A shuriken, literally "sword hidden in the hand" is a Japanese concealable throwing weapon. Shuriken took on two basic forms, the spike-like bo-shuriken- a simple metal spike, or the more elaborate hira-shuriken, which were flat, often with a star shape, earning them the nickname "throwing stars" or "ninja stars" in western culture. Shuriken was mainly intended as a distraction, not being particularly lethal unless they struck a major artery, such as in the neck, for instance. However, shuriken was sometimes made more lethal by coating them with poison, or according to some accounts, burying them in dirt or feces, allowing germs to build upon the shuriken.