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Bans Enshu Kai

Bans Enshu Kai

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Published by Levi Atkins
Myriad Rivers come together.
Myriad Rivers come together.

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Published by: Levi Atkins on Aug 18, 2013
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The Bansenshukai (Sea of Myriad Rivers Merging) is a multi-volume secret written transmission (densho) of Iga and Koga

Ninjutsu. It was compiled by Fujibayashi Yasutake (also, Yasuyoshi) of Iga in the fourth year of En'o (1676). The Bansenshukai collection includes one volume of introduction, question and answer section, and a table of contents; two volumes on thought and philosophy; four volumes on leadership; three volumes on Yo; five volumes on In; two volumes on astrology; and five volumes on weapons. The Koga version has twenty two chapters bound in ten volumes with an additional one volume. The Iga version has twenty two chapters bound in twelve volumes with additional four chapters in four volumes attached to it. The Bansenshukai is a written transmission of philosophy, military strategy and tactics, astrology and weapons that are identified specifically with Ninjutsu. Although the author of the Bansenshukai was influenced by Chinese thought, and even indicates a connection to Chinese military traditions, he presents the material as the ultimate accumulation and perfection of Ninjutsu knowledge--as the name Bansenshukai itself suggests. A limited number of hand written copies of the Bansenshukai were offered to the public after WW2, but the publisher stopped producing more copies and there are none available for purchase. For those interested in reading the Bansenshukai in its original language (which is not modern Japanese, rather a form of Japanized Chinese called kanbun), some major national and university libraries hold a copy of the collection. Selected translations of the Bansenshukai published in this site were made from a hand made copy (shahon) of the original text. A full translation is not planned for this site but would be available sometimes in the future in a printed form.

Bansenshukai volume 1 Military affairs are of vital importance to the state. It is the way of life and death, existence and cessation. It is an important matter for the welfare of the state. It is not a small matter. The meaning of that should be contemplated with calm and caution. Do not treat it lightly. . Therefore, we shall first specify the details, clarify the five matters and seven stratagems, and grasp [the essence of] a

Without maintaining virtue. .person's heart. loyalty. and austerity. Since then. . The essence of nin is the correct heart and mind. These are not different from the three efficacies--heaven. and the one below. loyalty. draw up a strategy. Only conscientious people. In addition. the Sun Tzu. this is not unusual for seventeenth-century military scholarship. Without first having a correct heart. sincerity. and use it in a correct and effective way. [However]. Ninjutsu Questions and Answers Question: When was the beginning of Ninjutsu? Answer: It began as military strategy of emperor Fushigitei and by the time of Kotei it was fully employed. Question: Why is it said that ninjutsu is an essential aspect of the army? Answer: It is confirmed within the thirteen volumes of the Sun Tzu. and surveillance. The elements of nin are covert [activity]. its essence could be seen in various ancient records. its records were hidden. . in one hundred battles you can be victorious one hundred times. The five matters are. generations of military records. in one volume about the employment of information gatherers (yokan). . *In this section. virtue. part one. disguise. righteousness. and sincerity. information gathering. it will be impossible to have intrepid spirit. wisdom. However. as well as military records in our country state share similar [views concerning ninjutsu]. earth and man. Even if you attack a huge army with mere one thousand soldiers. Then. the author borrows heavily from Chinese sources. with no evil intentions. and it only existed in substance. and you shall not be in peril. it has been transmitted to the following generations. can use it. Bansenshukai volume 2 Seishin (correct heart/mind). righteousness. namely. without exception. it is impossible to take advantage of strategy. Although we say that ninjutsu as a military affair has been in use since Fushigitei and Kotei. and sincerity. The meaning of "correct heart" is the adherence to virtue. Koshi said that not cultivating [the proper heart] will cause confusion and distress. valor.

nor proper preparation [for battle]. One.NIN [yaiba+kokoro] The meaning of nin is the topic of this essay.. or Chivalry. However. What is significant is the later choice of nin.. It is much more difficult to adhere to loyalty and obligation when the retainer does not have a sense they are receiving immediate benefit from their lord. When the relationship between the lord and vassal or teacher and student. it will surely cause resentment towards loyalty and excellence. it will hinder one's mind. which carries a deep meaning. main fires. And committing to this jutsu is similar as [committing to] valor.. "main fires" refers to setting fires at a distance of thirty ken (sixty meters) from the stockade. need to contemplate on the meaning of loyalty and obligation before self benefit. and kansai. Loyalty is no more. cho. Random fires around a fortress. to entrust completly one's body and heart in the service of one's lord so that nothing [of one's self] remains at the bottom of one's heart. Valorous enthusiasm is but a temporary burst of anger that creates strength. thus eventually leading to failure. It is the [willingness] to serve one's lord even at the cost one's loss of property. Similarly. it is impossible to enter its path. The term itself had been in use since before the Heian period (794-1185) but was written with three characters used for their sounds rather than meaning. In China this skill has been called kan. It explains that nin means being valorous as the result of obligation to one's lord. [Then]. are well. or Virtue. Bansenshukai volume 3 Three articles concerning arson. it is not [true] valor in [the service] of one's lord. and setting fires. This is not easy at all. saisaku.. This is rather easy. The first. he shall not succeed. and furthermore. tantei. The fires are set with the help of an ally. and annihilating the enemy will fail. Only those who can unfetter themselves from what is essentially their own ego can understand this jutsu of nin. * The content of this essay is important for both beginners and veterans. it will not last long. the Japanese chose a character whose compounded ideograms represent a certain ideology. there will not be thorough evaluation [of matters]. A person dedicated to this jutsu must first commit to valor.. Young warriors should contemplate on the issue of strength as a matter of explosive anger vis-a-vis the result of a calm sense of duty. though may create exceptional strength. Consequently. and Chivalry is no more. this strength will not remain for long because it has not become innate. The Japanese reading (kunyomi) of the character nin is shinobi.. four or five cho. Virtue is no more.. In our country the Chinese term was replaced. as anger dissipates. family. and . When a person does not know how to commit his heart. Without realization of its meaning.. For example. It is the commitment to valor that first and foremost comes out of obligation. *While the Chinese used terminology that expressed plain understanding of espionage. it is necessary to explore the meaning of nin. one will only be concerned with saving oneself. "Random fires" refers to the act of opening a hole [in the fence] crawling in and setting fires in ten places outside the camp at a distance of three. Loyalty (chu) is to devote entirely one's heart. if valor is fundamentally arising from impetuous impulse. When there is no Faith in Loyalty. Faith is similar to the principle of "earth" of the Five Elements. "Main fires" refers to two fires set at both sides of the inner gate in the wall surrounding the army's camp. Therefore. when valor is not prompted by obligation. on the other hand. or life. even if he tries. written as yaiba (blade) over kokoro (heart) as a single character representing nin [or shinobi]. Why is a single character written as yaiba over kokoro used for terming these [set of] skills (jutsu)? Because as a whole it encapsulates the essence of valor. According to one document. Faith (shin) is to avoid self deciet and doing things in vain while [ignoring] truth [because of] having a desire for something. For the meaning of committing the heart and mind is to go beyond sheer enthusiasm. Veteran warriors. there is no sacrifice involved in declaring loyalty. Even when strength is deeply founded.

e. Three. Therefore. The shaved head was an indication for a person who became a monk. Injutsu means infiltrating unnoticed by using a personal disguise.. one can adopt other images and cut the hair according to customs. adopt the appearance of shukke. These fortune tellers. This is to implement a slight deceit. One.. For example.. setting raging fires according to specific locations. All these four hair styles are the foundation for changing [one's appearance] in the early preparations [for shinobi iri]. entering the enemy territory at night and hiding in the bushes during the day while observing the enemy's movements. you can change your appearance by shaving your hair in a "moon cut" according to local customs in the other province. used doves to read fortune. Six articles for early preparations. according to place of engagement. yojutsu is [also] called yonin. *The term ninjutsu is used here only in reference to the act of entering an enemy territory. this term can also mean any number of ways/methods. who often dressed like traveling monks. This fire is brighter than sun rise. Setting raging fires to the gate. This volume will discuss the many ways and stratagems for infiltrating the enemy and gathering information. Bansenshukai volume 4 Yonin (jo) There is yojutsu and injutsu in ninjutsu. yamabushi. by taking roads that merchants use.are made with a pile of wood seven shaku (two meters) in height. This was a common disguise because it allowed for smooth crossing of provincial borders and check points. These fortune tellers also traveled extensively and thus were a perfect disguise for information gatherers. *The term "shukke" refers to a person who renounced the world and took the Buddhist precepts. or hato no kai. Bansenshukai volume 5 Ten articles concerning Senkojutsu. display the crest that is concealed. That is to say. Though the author uses the term "four ways/methods" (shiho). fortune tellers. Think thoroughly about ways to enter and retreat a territory. since the hair cut is only to create a certain image. Hato no kai is a term by which some fortune tellers were called. in such a way that a man appears like a woman. komuso. Also.. Shiho no kami is changing the hair style in the early preparation [for infiltration]. performers. . For that. Yojutsu is the way of entering an enemy territory by using a wise stratagem. Also. *In this article the author lists four fundamental ways to cut one's hair as part of adopting a certain appearance. the general's crest should remain concealed. Kuden. etc'). depending on time and place. travel to castle areas in various provinces. In other words. and asked passers by to give them money so that they could feed their doves.e. and during an hour when it is tranquil. That is. Yojutsu could be any kind of infiltration that uses some sort of disguise (i. its a monk with a shaved head. That is. Yamabushi were most commonly Kumano shugenja who travel extensively. Outside. Two. Know the circumstances (i. Injutsu is when the infiltration and information gathering is done completely unnoticed. layout and position) concerning the enclosure and structures of the enemy ユ s castle.. and devise methods [for that purpose]. "Random fires" are set some thirty ken (sixty meters) apart from the main fires. First.

refers the reader to later volumes that specialize in such matters. There are kitsune-ayumi (fox trot) and inu-toshi (dog walk) methods of ukiashi (floating feet) when entering the compound and house of the enemy. At the end of the first article the author suggests to take notice of trails made by wild boars. To [further] illustrate this point. enter the province and its villages. is important for carrying out an assignment efficiently. The reference in the third article to jizo yakushi is unclear. Moreover. to the extent that you should even know about wild boar trails. Kuden. One. a moonlit night is disagreeable. That is to say. One. when even the roads are unknown. It is possible that this is some sort of making a talisman for protecting the shinobimono during his/her venture into enemy territory. In the third article. count the number of villages along a road from one place to another. the author does not discuss practical methods of infiltration. Ukiashi is an orally transmitted technique [associated] with tree monkeys. Also. Consider the times when the moon comes out and the hour when it sets down. The meaning of nukiashi is "root up willow field. moonlight could make detection relatively easy. rather suggests that it is important to rest well before embarking on an assignment. Though a bright moon at night could be helpful for finding one's way. and [measure] the width of roads. and lead into bushes where wild boars live. Kitsune-ayumi and inu-toshi mean "lightening [walk]". You must observe and record this." Kuden. for in-nin. The "kuden" at the end of each section suggests that specific instructions for the use of walking devices. whether created by people or animals. Infiltrate before the moon rises or after its sets down. which areas are wide open. as illustrated here. the author points out a simple but important factor--moonlight-that has to be considered when planning night infiltration. Consult the volume on Astronomy and Time for knowing the time when the moon rises and sets. * The explanations above is obviously only basic instructions for methods of walking. it is nevertheless an obstacle once the infiltrator is nearing enemy posts. Other explanations are possible. thus it could potentially cause the assignment to fail. and find out where roads lead to from a village or in a province. and familiarize yourself with the fields and roads. This is an important matter concerning the moon. you should draw a map (of the territory) using creativity and all means available to you. but it is difficult to reach a definite conclusion. Nevertheless. Bansenshukai volume 6 Four Articles Concerning Walking Methods. Two. It is interesting to see the high degree of technical preparation and attention to precision. Use specialized sandals for [crossing] a large muddy area. you should rest well.Think how to find an opportunity to enter and depart a territory deceitfully. for an active person. In any case. taking a rest is important for the heart. and nukiashi for [crossing] a small muddy area. or for the actual techniques of crossing open areas exist but could . The shinobimono of olden days used to attach its name in front and behind jizo yakushi. Three. and kept it hidden. Contrary to our expectations. as night and noon provide the power of heaven. Body and mind conditioning. which refers to tree leaves. therefore. this should be understood in more general terms to mean that it is important to record all possible roads. The second article is rather simple yet unusual. Before infiltrating. For explanation and sketch of these sandals refer to the water crossing device (suiki) in the "Ninki" volume. These trails are about forty centimeters wide. The author. [Learn] which areas are steep. This provides an excellent hiding place in case of an emergency. In some cases.

*Though not directly a technical aspect of breaking a lock. The term "lightning walk" means walking quickly in a zig zag. *In this short article. the current translation is rather a short summary of the opening paragraph.. . It is for walking on walls. That is. One. One. take out your sword and pull off the saya twelve sun. even the drawings are based on the assumption of the reader's familiarity with them. Without having in-depth knowledge of early-modern period locks such translation can not be done satisfactorily. The meaning of the method of true-rabbit-walk is similar to leaves floating on water. Three When breaking in. Naturally. Therefore. then cut [to clear] the way. This is a method for entering an enemy's house without knowing its layout or the [location] of the guards-in-waiting. There are variations for this type of walk depending on the terrain.. This is called Zasakashi-no-jutsu. it is nonetheless an important consideration. after which you will be able to choose the appropriate tool for breaking the lock. when walking in such a manner. are no longer in use. the types of locks. thus there are no specific descriptions. which is effective in absorbing the sound of stumping on a wooden floor. Yet. However. The locks where rather massive and crude.. Bansenshukai volume 7 Yonin 4 Three Preliminary Assessments on Opening Gates (summary) One In the matter of opening doors.. the author provided the reader with some drawings. Knowing the details will allow you to choose the method of breaking the lock. Concerning Zasakashi. For walking on tatami or wooden floor use "special board sandals" or "rabbit's walk on grass. the author adds an important instruction for the preparation work. similar to the shape of a lightening. . Therefore. This jutsu is part of Sageo-nanajutsu. Kuden. as well as the tools. know its gate and appearance. Four . The information and the names provided in this text assume that the reader is familiar with them. Yonin 5 Night Attack . To remain undetected while bending or hitting the metal. once you have decided to break into a certain house. it is impossible to provide a literal translation of terminology because it will make no sense.Be certain that you do not make noise while using special tools for breaking in. *This section of the Bansenshukai deals with methods of breaking various types of locks. Swindle the saya and when you experience a hit on a person.be learned only by direct instruction. and quite breaking was unlikely.. Consequently. the author instructs a careful consideration of the direction of the wind and sound." A sketch and description of the "special board sandals" is recorded in the "Kaiki" section of "Ninki" volume.. To do that. this should not be taken literally. know well about that place and the details of the attached lock. Instead. the actual technique could only be taught by direct instruction. and with specialized tools for breaking locks.Therefore. *"Special board sandals" are sandals with a sole made of animal fur. Two Mark the place where you will break the lock. there is the crouching [advancement]. In a case where there is a lock on the gate. this is an important skill for entering an enemy house. . left and right alternatively. Similar to earlier instructions. it is of utmost importance to know where the wind and sounds come from. pull the saya off [the blade].

On the other hand. in regards to the reason for not using a selected way. hour. it is certain that those who adhere to Tenji will loose.When criminals break into a temple or a strong warrior residence.Knowing the Gogyo of a Day -.モ Therefore.モ Furthermore. *In this translated section of the Bansenshukai the author discusses the problems involved in apprehending intruders. The key note is that warfare and military strategy . time and way. Moshi states: メ circling a three ri fortress or a seven ri palace and than attacking it will not result in victory. and an unskilled warrior will loose even if it is an auspicious day. [in the matter of] circling and attacking. and way. identifying the enemy in the dark is not only important but also very difficult. fortune telling. This is because Tenji is unlike geography. *According to the author. there is no need to ignore it. Here he clearly states that skill supersedes luck.Somakuri. or to those among them who are especially violent and behave like lunatics.Choosing a Day and Way According to Sosho and Sokoku There is no need to use [Tenji] for choosing a day. Choosing a Day and Way -. and future prediction. Nevertheless. Nejimin said: メ[either] use it appropriately [or] know without using it. That is. Also. one should not say not to use [Tenji]. the resident warriors will come out [to apprehend the intruders] and they should identify the lunatics. Therefore. Bansenshukai volume 8 Tenji (jo) Tonko -. it is stated in the Nehan sutra that メ there is no selection of auspicious days in the Nyorai Law. The use of Buddhist scriptures reinforces the authors view according to which victory is possible regardless of whether the day is auspicious or not. It is interesting to note that the author uses "lunatics" in this context. These are Wood. The relationships among these elements are divided into two sets-. The reason is that military strategy is deception.In and Yo. the Hike sutra states that メ there are no good and bad days in the Buddhist Law. "Gogyo" are the five elements included in the "Gogyo setsu" ("Theory of the Five Elements"). To support his view he quotes from a relatively obscure sutra and from one of the most well known ones (Nehan kyo). That is. In this prologue to the topic of Tenji. Consequently. In any case. Metal. Also. When ignoring auspicious and inauspicious day. which means that a good day for an ally is also a good day for the enemy.モ A skillful [warrior] will win even if it is an inauspicious day. whether he refers to all the intruders as lunatics. knowledge of Tenji is important because it would allow its use in some cases. it is interesting to see the wide range of possibilities and details the author includes in this section. it would help us understand what the enemy might plan. Earth and Water. It is not clear though. Water. The reason for that is that day and time are the realm ユ s day and time. the author breaks away from a common practice of choosing auspicious day and hour for engaging in battle.モ *"Tenji" refers to the Chinese theory of divination. what is most important is to conduct one ユ s life correctly. even choosing a direction should not be the result of divination. cowardice becomes valor.

Although there are multitude eyes. the place were birds are caught has no more than twelve eyes around one bird. Any shinobi tools are like the eyes of a net. choose what to carry with you at your own discretion.rely on deception. Before [infiltrating]. shinobi tools (ninki) are not limited to climbing tools. Then. and knowledge of Tenji is necessary to be able to deceive the enemy. Not all tools are used for each infiltration (shinobi iri). The reason is that using one tool for many purposes makes a skilled infiltration. Bansenshukai volume 9 Shinobi Tools (ninki)--part one Climbing Tools Generally speaking. learn about the enemy ユ s state of affairs. Shinobi tools are just the same. but do not carry many things. .

The hard type is commonly regarded as repairable. [The method] of attaching the parts is a secret oral transmission (kuden). The way to transform the small pieces to a usable long ladder is by tying the bamboo parts with a thin rope. The flexible type is the one that folds for [the purpose of] infiltration. It is [used] for learning about a place. Tall Ladder--skatch guide attach an iron ring to the rope as shown in the skatch by inserting one line through the ring. To make it. break a long bamboo and make it similar to a folding spear.Folding Ladder--sketch guide There are hard and flexible [types] of folding ladder. It is made of two bamboo poles so that its purpose will be obvious. .

The aforementioned Tall Ladder is a shinobi tool for transporting [things]. At the bottom there is a lathe. A view from the side. A view from above. On the upper part there is a strap attached. (The following is taken from Shinobi Tools--part two. The bottom part is revolving. Secret oral transmission (kuden). Water Tools) Skatch of Paddle Blade (mizukaki) The way for making the Paddle Blade is by shaping a flat piece of wood as depicted in the skatch. .

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