Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the most fun and popular origami creations kids want to make are ninja stars. It makes sense, too, as both origami and ninjas are a major part of Japanese culture. Origami literally comes from two Japanese words: “Oru,” which means “to fold,” and “kami,” which means paper. The origami tradition has been part of Japanese culture since 500 A.D., after Chinese paper finally made its way to Japan. At the time, paper was still so hard to find and so expensive that origami was only used for special, often religious ceremonies. Some several centuries after the origami boom, Japan saw the rise of ninjas (or shinobi). Ninjas were top secret agents and mercenaries whose first appearance came about in feudal Japan.
While many kids might use the words “ninja” and “Samurai” interchangeably, it’s worth noting that they’re actually very different. Strictly speaking, the Samurai caste believes that ninjas’ sometimes unscrupulous way of performing their duties made them less “honorable” than the Samurai. Just as popular culture has portrayed them, ninjas were quick, quiet and, above all else, sneaky. Meanwhile, Samurais seemed to prefer a more upfront attack.
So, where do ninja stars fit in? While ninjas were around as early as the 12th century and more prevalent in the 15th century, the earliest “ninja star” (or shuriken) seemed to have appeared during the 17th century. The word shuriken translates to “hidden hand blade” and is a term used to encompass many small, concealable weapons, including daggers. Interestingly enough, “ninja stars” weren’t actually used by ninjas — but by samurais and ashigaru soldiers. Fun fact: The art of properly wielding and fighting with throwing stars and daggers is known as shurikenjutsu. It was often taught alongside other martial arts.
While real throwing stars were fierce and deadly, the paper craft is a fairly safe toy in comparison… minus papercuts and the occasional folder corner landing somewhere tender. Just like there are many throwing star designs, there are also multiple ways to fold an origami ninja star. These videos will walk you through the most popular options.
“Normal” Ninja Star (Using Two Pieces of Paper)
This origami creation is probably the most popular. You could simply use two pieces of notebook paper, which gives the star a bi-colored design kids may find more attractive. May we suggest red and black construction paper?
Ninja Star With Just One Paper
While not as colorful, the one-piece ninja star is also popular and quite simple to do. However, some people might find it more challenging than the two-piece option.
Transforming Ninja Star
Like ninjas, the transforming star is sneaky and capable of blending in with its surroundings. With a quick twist of the wrist, this folded paper creation can go from a simple origami circle to a “deadly weapon.” You can even wear it as a bracelet. Talk about the ultimate deception!
Double Ninja Star
Do you know what’s cooler than one origami weapon? A double star with even more blades! The double ninja star isn’t more powerful than its original design, but it is a cool paper-folding upgrade. This video walks you through this surprisingly easy origami creation.
Boomerang Ninja Star
The boomerang version of the ninja star stands out the most because it looks the least like the original star design. Its long, spindly paper blades make it look twice as deadly. And rumor has it that if you throw it just right, like a real boomerang, it will come back. Duck!
Which super-cool origami ninja star is your kiddo requesting? You might have to make the first few rounds, but with a little patience (and “screen time”), your child will master each origami figure.
Are ninja stars illegal in California?
Apart from the paper ninja stars you can create using the videos above, real metal ninja stars are illegal in some states across the country. Usually, if the state prohibits carrying knives, throwing stars are also likely illegal because they’re considered blades. In California, it is against the law to make, import, sell, give or have a ninja star. But no worries! The paper ones are totally legal wherever you go!
The only thing cooler than paper-crafted ninja weapons are jokes inspired by ninjas. In true shinobi style, we’ve snuck in some funnies your kid will love.
How does a ninja deal with fear?
He gives it to others.
How many ninjas does it take to change a lightbulb?
Where’d that lightbulb come from?
If a ninja kills someone in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
No, it makes a corpse!
Ninja stars weren’t the only weapon used by these super sneaky warriors. They also used:
- Throwing knives: A small super sharp knife that is similar to a ninja star.
- Blowguns: A long narrow tube that is blown in to release a dart.
- Nunchucks: Nunchucks are usually made of metal, wood, plastic, or fiberglass. They are two thick sticks connected by a short chain or rope.
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