A fukiya

The fukiya (吹き矢) is the Japanese blowgun, as well as the term for the associated sport. It consists of a 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in) tube, with darts approximately 20 cm (7.9 in) in length. Unlike modern Western blowguns, the fukiya has no mouthpiece: instead, a shooter must maintain a seal with the lips while forcefully exhaling. The darts used in the fukiya are called fukibari. Traditionally, fukibari were 5 cm (2.0 in) in length.

In Japan, fukiya is considered to be an archery sport, maintained by the Japan Sports Fukiya Association. In order to promote fukiya, the International Fukiya Association (IFA) was formed, based in Japan. The main organizations under the IFA are the American Association (ASBA), and the French Federation (FSBA).


The fukiya is often considered to have been a weapon of the ninja. It is known that in the past, there were numerous schools of martial arts and ninjutsu (such as Togakure-ryū) which used the fukiya and fukibari alone (as senbon).

A typical ninjutsu fukiya is around 50 cm (20 in), which is shorter than the sport fukiya, and does shorten the effective range. Thus, even in theory, ninja would have had to use special darts with poisoned tips in order for it to work, and fired from a concealed location. Most likely, it was used similar to shuriken, as a distraction.

The blowgun can also double as a breathing pipe and straw to enable the ninja practitioner to better survive in the wilderness.

There will always be doubts whether it was truly effective compared to bow and arrows, since it has a shorter range. In the hands of experts ("Master" level), it can be very accurate, as testified by sport fukiya players today.

Science of fukiya

The range of a fukiya is determined by size (diameter), weight, length and material of its basic component, the tube. Pressure built up in the tube from the player's breath and the technique that the player uses to channel the breath into the tube affects the speed that the dart will exit the muzzle.

Weight will affect a player's ability to hold the tube steady, and arm fatigue level over a period of time.

Sport fukiya

Like any sport, fukiya has certain guidelines for its equipment. In general, international guidelines set by IFA are less strict than JSFA. Currently, the specifications for international competitions are as follows:


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