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  #21  
Old 09-18-2005, 09:14 PM
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Tenshin Tenshin is offline
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Default Re: Ninja origin.

Well I trust Hatsumi over some historian on the internet. According to him, Ninja date back to the 1100s and they started out as warriors not unlike Samurai. However, they did not follow the bushido code, and as such, they were attacked. Eventually pushed into the mountains they trained with Yamabushi (warrior priests) who taught them different forms of combat, deception and according to folklore, magic. They learned from other sources as well; mostly chinese emmigrants who taught them more principals of combat and war, as well as introducing them to Sun Tzu's Art of War, and other such texts. Eventually they emerged, and established schools and villages and eventually became accepted, used and even relied on by the Shogun and various Daimyo.

Hatsumi doesn't make them seem less violent in any way. Ninjutsu is teaching people how to kill... I highly doubt he wishes to appeal to the masses. Ninja are FAR, FAR away from samurai.

Samurai train the sword ... ninja train everything, they are vastly different. That's like saying a Goverment spy is the same as a green berret. Do not pass assumptions based on the internet, especially a forum. Ninja training is COMPLETELY different from samurai training. It isn't a matter of birth, it's a matter of technique. If you were born a "samurai" who trained ninjutsu from birth, you were a ninja.
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  #22  
Old 09-18-2005, 09:32 PM
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Default Re: Ninja origin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tenchijin
That's like saying a Goverment spy is the same as a green berret. Do not pass assumptions based on the internet, especially a forum. Ninja training is COMPLETELY different from samurai training. It isn't a matter of birth, it's a matter of technique. If you were born a "samurai" who trained ninjutsu from birth, you were a ninja.
From a combat point of view yes they probably have the same basic training

But you proved my point, that its the Style u learn that makes you one or the other.

Some people studied more than one style so what you consider them?
And How about Tanemura's School (I know he doesn't have the greatest rep since leaving Bujinkan but still hes very skillful) Genbukan is advertised as Samurai-Jutsu, but yet it is the same as Bujinkan effectively.

Maybe its more clear to say Samurai is Status
Ninjutsu is a Ryu of Martial Art
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  #23  
Old 01-09-2007, 04:51 PM
Arakawa Nobuaki Arakawa Nobuaki is offline
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Default Re: Ninja origin.

Hmm ok... first of, could we please call them shinobi, because the "N" word has such a negative ring to it (thanks to countless stupid movies)?

And now (sorry, I had to dig this out)...

The origin of shinobi goes back farther than the 1100s. There's a mention of shinobi work in the Shomonki (in the gunkimono) in the year 940. There's, however, no mention of any shinobi work in, for example, the Heike Monogatari, a fact that shouldn't come as surprise. The Heike Monogatari was written for an aristocratic audience. They wanted to hear about noble deeds on the battlefield, glorious charges, brave last stands, but not about the true face of warfare where deception and tricks were also part of the game. The majority of the stories from those days that survived until today follow exactly the same pattern (you can observe similar facts with European history).

A famous ancestor of shinobi activity was prince Yamato, who's skills in assassination still make him a "spiritual" ancestor of the shinobi. Whether his actual exploits really happened or are just tales, well, we'll never find out. However, I'd say that the myth around him is as true as Jingo Kogo's 3+ year pregnancy when she invaded Korea.

Now, with all due respect to this Hatsumi-sensei, but teaching something doesn't make one an expert in history. Additionally, keep one thing in mind, he's selling something, that alone makes him a rather weak source for actual, hard historic facts (same applies for the biggest moron when it comes to shinobi history: Stephen Hayes (this guy has been claiming so much crap in his books, it's sad, really, heck, his wife even claims that there are modern kunoichi, while she completely confuses the history of geisha with the history of kunoichi)). "My sensei said so" also doesn't make it a historic fact, sorry.

(Interesting side note: it seems that, after googling, that Hatsumi, Hoban and Hayes are all somewhat linked together, which makes all three even less credible. Of course, they may be skilled martial artists, but that, certainly, doesn't make them skilled historians. Yes, we all know they're teaching some old, ancient, super secret technique, but so's everybody else who's trying to sell something.)

Ninjutsu:
Ninjutsu is the "art of stealth", pure and simple, and NOT a martial art. It's somewhat of a martial art today, however, I tend to question the authenticy of many of those "ninjutsu" practises these days (usually it's karate or aikido in black suits). And well, how many teachers teach actual ninjutsu anyway? None. Or is anyone in a "ninjutsu" dojo learning skills like: camouflage, infiltration, espionage, wilderness survival, chemistry, first aid, etc? I think not. The unarmed fighting style of the shinobi is often referred to as "ninpo taijutsu" and is based upon fluidity of movement and adaptability. The art incorporates quick, devastating punches and nerve strikes designed to quickly incapacitate an opponent, as well as leg sweeps and evasion techniques. It's primarily made for the shinobi to escape not to kill, after all, a shinobi is primarily a spy and he has to escape to deliver what he found out to his master.

Ninja:
The correct term is, and stays, shinobi, coming from "shinobi no mono". "Ninja" is merely a different reading of the same kanji characters. Sometime in the Edo period someone, likely a kabuki writer, figured that "shinobi no mono" was just too long, so he called them "ninja" and it was a success.

The ninja-to:
That thing is, pure and simple, myth. If you ever get to Japan, go to the old Iga province, visit the Iga Ueno museum, you won't find any of those straight swords there (additionally, they don't appear in Japanese movies or TV series either, shinobi there always carry katana). The straight sword is a pretty stupid thing anyway. Let's say you're an infiltrator, out there to spy on your daimyo's enemy. Would you carry a weapon that would give away your true mission at once? A weapon even the most stupid servant girl would recognize? No, you'd blend in. You'd use disguises and work from there.

To call a shorter katana a "ninja-to" is utter nonsense. That'd be a wakizashi.

Black suits:
No shinobi ever wore black. Simple reason: black outlines you at night, the sky is dark blue, but not black. Common colours would have been dark blue, dark browns of maybe even greys. The black suit has its origin on the stages of bunraku and kabuki during the Edo period. The stage staff there wore (and still wears) black as a sign that they are "invisible" and are, in fact, staff and not part of the story. The audience knew (and still knows) that. Then, one day, a random writer had one big problem: he had to put a shinobi into a scene, but the shinobi had to be "invisible" in a way that the audience would understand it. And BINGO, the black suit was born. The Japanese audience understood the hint, but then, after 1854 Europeans and Americans began swarming the country. They saw black clothed shinobi on the stage and came to the conclusion: shinobi wear black (which gives the phrase "baka gaijin" a very strong support).

Shinobi and samurai:
First of, shinobi were not a caste by themselves. They were no independant social class. Secondly, the most famous shinobi were all samurai. Hattori Hanzo and Yagyu Juubei both were responsible for the Old Badger's espionage and secret service. Juubei disappeared for a long time while under Ieyasu's orders, what he did during that time is unknown, but it is likely that it had to do with Ieyasu's plots and plans. Both Hanzo and Juubei also held the rank of hatamoto to Ieyasu. Now, in order to be hatamoto you have to be samurai. It's more than just likely that the actual operatives in the field were samurai. Given the situation of commoners during the sengoku period and later it is extremely unlikely that several villages would have been able to train some super secret warriors without ANYONE noticing. Additionally, once such a village would exist it would already be part of a han and as such under samurai control, so samurai would definitely know about it and, logically, be part of it. And frankly, the normal commoner in feudal Japan had different problems than maintaining a super secret technique (please don't tell me that farmers in the Iga mountains had time for practising super secret fighting techniques after a hard day's work in the fields and forests).

Now, let's say you're a damiyo, who are you going to send on a critical mission? Simple. You're going to send one of your trusted samurai, preferably of hatamoto rank, who has certain knowledge in the more shady trades of war. Just like you're going to put an expert in siege warfare in charge of a siege of any random castle.

Additionally, doing some "N" work doesn't make one an "N". Let's say, the maid of lord Matsudaira's daughter is passing one of my hatamoto in peasant disguise some notes. Well, she's certainly doing "N" work with that, but she's not an "N" because of it.

Speaking of hatamoto in peasant disguise: watch Kurosawa's "Kagemusha", there are three perfectly represented shinobi in it.

Samurai were supposed to follow bushido, but that doesn't mean that they actually followed it (people are supposed to follow the law, but do they?). Also note that bushido as we know it today (as defined by the Hagakure and other similar works) did not come around until the Edo period. There it was used as a tool by the bakufu to keep control over the samurai. After all, the last thing the Tokugawa needed was another upstart challenging them (and Ieyasu had experience with such upstarts, he knew how dangerous they could be, after all, he had fought with and against one for a while, Toyotomi Hideyoshi). Daimyo and lower ranking samurai during the sengoku period certainly did NOT follow bushido. Countless of battle accounts prove that easily. Sieges were won with treachery and bribe, leaders were attacked by snipers (like Ii Naomasa at Sekigahara), Ieyasu simply bought several of Ishida's supporters at Sekigahara, Akechi Mitsuhide turned his coat and killed Oda Nobunaga, etc etc etc.

Shinobi are not so "far far away" from the samurai as many may believe. Especially not when you consider pure historic facts and look at the civil wars before the Tokugawa bakufu. The image of the samurai that we have today is based mainly (or even solely?) on the Edo period and the romantic image drawn by stories like "Chuushingura" (which is, however, an extremely bad story about bushido, though a very good story about revenge, which was sadly twisted and turned from a completely anti-government story to a pro-emperor and heavy nationalist piece of crap during the Meiji, Taisho and early Showa eras). You can apply the same on the European knight if you want, the pattern is the same.

Samurai, additionally, didn't only "train the sword" while "ninja trained everything". Samurai learned many different arts. The sword was only one part and became really important only in the Edo period. Before that the primary weapon on the battlefield was... the spear. Before that it was bow and arrow. And with the appearance of firearms they, too, gained a lot of importance (rifle units were vital for the battles, and honours granted to successful rifle units and riflemen were high, only topped by those taking a head in individual combat). The samurai only using the sword, or the sword being the "soul of the samurai" is really a, somewhat, modern myth. A battle ready samurai was supposed to know how to: fence (sword and spear), fight unarmed, ride, shoot and hit with bow (or even a teppo), etc. Add to that they also had to govern the lands, and that some of them were, in fact, shinobi, etc etc etc.

Additionally, no matter what anyone claims these days: shinobi don't exist anymore. Samurai don't exist anymore. The Meiji Restoration took care of that with its Class Abolishment Act and that Sword Abolishment Act. People who claim that shinobi or samurai still exist or that they are teaching some super secret art really only liars who're trying to sell something (I have yet to see someone claiming this NOT being a teach of some sort of "ninjutsu"). Also, saying that "ninja training is different than samurai trainig" is rather redundant, because... how would anyone of us really know? What's the actual historic fact this statement is based upon anyway? Hearsay? Ramblings of a "ninjutsu" teacher? Doesn't rank as credible source in my book. If the chief historian of the Iga "N" museum says so, fine. If the head researcher of the faculty of Japanese history at the Hosei or Waseda says so, fine. If a Japanese HISTORIAN (yes, I put emphasize on this on purpose) says so, fine (so far those I know haven't), but some random martial arts teacher? You gotta be kidding. Who're you're going to believe on the, let's say, Napoleonic Wars, a fencing or riding instructor or an actual historian who's been digging into this stuff for his whole life? Surely, an instructor may have a certain knowledge (may, there's no guarantee that he actually knows anything of value, as seen in the case of Stephen Hayes), but it's not really comparable to that of a specialzed historian.

BTW, if you ever get to Japan:
The Iga Ninja Museum is located in Ueno Park, a 5-10 minute walk north of Ueno-shi Station.
Admission Fee:
Museum: 700 Yen
Show: 200 Yen
Museum Opening Hours:
Daily 9:00 to 17:00, except from December 29 through January 1.
Show Times:
Every hour from 11:00 to 15:00.
March-November: Daily except Tuesdays.
December-February: Only on weekends and national holidays.


Oh yes, before I forget... "N" weren't as "über" as everyone thinks. During the Shimabara Rebellion shinobi of the Tokugawa bakufu failed to infiltrate the rebel camp... The simple reason for this was that they didn't manage to reproduce the local dialect properly... (and these "N" were also samurai).


You know, I really hate making my first post such a huge rant, but oh well... I would have done so sooner or later anyway.
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  #24  
Old 01-09-2007, 07:12 PM
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Default Re: Ninja origin.

Yeah wall of text to be sure. Not a bad thing this time since it was full of usefull info, except that part about not saying ninja. Theres nothing wrong with ninja, get over it pal.
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  #25  
Old 01-09-2007, 07:38 PM
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Default Re: Ninja origin.

I have to agree with Arakawa, when people say "ninja" they think of a guy dressed in all black latex dancing around throwing "ninja stars"... Kind of sad.
On topic again: Nice post, Arakawa, and welcome to the forums
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  #26  
Old 01-09-2007, 10:41 PM
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Default Re: Ninja origin.

Wow, what a post! Arakawa, you may be the vigor that this forum needs right now. What a great post, very insightful... Where do you get your info? I hope to read more from you. Welcome to the forums!
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  #27  
Old 01-22-2007, 11:02 PM
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Default Re: Ninja origin.

I'm confused. I thought there was one in iga-ueno near osaka but you're saying there is one near ueno park? I went to the zoo there and all i saw was bums, no ninjas......unless they were in disguise. haha
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  #28  
Old 01-23-2007, 09:41 AM
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Default Re: Ninja origin.

you don't see ninjas, silly!
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  #29  
Old 01-23-2007, 09:56 PM
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Default Re: Ninja origin.

Yeah i guess they would not have a very long career if they were wearing hunter's orange. However, I think there should be a beverly hills ninja in this game. Maybe controlled by one of the devs. He would just run around in his white gi breaking stuff saying "holy shnikeys"! Although historically inaccurate, it would be funny. A monkey ninja would be funny too. I think pvp has to be where the good guy has to stand in a circle and everyone fights him one at a time instead of rushing him. Samurai movies show us how history really was lol.
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  #30  
Old 01-23-2007, 10:02 PM
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Default Re: Ninja origin.

"thank god for my shortsword"
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