advantages or possibly the reasons why people prefer it for self defense.

- Thrown from a Distance

The biggest benefit of shuriken for self defense is that it can be used from a distance, You can throw it from a safe distance away from the attacker and do the damage. The problem with most of the self defense weapons available in the market is that they require you to get closer to the attacker.

Getting closer to the attacker is usually very dangerous. You never want to take even one step towards him. In other words, this is the last thing you want.

In case of ninja stars, you don’t have to get closer to him. You can keep yourself at a safe distance from the attacker and throw the stars on him. But, you need to be accurate and quick with your throws.

- Easy to Carry

Another self defense advantage of ninja star is that it is pretty easy to carry. This is what you always require from your self defense weapon. If it is not very comfortable to carry, it won’t be a preferable option.

Throwing stars are pretty easy and comfortable to carry. You can carry them in a bag or in your pocket. You don’t need leather sheaths to cover the edges. Also, it does not pose any threat of accidental injuries. Therefore, you don’t need to worry while carrying them.

- Easy to Use

Shuriken is very easy to use as well. Not many weapons are that easy to be used against the attackers. All you need to do is throw it to the attacker. Really, nothing else you need to do. There is no blade attached to it, no magazine or push button. The edges do the job for you if you throw it rightly.

The important thing is that you know how to throw them. Your throwing skills are certainly tested when you use them against the attackers. You need to throw them accurately and with a pace that can inflict injuries.

- Capable of Injuring the Attacker

The key advantage of shuriken is that it is capable of inflicting severe injuries to the attacker. Since it features some sharp edges, an injury is likely if thrown at the right pace and with accuracy. Sometimes, there are just a couple or three edges.

However, at times, there are many edges, and more number of edges is better for self defense because then there are more chances of inflicting severe injuries.

- Shuriken for Throwing Game

One modern use of shuriken is throwing sport. This is what distinguishes it from the traditional throwing stars. Throwing sports are gradually becoming popular all over the world.

The most commonly played sports include knife throwing and axe throwing. These two are the weapons commonly used for playing throwing games.

However, people have discovered a new throwing sport or a new weapon to engage in a throwing sport. Shuriken is now used for playing throwing games. The rules for playing remain same while the throwing weapon changes.

For example, there is a similar target often made of wood. The star features edges which allow it to stick into the wooden target. To score, the star needs to stick into the target.

There is a reasonable distance at which you throw the stars. Though this throwing sport has not got a global recognition yet, but it is becoming popular in America.


To conclude, one can say that modern shuriken and traditional shuriken were used pretty differently. Traditionally, these were fighting weapons and used mainly during the wars. Ninjas, the earliest users of these stars determined how to use them tactically during the wars.

Also, they served the warriors as weapons for causing distraction and maiming. They could not cause deaths, but severe injuries.

Modern shuriken is a self defense weapon used by the people to battle the attackers. And it has been a very effective weapon for defense because it can be used from a safe distance.

In addition, the modern ninja star is used for playing throwing games. So, these are the primary differences between modern and traditional shuriken!