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Ninja History

Ninja History

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Published by: Kathy Eichman on Jan 19, 2012
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History of the Ninja By Kallie Szczepanski, About.

com Guide Origins of the Ninja:

It is difficult to pin down the emergence of the first ninja, more properly call ed < shinobi >. After all, people around the world have always used spies and assassins. Japanese folklore states that the ninja descended from a demon that was half man and half crow. However, it seems more likely that the ninja slowly evolved as an opposing force to their upper-class contemporaries, the samurai, in early feudal Japan. Most sources indicate that the skills that became < ninjutsu >, the ninja's art of stealth, began to develop between 600-900 A.D. < Prince Shotoku >, (574-622), is said to have employed < Otomono S ahito > as a shinobi spy. Mainland Influences on the Early Ninja:

By the year 850, the < Tang Dynasty > in China was in decline. It would fall in 907, plunging China into 50 years of chaos; the collapse prompted some Tang generals to escape over the sea to Japan. These commanders brought new battle tactics and philosophies of war with them. Chinese monks also began to arrive in Japan in the 1020s, bringing new medicines and fighting philosophies of their own. < Many of the ideas originated in India >, and made their way across Tibet and C hina before turning up in Japan. The monks taught their methods to Japan's warrior-monks, or < yamabushi >, as we ll as to members of the first ninja clans. The First Known Ninja School:

For a century or more, the blend of Chinese and native tactics that would become < ninjutsu developed as a counter-culture, without rules. > It was first formalized by < Daisuke Togakure > and < Kain Doshi >. Daisuke had been a samurai, but he was on the losing side in a regional battle. He lost his lands and his samurai title. In 1162, Daisuke was wandering the mountains of southwest Honshu when he met Kai n Doshi, a Chinese warrior-monk. < Daisuke renounced his bushido code, and together the two developed a new theory of guerr

> < Daisuke's descendants created the first ninja ryu. announce his challe nge. < This system also transferred wealth to the lower classes. a samurai would select a single opponent. Female ninja. or school. > Samurai Use of the Ninja: < The samurai lords could not always prevail in open warfare. > . as ninja were paid h andsomely for their work. list his family pedigree. but it couldn't always get the job done. < Most ordinary ninja were not from the nobility. concubines or servants. they often hired ninja to do their dirty work. They were villagers an d farmers. > Secrets could be spied out. So. Going into battle. They were successful spies. opponents assassinated. > Samurai valued loyalty and honor above all else. but fair play by the rules of the ninja. They had lost in battle or had been renounced by their daimyo. but they were cons trained by bushido. Who Were the Ninja?: Some of the < ninja leaders. were disgraced samurai like Daisuke To gakure. infiltrated enem y castles in the guise of dancers. or kunoichi. > The most famous ninja strongholds were the < Iga and Koga Provinces >. > Sneak attacks. and then attack. Bushido was very noble. without sullying a samurai's honor. Samurai wore bright colors on their armor to announce their clan identit y. or misinformation planted.. < Women also served in ninja combat. seduction and spying were all shameful to the samurai. who learned to fight by any means necessary for their own self-preservation. the Togakureryu. but fled rather than committing < seppuku >. That is where ninjutsu came in: < the ninja code valued accomplishing a mission by whatever means necessary. > Ninjutsu versus Bushido: < Ninjutsu developed as an opposing force to the samurai code of bushido. though. poison..illa warfare called ninjutsu. and sometimes acted as assassins as wel l. or jonin > .

these items would not give away a ninja's identity. spear fighting . > Ninja tools and weapons included: < shinobigatana. fortification and strategy. < if a tactic is effective. and concealment. > and martial arts like karate. a sharpened metal fan >. in equal measure. wi th only their eyes showing. < Poison was added to food. > Ninja Clothing. blade-throwing. . however. Ninja Techniques: Ninjutsu is practical. medium-length swords. or applie d to a dart or blade.as any sensible espionage agent would do. < The sturdy flute cou ld be used as a club or blow-dart tube. etc. a samurai's enemies could also hire ninja. and the tessen. Tools and Weapons: In modern movies and comic books. > < The Eight Methods taught in many ryu were: Body skills. As a result. Usually. ninja skills were essential for all sides. > < Many ninja weapons were modified from farm sickles. karate. comes from the kabuki theater. If discovered. Ninja also < developed special equipment like the shuko. the bo and naginata. an iron hand-crampon us ed for climbing. the samurai needed. despised." or jonin. ordinary ninja. use of fire and water. ninjas are portrayed in all-black clothing. In an atmosphere of constant war. > < The ninja "high man. pru ning shears. war staves and pikes. > Some ninja disguised themselves as flute-playing mystics. > The Rise and Fall of the Ninja: The ninja came into their own during the tumultuous era between < 1336 and 1600 >. and feared the ninja. staff fighting. however. < This costume. > Among the < ninja were expert poisoners >.< Of course. "middle man." who p assed them on to the genin. > Actual < ninjas wore navy blue for night operations >. saws for wood cutting. gave orders to the chunin. < they dressed to blend in with their targets . then it is acceptable.

who later became shogun in 1603 >. > Th ey acted as < kancho (spies) >. . > Although the < Onin War ended after 10 years >. > Destruction of the Ninja Bases (1581): The ninja were an < mportant tool during the Sengoku Period >. < Ninja served a number of purposes during the Sengoku Period (1467-1568) . which fought for control of the country. > The Onin War (1467-1477): About < 70 years later >. who wanted to rule in his own right. < The war began as a succession fight within the ruling Ashikaga clan. When < war-lord Oda Nobunaga > emerged as the strongest < daimyo > and began to < reunite Japan (1551-1582) >. < They were most effective in castle sieges. but soon devolved into a nation-wide civil war. < The Northern Court was controlled by the shoguns >. < Ninja played an important role on both sides in this struggle >. infiltrating castles as spies.The Nanbukucho Wars (1336-1392): For more than 50 years in the < 14th century. Som e went into the < service of Tokugawa Ieyasu. < The Northern Court eventually won. > While their power-base was destroyed. and < kisho (surprise attackers) >. rather than state s) >. < the ninja did not vanish entirely >. < teisatsu (scouts) >. < koran (agitators) >. Japan had two separate imperial co urts >. they were defeated and scattered to nearby provinces or the mountains of Kii. and even burning down the South's Hachiman-yama Fortress. infiltrating and distracting the defenders inside while the main besieging army attacked from outside. <it ushered in a century of turm oil called the Sengoku Jidai >. Ninja featured heavily in th is conflict. < The Southern Court belon ged to Emperor Go-Daigo >. < Nobunaga's lightning-quick attack on Iga forced the ninja to fight open battle s. and the puppet-Emperor system was retained. he saw the ninja strongholds at Iga and Koga as a threat. the < Onin War broke out. or < "Warring States Period" (though it was actually samurai clans fighting. but a destabilizi ng influence. as well >.

exist? Those roots are found in the “art of warfare” that began around 4000 B. and war by mi litary strength (weapons) as foolish. do you know what kind of job ninja were doing? Most people imagine that ninjas flew through the sky and disappeared. and were embellished to enliven the movies. Ninjutsu was called an art of “entering f rom “nearby”. Strategic activities are skills that reduce the enemy’s military power. http://iganinja. passed through the . Espionage is similar to the job o f modern spies. In times of peace.jp/en/ What are Ninjutsu and Ninja? A person who uses Ninjutsu is a ninja. who worked in the world of shadows.. Ninja skills and legends survived. a ninja sneaked through a group of Tokugawa's defenders at Hataya castle. was passed to the Chinese mainland. Therefore. The methodology for performing espionage and strategy is Ninjutsu. wherein one carefully gathers intelligence about the enemy and analyzes its military strength.C. and arou nd the 6th century. sneaking into the enemy ranks and assassinating generals. like Super man. Origins of Iga-ryu Ninjutsu and the history if Iga From when did Ninja. but not fighting the enemy directly. Ninja fought enemies after they had reduced the enemies’ military power. > bringing th e ninja story to a close. wherein ninja would constantly gather intelligence concerning the enemy. The Ninjutsu of Iga-ryu and Koga-ryu stem from the same source. waving ninja swords around. Ninja who thought rationally thought of war by intellect as great. ninja who swing their ninja swords about can be called the lowest of the ninja. and Koka in Shiga Pref ecture.The much-reduced ninja continued to serve both sides in struggles. though. in Indian culture. Ninja did not fight strong enemies by themselves. The jobs of a ninja are divided into the two main categories of performing espio nage and strategy. and planted the flag o f the besieging army high on the front gate! > Edo and the End: < The Edo Period (1603-1868) brought stability and peace to Japan. Ninjutsu is not a martial art. < In one famo us incident from 1600. while in times of war. games and comic books of today. thinking of ways to beat th e enemy. and are said to be the highest of the Ninjutsu. Ninjutsu was called an art of “entering from afar”. So.. Japan. This is a mistaken image of t he ninja introduced by movies and comic books. Ninjutsu i s an independent art of warfare that developed mainly in the regions of Iga in Mie Prefecture.

and they maintained safety in Iga by cooperation. and Fujibayashi Nagatonokami are the three Iga Ninja Grandmasters. The Iga troops resisted to the end. Oda Nobunaga was sorely angry. There were shugen studios in the Ig a and Koka regions." Actually. The Hanzo name was inherited. it is still amazing that Shotoku Taishi could remember all that intelligence. Momochi controlled southern Iga. and the lords of these houses adopted guerilla-like tactics. This is the only war in which the Iga region was crippled by attack. The three Iga Ninja Grandmasters (Hattori Hanzo. and Fujibayashi. “Iga Sokoku Ikki” In Iga of the manorial system period. Hattori Hanzo. Fujibayash i Nagatonokami) The most famous group of Iga ninja is Hattori. but joining forces with Hattori and riding its wave of strength. but was defeated by the resistance of Iga’s troops. an important 12-member council (representatives) was chosen from among the 50-60 members of the party in Iga. who was used by ruler Shotoku Taishi. Momochi Tambanokami. In the 9th year of Tensei (1581). From this body of strategy emerged Ninjutsu. The Oe party had originally prospered in the so uth. and adapted to Japan’s extremely hilly. a man name Otomono Sahito. This is called the “Iga Sokoku Ikki”. the ruler of Ise. the houses of Todaiji and Kofukuji in the Iga region had most of the country’s warriors. Kitabatake Nobukatsu (the se cond son of Oda Nobunaga was adopted by Kitabatake and inherited the reins of the family) planned to attack Iga with Mar uyama Castle as base. Ninjutsu was developed. and the ninja were scattere d among all lands thereafter (Second Tensei Iga War). and Momochi was one of the supporting families to it. formed an organized party of landowning farmers. Have you ever heard something like this? "Shotoku Taishi could hear the words of ten people at once. There is a famous person who supported Tokugawa Ieyasu. named Hattori Hanzo Masanari.Korean peninsula and crossed over to Japan. From this.. In the 7th year of Tensei (1579). there is also a theory that he used ninja to obtain intelligence beforehand. becoming unique Japanese strategy. Iga Ninja Republic. Hattori controlled western Iga. Because the people of Iga created living areas by manor in units of clans. However.000 troops to Iga. and kept the peace by containing one another. Momochi. he led his 50. Momochi Tambanokami. but retreated in the face of an attack from the troops of Iga. and the 800-year manorial system of Iga region was finished. rulers and lords (guardians) did not last long. Upon hearing of this (the First Tensei Iga War). and decided to go to battle himself. Momochi was able to keep its position until . and they submitted. is said to be the root of the Ninja. a practice involving mountain training. The continental military strategy that was brought from China was developed in c onjunction with shugendo.. Also. The “Tensei Iga War” that crippled the ninja In the 6th year of Tensei (1578). narrow geogra phy. and did not defer to the control of central regimes. burning all of its lands and repeatedly slaughtering adults and children alike. Kita batake Nobukatsu regrouped and again attacked Iga. but a compromise was made. In that period.

Dakkou Yamanashi : Suppa . and “Shinobi Hiden” are called the Three Great Books of Ninjutsu. the jobs they performed. Let’s introduce some of t hose here. and before that tradition s were oral.Onmitsu Taisho Era . “Shoninki”. “Mansen Shukai”.Suppa . by Hattori Hanzo is a traditional text of Iga and Koka. and the reading of the Chinese characters with which their names are written. and this may indicate that oral tradition was of greater imp ortance.Ukami . by Fujibayashi Masatake. Fujibayashi Yasutake. an d a few types of copies are passed down in both Iga and Koka. How Ninja are Called We now use the unified term “ninja”. The Three Great Books of Ninjutsu Among existing traditional Ninjutsu books. by Fujibayashi Yasutake. The era Asuka Era . . Shoninki. Many traditional books were written in the Edo Period.Ninjyutsusha : Ninsya The region Kyoto / Nara : Suppa .Shinobi Nara Era . Fujibayashi controlled northeastern Iga.the Edo period.Rappa Fukui : Shinobi There are many other names in the different regions.Kanshi .Kanja : Rappa Edo Era . The are traditional tex ts in which the words “there is an oral tradition” stand out. There are various ways to call ninja. there were many different ways to call them. but did you know that they were not called “ninja” in the past? Depending on the era and region. Mansen Shukai. depending on their relation to being secre tive. Shinobi Hiden.Suppa Niigata / Toyama : Nokizaru . but the above are the most representative.Mitsu-no-mono . is a traditional text of the Kishu-ryu. the author of tra ditional Ninjutsu text “Mansen Shukai” was of this group.Shinobi Kanagawa : Kusa . It is assumed that they were written to pass on traditions and commit them to record. integrated Iga and Koka Ninjutsu.Monomi .Kikimonoyaku Miyagi : Kurohabaki Aomori : Hayamichi-no-mono .kami Sengoku Era .

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