Makibishi (撒菱)

Makibishi is a tool which is scattered on the ground to escape from pursuers when running away. Makibishi is one of tools used by ninja.

A makibishi made of iron may be often imagined, but it is too heavy as a disposable tool, expensive and inconvenient for carrying and therefore it is not suitable for personal use. Originally, ninja scattered makibishi which was dried fruit (nut) of the aquatic plant hishi (water chestnut; Trapa japonica). The fruit (nut) of hishi (water chestnut; Trapa japonica) or similar article has a triangular pyramid shape, and basically its spines are designed to hurt pursuers' feet no matter how it is placed. Makibishi may be made by sharpening a piece of wood or bamboo stick.

When carrying around makibishi, it is usually put into a bamboo tube. In this way, it was possible to use makibishi as a weapon by throwing it at the enemy's face like sprinkling it on the enemy.

As a tool similar to makibishi, there existed a makibishi made of iron, which was called caltrop in Medieval Europe, and it was used to slow down the advance of horses, war elephants. A similar tool also exists in China.

Makibishi is also familiar as a gimmick in action movies and, for example, makibishi is equipped with the rear bumper of Bond car BMW750il in James Bond movie "007 Tomorrow Never Dies".

[Original Japanese]