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Ninjas have always been famous, and they are liked for their composure and indifference. Other than this, ninjas are also able to perform breathtaking acrobatics. These physical abilities leave a sense of awe inside the minds of people. Even though they are spies and not fighters, the western media has made ninjas into brawlers with fast movements and dark shadow techniques.
Naruto is a manga series that capitalizes on this image of ninjas. But being native to Japan itself, Naruto is more realistic than the western rendering of ninjas. But Masashi Kishimoto, the author, tries to instill the creativity of shonen into the characteristics of ninjas. He has achieved this by broadening the role of ninjas, giving them personality through their many powers, and employing a wide range of weaponry.
Although weapons used by the ninjas are the same, Kishimoto has adapted them through his own creativity. One of such weapons is the kunai. The kunai is generally a modest knife that can be adapted into a throwing knife or be used as a dagger.
Different characters have differently constructed weapons to give them an advantage on the battlefield. This guide will show you how the kunai has been depicted in the series. Also, how they turned the tide of the events. First, let’s look at the Kunai knives in the real world and compare them to the Kunai knives we all get to see in the Naruto universe.
The Kunai In the Real World
A kunai is an old Japanese trowel that traces back to the Tensho Era. The kunai is made from top-notch iron by hand and was roughly framed and unpolished. The process starts by producing Japanese Wakugi Nails and molding them into kunai shapes. Since the kunai was planned as a tool rather than a tossing weapon, it exists in various sizes and shapes. The majority of kunai measures 20 to 60 cm in length, with the average being 40 cm.
The kunai was a multi-purpose cultivation device used by ordinary people such as stone and craftsmanship workers. The kunai isn’t technically a blade, but it is a wrecking bar. Since Ninjas utilized the edges to break mortar and wood, dig openings, and pry, they were iron and dull.
Typically, just the tip of the device would be honed. Unlike a knife, a kunai is used as a trowel or a pry bar. Furthermore, since most kunai are blunt and heavy, they are more efficient for rendering an enemy unconscious rather than killing them.
A Kunai featured a leaf-molded sharp edge with a hook at one end for attaching a rope. The rope might be wrapped around the kunai’s handle to serve as a grip or lashed to a stick to serve as a substandard lance. It could also be attached to the body for protection and be used as an anchor or piton. Contrary to popular belief, kunai knives are not ideal for throwing because of their weight.
There are three types of kunai. The first is a collection of antiques employed in feudal Japan, and the second is the goods being sold. The third is the type that is frequently found in anime and manga.
Some Common Battle Stances to Hold a Kunai
There are, in total, seven common stances to hold a kunai. These stances have a standard version and the reverse version. A brief description of these common stances is given down below:
Seigan No Kamae
In Seigan, the blade is directed at the opponent’s eyes, and one foot is in front of the other. This is also a standard sword posture. It is directed downwards in the reverse version while the index finger points at the opponent’s eyes.
Gedan No Kamae
Gedan is similar to Seigan, except the blade points towards the opponent’s feet. In the reversion, the index is pointing at the feet.
Jodan No Kamae
The user points the kunai towards the ceiling while extending their front hand downwards. The front hand can also be at the side of the body. In Jodan, the kunai is in the backhand. Similar to others, the reverse version has the index finger of the kunai wielding hand pointed upwards.
Hira No Kamae
This is a horizontal stance. The entire body is extended straight as possible, including the arms and legs, with the chest towards the opponent. The legs are also slightly bent. In its reverse form, the finger is pointed sideways.
Jumonji No Kamae
Jumonji is like Hira no Kamae except the use crosses their arms in front of the body with the blade directed upwards. In its reverse version, the kunai is pointing forwards.
Kyo-E No Kamae
This is a stance for stealth. In this stance, the blade is hidden behind the body while the head is slouched forwards. One foot is ahead of the other, and the fingers of the left hand are directed downwards diagonally. The grip on the kunai is reversed in its other form.
Shizentai No Kamae
Shizentai is a natural stance where the blade is hidden behind the hip. In its reverse version, the grip is inverted while the kunai is still hidden.
The Use of Kunai in Naruto Series
Although not primarily a weapon in Japanese culture, the kunai was an excellent substitute for real ninja weapons. In Naruto, the kunai is mainly used as a knife. Almost every character in the series has a store of kunai for throwing or other purposes. Some also use the kunai as a dagger of sorts.
The standard kunai looks like a dark knife with a wrapped handle and a ring-like structure at the end of its handle. It is about the length of one’s hand. The primary purpose for the kunai is to cut and stab, but it may also be thrown like a killing dart. But other than the standard kunai, there are varieties of kunai used by many characters. The purpose of these serves to either enhance the fighting potential of someone or be compatible with one’s power.
Some of the Most Common Kunai Techniques
Kunai is a mid-range weapon. Although commonly a throwing knife, kunai is a dangerous weapon in close-range. The hilt is used as an axle in all the techniques, and the momentum injures an opponent. There are three standard kunai techniques:
Sui No Kata Henka
In this technique, distance is created by a backstep. This is done so that the kunai slash can get additional momentum. After the backstep, the kunai is spun around its axis while the arms slash forward. The attack may either be on the eyes or the legs. By opening up the body, the attack has more range.
Hebi No Shurai
The kunai attack rarely incapacitates, and this is because most kunai knives are not sharp around the edges. For this reason, this technique was developed. Basically, after a slash, the kunai comes back towards the body. The kunai changes hands. And the other hand stabs into the opponent to give the final blow.
A cross stance is necessary for this technique. The kunai is twirled to quickly slice a key target from this stance. Another slash is made, continuing the momentum of the first attack. Regardless of whether the kunai is sharp or not, this technique always cuts.
Different Types of Kunai in the Naruto Series
- The Zabuza Kunai: It is a two-edged kunai where one edge is relatively less protruding than the other. The longer edge is sharper.
- The Zaku Kunai: It is a kunai with three diamond-shaped holes in its middle. The kunai is thin around the edges, making it sharper, and the pommel is not ring-shaped.
- Exploding Kunai: The exploding kunai knives have an exploding tag attached to the kunai with a thread. It becomes more prevalent in the series later on. The exploding kunai are used by almost everyone. It serves to either confuse enemies or set up smoke to elude one’s enemies.
- The Kabuto Kunai: Unlike other kunai that are straight, It is a curved kunai that looks like the Chilean Corvo Knife.
- Team Oboro Kunai: This kunai consisted of two blades at both handle ends.
- The Hidden Mist Kunai: The ninja of the Hidden Mist Village used a kind of curved and serrated knife during the Fourth Great Ninja War. They used it against the revived Second Mizukage and the Third Raikage in the Fourth Great Ninja War.
- Kotetsu And Izumo Kunai: Kotetsu and Izumo kunai knives are relatively large and similar to swords. Unlike a standard Kunai, they have a blunt side and a razor side. Furthermore, these kunai have a circular hole present in their center.
- Square-Hilt Kunai: It looks like the standard kunai except for having a square-hilt instead of a circular one.
- Kunai Whip: Like other whips, as the name suggests, this is a whip with many kunai attached to it.
- Flying Thunder God Kunai: This is a three-bladed kunai with a thicker handle than the standard kunai. The extra blades make it more dangerous in fights.
Kunai and the Major Characters that Use Them
The kunai becomes an afterthought as the series progresses. But some characters still have a distinct way of using kunai or use a unique weapon of their own. Here is a brief introduction of popular characters from the series who preferred and used special Kunai knives in certain Jutsus.
Here is a list of such characters whose kunai have a significant role in developing the storyline of the Naruto series.
Zabuza was a ninja from the Hidden Mist Village who was Naruto’s first opponent. He was a part of the famed Seven Swordsmen of the Mist, and each of these swordsmen wielded a special sword that had its ability. The story of Zabuza is told through flashbacks. Once, Zabuza was an idealist. But his failure made him realize his weakness and become a pessimist. Zabuza then becomes a mercenary, feeling no hatred to work for the most corrupt.
Zabuza wears a large sword at his back. The ability of this sword is that it eats the iron from the blood of its opponents. Other than exception sword skills, Zabuza has tremendous strength. He is also able to do a series of water transformation ninjitsu.
Using his mist technique, Zabuza finally strikes his enemies with his sword. Zabuza uses a somewhat different kunai, and it has two edges. One of the edges is like the standard kunai, and it is sharper even though it is thinner. The other edge is more minor, and it is also curved outside. Other than Zabuza, the ninjas of the Hidden Mist Village use the same kind of kunai.
Kabuto was introduced as an older ninja sent by the Hidden Sound Village for the chunin exams. In reality, Kabuto was the right-hand man of Orochimaru, whose purpose was to find a suitable vessel for him. Also, Kabuto was to launch an attack on the Hidden Leaf Village with the help of the Hidden Sand Village.
Kabuto appears reserved and kind. He helps out Naruto and his team. But in reality, he is trying to keep an eye on Sasuke. But sometimes, Kabuto appears confident, and he openly admits being shy. In actuality, Kabuto has a history of being a spy. For this reason, his persona has overcome him, and he seems to have a split personality. Orochimaru took advantage of this.
When Orochimaru dies, Kabuto attempts to take revenge against Sasuke. He also adapted many of the abilities that Orochimaru used. These are the snake techniques and the resurrection jutsu to revive the dead shinobi.
While most kunai are straight, the kunai of Kabuto is curved towards the handle. The curve gives the kunai a sharper edge, and it is more knife-like than kunai. Depending on how one uses it, both sides of the kunai can injure or kill an important.
To take Sasuke back to Orochimaru, the Sound Four were sent. One of the members of the Sound Four was Kidomaru. Although a minor enemy, Kidomaru did pose trouble for Neji. His body was unique as he had six arms which were not explained.
Probably because he was subject to experimentation. Kidmaru was a tall, darker-looking shinobi with dark shaggy hair tied in a pigtail and bruised eyes.
Kidomaru was an excellent tactician. He rapidly assessed a scenario and determined what to do next, moving the chess pieces accordingly. Although having spider techniques and attacking from afar, Kidomaru was also skilled at taijutsu.
Due to his body modifications, Kidomaru had spider ninja techniques. The Sticky Gold Spider Technique was one of his spider techniques. Using this technique, he created his own kunai. They were in the shape of sickles and lacked a proper handle. The aperture of the curved sickle was not that great, and they were shaped like ice axes.
Minato Namikaze was the Fourth Hokage, and he sealed the Nine-Tails inside the baby Naruto at the cost of his own life. Although not known at first, the story of Minato is revealed more and more to the viewer as the series progresses. B
efore becoming the Hokage, Minato was a teacher to Kakashi and Obito. The former is the teacher to the protagonist, and the latter is one of the main antagonists. Minato is also the father of the titular character, Naruto.
He seals the Nine-Tails inside Naruto because Naruto carries the Uzumaki clan’s blood through his mother, Kushina. Also, he believes Naruto can control the Nine-Tails Fox. While being handsome, he was humble and very calm against adversity. He also feels heavily responsible and is heavily critical of himself.
Minato was a powerful ninja. He was adept at using fire, wind, and lightning ninjutsu. But he also learned teleportation techniques for flexibility in movement. Another one of his abilities was his sensory perception. This allowed him to have a perception of Chakra inside his mind. Finally, Minato used a customized kunai meshing it with his teleportation.
Minato had a distinctive three-pronged kunai with a thick handle imbued with his Chakra. It is known as the Flying Thunder God Kunai that Minato uses with his teleportation techniques. In technical terms, the kunai acted as a sort of marker to tell him where to teleport. He had a hefty inventory of kunai with him in the field, spread out across a large region to meander around with more other options.
Tenten is a weapon expert. One of the two characters in the series that do not have great control over their Chakra, and the other is Rock Lee. But she can use a variety of weapons according to her genius. Tenten was a part of Team Guy. When she wanted to become like Tsunade, she tried improving her physical strength. But when she realized that she could not maintain control over her Chakra, she decided to focus on her strengths. This was the use of ninja weapons.
Tenten uses a wide assortment of weapons. This means there is a versatility to her inventory, including the kunai. Tenten uses somewhat different kunai than everybody else, and they are smaller. Furthermore, she has a metal sphere that she uses to launch them. The metal sphere explodes like a bomb, and instead of releasing shrapnel, it unleashes small kunai.
Sasori of the Red Sand
Sasori was a puppet master ninja and also a member of the Akatsuki. Sasori is in love with his puppets. But it is in excess where that Sasori wants them to last forever. It is surmised that Sasori lost his parents when he was young, so to keep them around forever, he found comfort in his puppets.
Sasori was a powerful ninja. He was able to defeat many strong opponents with the power of his puppets. He had numerous powerful puppet techniques, and each had a unique weapon. Combining this with the large reserve of his Chakra, Sasori was formidable.
Through his puppets, Sasori has access to a variety of weaponry. Sasori has diverse battle methods depending on the function. The Father, one of his earliest creations, was one such puppet. The Father puppet had this whip-like weapon to which multiple kunai were attached. The Father was later used Grandma Chiyo and Kankuro too.
Like Sasori, Deidara was a member of the Akatsuki. Deidara, a member of the Hidden Stone Village, was an expert at exploding clay ninjutsu. After becoming a rogue ninja, Deidara was recruited by Itachi, Kisame, and Sasori. Itachi used the Sharingan to beat him.
From then on, he wanted to take revenge on Itachi. Deidara was sane and collected most of the time. But he got more rash as the series progressed. Also, Deidara was competitive, especially in matters of art. He liked it if someone enjoyed his technique. Deidara admired Sasori, although their philosophies were incompatible.
He was stealthy, sly, and intelligent. While strong in direct combat, he still tried to use the strategy that gave him the best advantage in the fight. Often, Deidara would make his exploding clays ahead of time so he would not run out of munition during his battle.
There was a variety to his self-fashioned explosives. Deidara knows its importance, although one might expect someone with exploding powers to not use the kunai. He is a ninja in the proper sense of the word, which means that he uses stealth to his advantage. Explosions always make a noise, but kunai are silent. For this reason, Deidara carries around square-hilt kunai.
The following are the kunai not used by special characters. They were shown once and twice in the manga, and regardless, I feel that they deserve mention in this section.
Tobi’s Giant Kunai
Tobi can control space-time using his Kamui. Through it, he creates an alternate space. Several weapons are stored inside this space. One of those weapons is gigantic kunai that he hurls at enemies.
Tenten’s Chain Kunai
Tenten has also used another variant of kunai. A chain is threaded through the pommels of two kunai of this kind.
Memorable Scenes Where The Kunai Was Important
Although this is quite a subjective take, most people would resonate with the following scenes:
Zabuza Killing Gato
After losing to Kakashi and the death of Haku, Zabuza is standing on his last legs. Feeling that Zabuza is treated as a tool, Naruto yells at him. But Zabuza tells Naruto that he did care for Haku, and he was not only a tool to him.
Goto, the man who hired Zabuza, comes to reprimand him. Zabuza asks Naruto to throw him a kunai which Zabuza catches with his mouth. Subsequently, he uses the kunai to kill Goto. Afterward, he succumbs to his injuries and dies near Haku.
Minato and Tobi
The Fourth Hokage was most certainly the most innovative kunai fighter. This is because Minato needed markers to instantly teleport from one place to another.
The fight started with the fox being released by Tobi from Kushina during her labor. When the Nine-Tails is attacking the village, Tobi distracts Minato. Minato teleports to his safe spots where he has a bunch of Flying Thunder God Kunai, and Tobi follows. Whenever in a pinch, Minato teleports from one place to another.
Seeing that the fox was attacking the village, Minato devised a quick strategy to deal with Tobi. First, he threw a kunai towards him, to which Tobi permeated, and it went through his head. Minato had his Rasengan ready to hit Tobi. He reasoned that if he could catch Minato and use his jutsu before the Rasengan struck, he’d be OK. But Minato had other plans.
He quickly teleported to his thrown knife and hit Tobi with his Rasengan from above. While striking him, Minato also marked him. When Tobi tried to recuperate, Minato teleported and stabbed him, quickly ending the fight. He also removed the control Tobi had on the fox.
Deidara Against Team Guy
Deidara had lost both his arms before confronting Team Guy. He only had his mouth left. So he used his kunai using his mouth. He staved off shuriken and kunai attacks, but Team Guy proved too much. Finally, Deidara decided to eat his own clay and commit self-exploding suicide. In reality, his clone committed suicide. He survived the Hidden Leaf ninja.
You Can Have Your Personal Kunai
There is a variety of kunai that you can order online. Most of these kunai are modeled after the kunai in the manga series. My recommendation is the Avias Knife Kunai. Both its edges are sharp, and it is made of stainless steel. It is 6 inches tall and also comes with a knife thrower. If such kunai is not your liking and you want more of a safe option, you can shop from Amazon for a wide variety of options.
How You Can Use Kunai
The kunai techniques are given above, showing how to use a kunai in close combat. But it can also be used as a throwing knife. It is warned that kunai should only be thrown for sports, and it can seriously injure someone, so make sure proper precautions are taken.
To throw a kunai, you first need to hold it correctly in your dominant hand. Your fingers should be wrapped around the handle, and your thumb should be centered on the handle. Your non-dominant hand and feet should be facing the target. Now throw it as hard as you can. Increase the momentum of your elbow to gain additional power.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
People are often intrigued by some specific questions regarding the topics that I write about. So here are some frequently asked questions about Kunais in the Naruto Universe and my answers to them.
Question: What is the difference between Shuriken and Kunai?
Although interchangeably used, the shuriken is different from kunai. While kunai are throwing blades and throwing daggers, shuriken are throwing stars. In reality, ninjas used shuriken, and kunai was actually a masonry tool.
Question: How do ninjas have so many kunai?
If you look attentively, you’ll see that most ninjas wear a medium-sized pouch around their waist, and they also have a small bag around their neck. Also, other than genin, most other ninjas had flak jackets. All of these compartments are excellent places to store kunai and shuriken. Also, a ninja always has something up his sleeve.
Question: Are kunai really important in the Naruto Series?
Although most battles are not decided by kunai, they are consistently used for world-building. The author’s inventiveness is also demonstrated by the wide range of kunai. Occasionally, kunai does turn out vital. Some use kunai with a thread to change their orientation mid-air before an attack hits them. They are also good at stealth.
Kunai Naruto Guide: Final Thoughts
Naruto was a manga series written by Masashi Kishimoto. It was serialized in the Weekly Shonen Jump for fifteen years. To help sustain its popularity, the author had to imbed certain world-building elements. Since Naruto is the universe of ninjas, ninja weapons should be a vital part of their world.
One such weapon is the kunai. Funnily enough, the kunai was not used as a weapon by ninjas. It was actually a masonry trowel. The edges of the kunai were not that sharp, and the pointy end was used to make holes in the ground to plant seeds. Feudal also displayed kunai as antiques. Seldom were used as weapons.
In Naruto, kunai is a staple for every ninja. The ability with which a ninja uses his kunai displays his skill in the real world. They have different variety and combined with other elements of the show, they are used resourcefully.
The pleasure I felt from the fighting was one of the aspects of the manga that I enjoyed. Each fight used shuriken and kunai, and the kunai with threads and exploding kunai were usually used. But some others adapted the kunai according to their nature and characteristics. After reading this guide, I hope you will understand how to use a Kunai to become a ninja.