The "shuriken" is a concealable form of Japanese weaponry. Shurikens range from the iconic Hira-shuriken stars, Kunei and Tanto knives, daggers, and Bo stakes, to name a few. Contrary to popular weeaboo knowledge, shuriken are not necessarily confined to being thrown only by ninjas, and can refer to any concealable weapon used for assassinations (which is carried by ninjas) or a side-arm for combatants, like tanto knives.
In terms of application, shurikens were more of multi-tools than pure combat implements. While they can be thrown and used in close combat, they could also be used for more crafty applications, such as using them to make makeshift traps.
The killing potential of these weapons when thrown tends to be really low. In fact, realistically in a position where one got the drop on a target, simply going up to and stabbing the target would be much more effective that throwing your weapon at them. There were risks such as potentially arming your target with the shuriken you just threw, missing the target, not doing any significant damage, etc. Due to this, shurikens were sometimes coated in some kind of poison to ensure whoever they wound is debilitated and/or killed. If traditional toxins weren't available, assassins usually resorted to more...interesting methods, such infecting the weapon with excrement (its not as effective as true poisons, but contracting sepsis during the time of feudal Japan typically resulted in death, even with the crude solution of amputation.)
Shurikens aren't as effective as they make them look like on Chinese cartoons, but they did have their uses.
| Battleaxe - Dagger - Lance - Mace |
Pole-arm - Spear - Sword - Warhammer
| Blowgun - Bows and Arrows - Cannon |
Crossbow - Firearm - Rocket - Shuriken - Sling