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) Bamboo arrow.png
Name ya
Appearance bamboo arrow
Damage vs. small 1d7
Damage vs. large 1d7
To-hit bonus +1
Weapon skill bow
Size one-handed
Base price 4 zm
Weight 1
Material metal

A ya is a Japanese arrow for use with a bow. They appear in the starting inventory of samurai and can occasionally be found randomly generated elsewhere. When unidentified, it appears as a bamboo arrow, but strangely their in-game material is metal.

When fired by a samurai from a yumi, your multishot counter is increased by 1, meaning you may multishot up to one more arrow than otherwise.


Ya deal more base damage than any other arrow, and are also the only arrows to have a to-hit bonus. Their material makes it so that they also cannot erode. Thus, they're great to use if you can find some, even if you're not a Samurai.


Ya are a real world arrow type used by Japanese archers, around 85-110 centimeters (33-43 inches), compared to the 75-90 centimeters (30-35 inches) of the normal arrow. They were made to be fired from a yumi, though in NetHack, there's no penalty for another bow, simply not a bonus.

The yumi itself is a very large bow, to deal with these large arrows, standing 212-245 centimeters (83 to 96 inches) tall, and being around 25% over the height of the archer (a longbow, in comparison, stood roughly as tall as the archer).

The to-hit bonus may suggest that the arrows were supposed to have a bodkin point, a common medieval war-time arrow by no means specific to the Japanese. This is an arrow head type made for penetrating armor, and in particular, chain or ring mail.

Encyclopedia entry

The arrow of choice of the samurai, ya are made of very
straight bamboo, and are tipped with hardened steel.