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Old 08-07-2009, 11:45 PM
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Default History of the Ninja

So ive been doing lotsa research on ninja and heres a very detailed and very long but very interesting post all you ninja fans will want to check out.

ninjutsu-ryu originated in ancient times, in China, where it was a protective society dedicated to protecting its people's through the arts of war. You can find a wonderful book on their teachings in Sun Tzu's "Art of War." The chinese version of ninja was called Lin Kuei (forest demons), and also by other names. The secret society was first brought from China to Korea where the Hwarang warriors learned their arts, and finally to Japan around 715ad from a mysterious figure emerged from the mountains named En no Gyoja, who was a Lin Kuei ninja, sought to develop the society in Japan, and that he certainly did, revealing it to the mountain families of the surrounding areas.

Then a few centuries later there developed the first three Japanese ninja-ryu. The Fuma-ryu (about722ad), the Koga-ryu (about939ad), and then Iga-ryu (about 1030ad). This all dates back from between 700 AD and 1050 AD, where they for the most part developed many smaller schools but operated as one school though in different regions, (except for the Fuma-ryu which operated separately) and eventually over a long period of time became separated, so as i round it up, let me tell some of the history leading up to the ninja tong in Japan:

En no Gyoja was a master of the secret society in Japan, and completely developed the Society in about 722ad, thus the legend of the ninja was born. After the civil wars of the Chinese states (400bc-700ad), many of the Society fled to Japan and settled in the Iga/Koga, and Hojo regions, where the Lin Kuei sought refuge in Japan, and overtime, especially from Gyoja, taught the mountain families, wandering warriors, monks, mercenaries, and peasants of Japan.......shinobi is the proper name for the ninja warrior of Japan, as they were not just trained in the art of war, but also in traditional chinese philosophy, including buddhism, taoism, confucianism, and the indigenous japanese religion of shinto, which they greatly followed.......
.. so spiritually, the shinobi called their philosophy shugendo, was a spiritual belief of Shinto and sorcery that the Tong had always followed, meaning "cultivating their deities' natural and harmonious powers, and also cultivating a pure heart" which was their most sacred goal as a ninja. They essentially believed that all paths were really the same, had the same nature."

As for more detailed Shinto beliefs, Belief in a great spirit similar to native american spirituality was revered as Kami, or the Life-Force"Ki", and was not necessarilly impersonal like the Tao, because in Shinto, everything has a personal spirit and is sacred. Then came the divine couple, perhaps the spirit taking form as God and Goddess, Izanagi and Izanami, who created all things.

The most important deity however came to be the first child of the divine couple, the sun goddess, Amaterasu, who rules the high plane of heaven, the abode of the shining ones. In the afterlife belief, there was no reincarnation or karma as there was in Buddhist beliefs. The soul was considered eternal and lived on in the land of the dead (underworld/astral plane) after physical death. The ghost of the dead could be benevolent or evil-like, and ancestral worship was greatly revered.

There were also other spiritual worlds much like the world we live in now, but it can be said that this world is already spiritual in that Shinto believes nature and spirit are interconnected. There was no utopia or hell but the worlds are more connected to earthly realms. There was no real laws, judgement, dogma, punishment, or sin in Shinto, there was only free will, and the will of the gods, which was "purity of heart."

The ninja were very eclectic mystics, and accepted every belief system, so a ninja could practice their philosophy, while accepting others, and even becoming others and blending it into theirs. But what was most important was their personal
philosophy, "Toh Shin Do," which meant, "way of the pure hearted sword"......Most ninja of the earlier times were Shinto, but later on Buddhism also became integrated into their beliefs....some were also taoists, confucianists, christians, pagans, witches, shamans, a mixture of many paths or a personal spiritual path could also be preffered, as every path is truelly the same, and can reach the same goal.

In about 939 ad, a famous warrior, Mochizuki Saburo Kanei, along with his son, trained under a ninja master named Tatsumaki Hossi (who was a member of the Black Dragon Tong society. A society similar to the Lin Kuei in China), and thus developed the Koga-ryu, Around the same time, the Fuma-ryu came out of the mysts by a mysterious, and highly feared ravaging mercenary group who supported the Hojo region of Japan, but were active much earlier.

This was the most important ninjutsu-ryu outside the Iga and Koga regions. The information i write is not based on any personal person's views or my views or anyone else's, this information is based upon historical fact written during the times it was conceived and therefore is historical proof that the glorious ninja traditions were and are very real to this day.......

Now for the Iga-ryu origins. They were developed around 1030ad by Lord Ikai, who was once a warlord in China who fled from there, and settled in Iga, and taught two people who would become the founders of Iga-ryu, Fujiwara Chikada, and Hogenbo Tesshin. There were also many buddhist and samurai schools that incorporated ninjutsu teachings, such as Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto ryu in 1337 (a samurai-ryu), and the Negoro and Saiga ryu developing around that time period (Buddhist-ryu's), were very famous and thats why i am mentioning them now. They were called the Sohei, or warrior Buddhists, who saw most of their action fighting against the late Minamoto/Ashikaga emperors, up until the Tokugawa Shogunate

There was the Kunoichi-ryu, developed by a female ninja, named Mochizuki Chiyome, who was from Koga, and developed it in the mid-16th century in the name of Takeda Shingen to whom she was most loyal. There was also the Yagyu ryu which was developed in the early 17th century by the Tokugawa ninja master, Yagyu Jubei, with support from Iga ninja master Hattori Hanzo who trained him, and i'll get into all this later as we progress. I will be taking my time and organizing the ninja history as accurately and simply as possible so their is no confusion. Most people when they begin to write about this, are in confusion as to the whole history and dont write things down accurately, and thats why everything is always never so clear. Just read Japanese history and their lies the truth to all the traditions..........

Ninja did NOT form from outcast samurai called Ronin. Allthough their were many Ronin who did become ninja, as did farmers and peasants, however, most ninja were mountainous people, the Yamabushi, or mountain warriors. That's not to say that samurai and rural farmers and peasants didnt perform covert acts themselves, because they certainly did, they just didnt have the intelligence and skill as the ninja did and usually failed in their attempts.

Samurai and Ninja were not at all very similar, their fighting arts and philosophies were developed much differently than one might think. Ninja developed their own form of the Bujutsu techniques, which included the following: Toh-jutsu "art of swordsmanship," Intonjutsu "art of stealth," Shurikenjutsu "art of throwing weapons, including stars, knives, darts, etc...," Bojutsu and Jojutsu, "the arts of staff and stick, primarily wooden weaponry arts including escrima, tonfa, the long and short staff, etc,"..... Kusari-jutsu "the arts of sickle, crescent, and and chain weaponry, including the kama, scyths, barbed and bladed chains, nunchaku,
etc," Sojutsu "the art of the spear and other bladed staffs such as barbed poles and naginatas," Taijutsu "the ninja arts of unarmed combat, which were more like using hand claws and foot spikes instead of actual unarmed techniques, anything to kill the enemy in split second was learned, practiced, and taught; they were not in the environment that most other martial arts were in, and the same goes for the samurai arts." Mikkyo "the arts of secretive knowledge, including sorcery, poisons, shamanism, witchcraft, celestial invocations, etc....the arts of stealth are probably under this category, and not as a separate art as it was their most sacred art, and was kept in great secrecy......therein also lies their spiritual developments, astrology, etc....."

The ninja were not cold-hearted assassins, or spies, this is a misconception of samurai and folk beliefs who came to fear the ninja for their extraordinary power. They even went as far as to call them supernatural demons, and with this misconception, the ninja came to use that as a great advantage overtime, as they did develop the mysterious Genjutsu ghost techniques......the ninja were instead a highly warm-hearted group of people who merely tried to protect their mountainous homestead, as well as the country from its evil and bloodshed from samurai clans........there were evil ninja, certainly a vast number of them, so there were many, but it should be said that these were rebelious groups and were maybe 1/3 of the whole ninja population.........that 1/3 however changed drastically overtime as the wars intensified, and yes, there were even ninja wars, and yes, and vast number of them (now that would be exciting!), including the Iga and Koga separation beginning in the 17th century, maybe even late 16th, which would be the start of how it all happened......and the Fuma-ryu was always against the Iga-Koga ninja, as they were very bitter enemies as far back as 15th century,
probably much earlier. Fuma ninja were considered the evil ones of the ninjutsu age for the most part, it depends on how we look at it.

The Takeda family was a great support for ninja families, as the famous warlord was probably the best of all the other warlords when it came to strategy. The Sanada warlord supported the Takeda and developed the most powerful empire in the early thru late 16th century. It was especially the Koga ninja who operated with Takeda and Sanada. Tokugawa had gained support of Iga ninja at the time of the late 16th century. the Hojo family had their Fuma ninja for centuries and always operated together. Oda Nobunaga and Toyatomi Hideyoshi were greatly feared warlords that sought to take over the Emperor if he did not agree to their plans, and the Uesuegi and Hojo families were also great powers. This was how it was, All these powerful warlords wanting to take the capital and become Shogun, the ruler of Japan. The Takeda, Hojo, and Uesuegi were among the most powerful of the time, until the Oda, Toyatomi, and Tokugawa clans all united to become almost equal. Still it was the Takeda who had the greatest force, that was until one terrible night when Takeda Shingen died from an assassination attempted wound several months earlier. The Takeda gradually were destroyed over the next decade. If it weren't for the warlord dying, they would have been able to destroy every other warlord in japan......Takeda took alot of power out of Uesuegi and Hojo, even though they still maintained power, but now it was Oda Nobunaga who quickly came to power. The assassin that wounded Shingen is not clear, but was probably one of two ninja: the leader of the Fuma, named Fuma Kotaro, or Hattori Hanzo, an Iga leader for the Tokugawa clan.

Since the Fuma were at war with the Takeda, and closer to the region, it was most probable, that Fuma Kotaro was the assassin, in that thats how the history surrounding this incident went forth. After the Take
da were defeated against Oda and Tokugawa's forces, they fled back to the center of the Takeda region and regained much of their power in a few years to come, only to be totally destroyed by the Hojo and Fuma clans as we'll take a look at that later on. But now our center of attention is with Oda Nobunaga.

He was a christian warlord, among the most ruthless, and was ready to destroy everything to gain the control of japan. His first mission, destroy Buddhism. So he destroyed them. The Iga ninja were greatly against him, and tried many assassination attempts to kill him, but all were unsuccessful for the moment. The leader of the powerful Ninja clan of Iga for the most part was one man, Momochi Sandayu, and his most beloved trained ninja, Ishikawa Goemon, the famous bandit hero, was at the center of his great accomplishments. Momochi Sandayu trained many of the famous ninja of the time. Hattori Hanzo, Ishikawa Goemon, and many more. He went by several mysterious names, usually keeping his true name shrouded in mystery...... most people thought every one of his names were several different people, which was one of Sandayu's greatest accomplished tasks at the time. The famous Koga ninja master, Fujibayashi Nagato, was also said to be Sandayu, and thus the ninja master controlled both Iga and Koga.

Now the war was between two groups, The most powerful force in Japan, which included the Oda and Toyatomi forces against the most powerful ninja group, Iga! But Iga had done the worst thing, they caused their downfall by becoming known, they were so furious as to destroy the hideous warlord Oda, that they made themselves known way too much! and now Oda knew the area where they're homestead was located.....He sent an army to destroy them in 1580, but the Iga ninja overcame them easily with all their guerrilla warfare tactics. This made Oda so afraid, that he sent his whole army, along with Toyatomi's, to destroy them once and for all. It
was in 1581, the great war between Iga and the warlord Oda. Oda was just too strong, as he set the whole area on fire, burning up everything, if he couldnt defeat them with force, because of their trickery, he just decided to surround them with fire, then come in and destroy them as they became helpless. The task eventually worked, but not as Oda planned. The Iga ninja fought as hard as they could, and almost overcoming them in one instance when they shot a cannon that almost killed Oda......the task for the ninja was ultimately unsuccessful, as so many innocent people were killed, it was a tragedy.

All the famous ninja, either died in heroic battles or fled to distant regions. and yes, Momochi Sandayu, the one Oda feared the most, was still on the loose. He fled to a distant mountain area to regroup the remaining ninja for a final assassination attempt and battle. When the war was over, Oda thought he had destroyed nearly all ninja, only scattered remnants were battling in outside areas, but that was all that was left of the Iga ninja. (just wait till he discovers their were Koga and Fuma ninja! hehe)

It was during this time that Tokugawa decided to help the ninja of Iga, as he was secretly against Oda and Toyatomi, just didnt have the power yet to face them directly in battle. Hattori Hanzo had been a secret ninja warrior operating with Tokugawa, and together with Ishikawa Goemon, performed a great task by manipulating Oda's general Akechi Mitsuhide into turning against the powerful warlord and forming an alliance with them.

In 1582, the task was finally successful, Mitsuhide and Goemon assassinated Nobunaga while the two forces were battling it out. It was then that Hanzo and Tokugawa came into Iga, gathered the remaining ninja up who were hiding in the area, or fighting off remaining Oda forces, and traveled to Tokugawa region where they were finally safe from war and eventually were becoming a huge force within the region.
Meanwhile, Momochi Sandayu's group did not realize this, and was too busy strategizing on how to destroy Oda, but found out sooner or later. The remaining army of Oda, realizing their warlord had perished, then fled to the new ruler, Toyatomi Hideyoshi. who set out to destroy the army who rebelled against Oda. And they destroyed Mitsuhides forces, so now Tokugawa Ieyasu had no choice for now but to pretend to join Toyatomi's forces until he was sure he could face them in battle and win. For the mean time, he would use the Iga ninja to try and assassinate the leaders. It seems by this time the Iga ninja group was split up, Hattori Hanzo's group separated from Momochi Sandayu's, Hanzo being the leader of most Iga ninja, Sandayu being the leader of the remaining Iga ninja that were faithful and fled with him out of Iga. (Now Iga is separated and this will become quite an intense and exciting conflict later on!).

Also in 1581, during the Iga-Nobunaga wars, another war was escalating, that between the Takeda and Kunoichi ninja at war against the Hojo and Fuma ninja. The ninja leader of the Takeda was Mochizuke Chiyome, she was the head master of the Kunoichi-ryu. The Koga ninja were mostly inactive during this time except for some warfare in the south. Momochi Sandayu was the head master of Iga and Koga-ryu. Hattori Hanzo seemed to have gone his separate way overtime with his group and separated from his master, becoming the other head master of Iga, and Fuma Kotaro was the leader of the Fuma-ryu. So there are many ninja masters, the most feared of the time was Fuma Kotaro, for he certainly had a reputation for that!

Meanwhile, during the Takeda-Hojo war, the two Takeda generals, Takeda Katsuyori and Takeda Nobukatsu led their forces to a strong position, with a large mountain as their defence. Hojo Ujinoa's forces were on the other side of the mountain in Izu province. At first, the Fuma ninja mounted a series of illusionar
y attacks, using horses and putting straw figures on them with full battle armour and weapons. When the Takeda then realized what was going on, instead of being more cautious, they became ignorant and ignored the strategy of the Hojo forces. And then, Fuma Kotaro and his ninja raged in with an explosive ambush, killing many, and the Takeda became offbalanced and weak, surprised at what happened and this resulted in heavy casualties, before the Fuma night warriors vanished off into the darkness. The Takeda then tried to regroup later in the night, but the Fuma came back in a series of night time stealth raids. Night after night, The ninja entered the Takeda grounds, captured people alive and stole their horses, which they used to burn and destroy the camp. They then infiltrated the camp and imitated the Takeda battle cry, causing great panic and chaos. This caused the whole Takeda army to distrust one another and kill each other, out of fear. When the war was overwith, at least for that time being, the whole Takeda army was very weak, all they had now, was the faithful Kunoichi ninja. They were sent to disquise themselves as Fuma, and to ask at the gates of the Hojo fortress to be let in. But Kotaro changed the passwords daily, and they werent welcomed inside, they were probably chased out, and this is when they were scattered about, trying to infiltrate the castle in various locations.

But the Fuma ninja set out to find them all, and one by one, the infiltrators were discovered and killed, some Kunoichi ninja got away, but most failed to escape. After this ninja battle, the Fuma were greatly feared, and i mean GREATLY! But their will be much more wars to come, this is only the beginning!

In 1592, Ishikawa Goemon set out to assassinate Toyatomi in one of the most dramatic stories in Japanese history. his wife was previously killed by Toyatomi and his son captured, and he was determined to assassinate him. entering into the castle at night, there s
eemed to be no problem. He killed some of the guards, and came into the room where the great warlord lay asleep. But Goemon accidently knocked a bell off a table, and made a loud noise, awaking the samurai nearby and they captured Goemon before he could kill the warlord.

They attempted to boil Goemon and his son in oil, there was no escape for the great ninja warrior, and he knew that, but if only he could keep his son alive, he would do anything, so he kept his arms up, holding his precious son for as long as he could, fearing the worst. But Momochi Sandayu and Hattori Hanzo, both their groups were infiltrating the castle, and when they came upon Goemon, he was already dead. But amazingly enough, his arms were still held up high in the air, with young Gobei still alive, it was as if Goemon's body died, but his spirit wouldnt give up on his son, and that is why this is such a dramatic story, because even though he failed in his attempt to kill the warlord, he saved his son from death.

Ishikawa Goemon was one of the most famous ninja of his time. He was known as the legendary bandit hero who stole gold and valuables and gave to the poor, and was a legendary ninja warrior. Toyatomi ruled Japan all throughout the 1590's and also invaded Korea and captured Princess Oda and her Korean ninja guardian. In 1598, Fuma Kotaro, who sought the revenge of his Hojo allies and homestead heavily destroyed, infiltrated the castle as Goemon did before, and assassinated the warlord.....now the fall of the Toyatomi clan was beginning to suffice, and Tokugawa saw his chance now to become ruler.

The battle was now between Tokugawa, and Lord Ishida of the Ashikaga Emperor supported by Toyatomi's son, Hideyori, who took over leader of the Toyatomi forces. This was it, whoever won this battle, would be able to take control of Japan for the most part, and become Shogun! (but not without a little ninja conflict of course, hehe). Remnants of the old Ta
keda army still existed, even after almost total destruction by the Hojo clan, Lord Sanada was still alive, and his forces still existing, and yes, The Koga ninja are coming back into the picture soon!

It was 1603, and the battle at Sekigahara, between Tokugawa and Ishida was at its climax. Tokugawa eventually was able to destroy the forces of Ishida with the help of Hattori Hanzo's ninja. He would then become Shogun later that year, and conflicts between the Tokugawa and Toyatomi were still climaxing, though Japan finally began to witness a period of peace, and much more after the conflicts were over, there still was unfinished business to take care of. Tokugawa was supposed to have given the throne to Hideyori, but instead kept the power as Shogun, leaving Hideyori isolated at Osaka castle, while he ruled Japan his own way. This is why after the peace, they began to have conflicts again. However, the conflicts werent much of a threat, as now Japan wanted peace, and Tokugawa was now much more powerful to be stopped.

Tokugawa continued to establish the new Yagyu ninja, under Yagyu Jubei and was supported and trained by the Iga ninja of Hattori Hanzo. Anyone who was against them or against the peace of Japan would be killed.

These were called the Ura Yagyu and later after the death (most likely assassination of Yagyu Jubei) came under the rule of Yagyu Munefuyu (Yagyu Retsudo)

The ninja that operated for Lord Ishida were none other than the Fuma, after the Sanada and Takeda families were being defeated, they swore vengeance especially on Tokugawa. The Fuma ninja performed many nightly raids along with the Koga ninja who were also against the Shogun, because they also had conflicts from previous encounters, but of course the Fuma and Koga hated each other and frequently confronted and attacked one another on their nightly tasks.

Most Iga ninja were either operating with Momochi Sandayu, or the Shogun and Hattori Hanzo. Tokugawa was determined to destroy the Fuma, he had little or no information on the Koga yet, but his ninja sought out to destroy the Fuma for good. So Takasaka Jinnai, the second Koga master n command, and his Koga group agreed to meet Hattori Hanzo, Yagyu Jubei, and their groups and put a stop to the Fuma once and for all. They secrety followed a few ninja back to the hidden Fuma camp, infiltrated it, and killed their terrorizing leader, Kotaro. The remaining Fuma ninja were furious!!!!! and vowed revenge to kill Hanzo! (That event will come later on!)

In the hidden shadows of Japan, and unknown to most, was the exiled Lord Sanada, the warlord ally of the former Takeda, with the remnants of the group, and allied with the Koga ninja, dispatched one of the Koga leaders by the name of Kerigakure Saizo, to infiltrate the Shogun's castle, and assassinate Tokugawa. Sanada was a sworn enemy of the Shogun, and was going to destroy him at all costs, to bring true peace to Japan, and in the name of his master, Takeda Shingon, who should have become the true Shogun, sought revenge!

All the events are between the years 1603 and 1616, so the most intense ninja wars are now beginning. Saizo entered the castle at night with no problem, probably killed some guards, as most ninja do to get into the chamber of the great warlord. Saizo raised his sword and killed the Shogun, so it was finished he thought. Unfortunately, he was tricked by a counter act by Hattori Hanzo, in that the sleeping figure was none other than a fake, it was only a samurai posing as the sleeping shogun. The next day, Saizo discovered the whole plan of what happened, and during their espionage operations, Hanzo's group attacked Saizo's group, (yes there was another ninja war! Saizo against Hanzo!) Hanzo's group was defeating Saizo's though, so they had to escape with their lives. Saizo and the remnants of his group then made it to the remote headquarters of Sanada and reported their failure, though the whole group was not aware that a secret attack on their lord had already been planned out!

A former ninja from Tokugawa (we're not sure as to who this was, but could have been Hattori Hanzo in disquise!), previously after pledgeing loyalty to Sanada, (which was of course one of the many disquised tactics of the ninja), assassinated him by bringing him a gift. The gift was that of a small kitten, who's paws were dipped in toxic poison. There was a secret Ninja war going on between the Iga, Koga, and Fuma ninja all over Japan. Both groups were trying to kill the Shogun and establish their power, while trying to kill each other, while the other group was trying to protect the Shogun. Both Koga and Fuma groups were operating in the same missions yet when confronted, were greatly opposed to each other because of past conflicts, so they would attack and kill each other. (they should have joined, but never did, hehe).

Sanada's son, Yukimura, would now be the new warlord for the Sanada, but he resigned and gave authority to his brother, to control the family line, took his band of ninja with him, and disappeared into the mountains. This was all part of the plan to make it look as if the Sanada had been pretty much demolished by now. Meanwhile, Yukimura took refuge within the temple of Kunoichi-ryu, who were bitter enemies of the Shogun and agreed to help him and the Koga ninja in his tasks. Mochizuki Chiyome was the female ninja master of the Kunoichi for a very long time period, but must have passed on the leadership to Koskei Anayama, because he seems to be the leader of the group during this time. Together, they sought yet another force, this time the remnants of the Iga ninja to whom were loyal to Momochi Sandayu. The Tokugawa ninja finally realizing what had happened, reported to the Shogun, and he dispatched Hattori Hanzo to offer position into the Tokugawa forces. Sandayu refused to such an offer, and their was a great dual between master and student, Sandayu and Hanzo......The battle was very intense, but Sandayu was very old, and Hanzo took advantage of that.
.....So it was finished, Hanzo killed his own master, and buried him and his lodgings to the ground..... Its quite difficult to tell though the good from the bad.....Both Tokugawa and Sanada were honourable warlords, and it was ashame they had to be enemies, but as Takeda Shingon used to say, "that's war".........

Yoshida Myaeda was a very important allie of the Tokugawa, and Koskei knew this. He attempted to become allies, and operate with Myaeda's samurai group. Koskei's plans worked completely as they entertained Myaeda's group at a dedication party in honour of him. The Kunoichi ninja poisoned the wine and food, severly weakening the army, and met their advance as they attacked within the foggy night, and quickly destroyed them.

The strategy now for the Koga and Kunoichi was to lure Tokugawa Ieyasu into the battlefield, thus exposing him to danger. For the first time, they sought the help of the Fuma ninja, who had been greatly defeated by Hattori and Momochi's groups years before.

Their plan was for the Fuma to attack Hattori Hanzo, while the Koga attack the Shogun. The Fuma performed nightly raids against the Iga ninja, and lured them into the oceans, where they set fire to Hanzo's group, and attacked them with swords under the water, there was no escape, the great master ninja, Hanzo and much of his group, was assassinated. Revenge was taken, and successful, in honour of their great master, Kotaro....

The other story is of course that Fuma Kotaro did not die and thus assassinated Hanzo, which ever is true both great warriors met their ends.

Meanwhile, tunneling under the road to the Tokugawa Castle, the Koga suddenly attacked by opening up the ground to swallow up the Shogun's army. One of the Koga ninjas, Iuzo Kaka, took an explosive and blew himself up along with 12 of the Shogun's loyal samurai.

The ninja then performed ghost techniques, making them all appear as many, and cut through enemy lines making the Shogun and other retainers flee on foot. It was that devastating, despite the greatest odds. Sudden
ly Lord Yukimura appeared in front of the Shogun and struck him down, only to be struck down himself, so as fate would have it, both lords were slain, but that's war......

Both armies were totally weakened, and the soul survivor of the Koga was Sarutobi Sasuke, who lead the ninja in the battle, to victory. He saved the Korean Princess Ota and her ninja guardian Miyoshi (also female), who were captured by Hideyoshi years earlier, and they returned to their country. From that time on......the ninja of Koga would ally themselves with the Iga ninja, thus establishing true peace in Japan, finally, after all the wars, it was over.......Yagyu Jubei and Sarutobi Sasuke would continue to guide their groups, to protect Japan.

The successor to Hanzo who also took the name of Hattori Hanzo worked closely with Yagyu Munenori and his son Yagyu Jubei. Yagyu Munenori having secured the position of Ometsuke, inspector of the Daimyo, used the Ura Yagyu to infiltrate and eliminate any Daimyo and their Clans who became threats to the Shoguns power.

eventually Yagyu Jubei supposedly turned against his father and fought against the Ura Yagyu whom he once trained.

Another version is that Jubei was sent by Munenori to work as a spy and assassin, while another states he was exiled from Edo because he beat up the Shogun during a training session.

The first story is most likely true as gleamed from the statements made by Takuan Soho in the Unfettered mind, a collection of letters sent to Yagyu Munenori by the zen master.

After the death of Munenori his third son Yagyu Retsudo took over what was now called the Shadow Yagyu (Ura Yagyu) and continued to use them to disbar any clans who not only threatened the Shogun but the Yagyu as well.

Eventually the Edo branch of Yagyu disappeared seemingly overnight around the same time as the Ogami clan. In the Popular manga Lone Wolf and Cub these events are given the explanation of a fued occurring between the Yagyu and the Ogami, but whatever the case the Yagyu Ninja seem to end here.

The Kurokowa Clan of Ninja was also very prevalent throughout these periods, particularly serving the Tokugawa shogunate as spies or Oniwaban. (One in the Garden) They are active throughout the Tokugawa Shogunate and come to an end during the Meiji Restoration.

Heres a bio of some of the great ninja from another source

Sasuke Sarutobi: Sarutobi (Monkey Jump) was a ninja renowned for his acrobatic abilities and absolute loyalty. It was said that he lived in the trees with monkeys, and his athletic ability was such that he could dodge the fastest warrior, ducking and jumping around a sword slash.

One famous story was when he was sent by his master to spy on the shogun, who had declared his master a rebel.

Sarutobi made a successful entry into the Shoguns castle, and overheard discussions regarding an attack on his master. Unfortunately, as he attempted to slip out of the castle, he was spotted by guards. Sarutobi was a master of evasion, and had experienced similar situations before. he used a springboard to leap a very high wall, but unfortunately, he leapt straight into a bear trap. In order to escape, he is reputed to have amputated his own foot, and hobbled off. He realised that in this state, escape was impossible, so took his life in front of the guards, who disposed of his body in the Castle moat.

This story takes another twist; Hattori Hanzou Masashige, who was a ninja loyal to the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu saw the death of Sarutobi, and then disguised himself as the ninja. A second ninja, sent to check on Sarutobi's progress found it difficult, but not impossible to enter the castle - unaware that Hanzou had allowed this to happen. Hanzou then crept around the castle in the same fashion as Sarutobi, and even attacked and disabled two guards to make his ruse more convincing. The second ninja saw this, and also overheard a conversation between two guards concerning the remarkable escape of Sarutobi. The ninja returned to his master, and reported that since Sarutobi was still at large, the Shogun would not have time to launch a campaign against him. Very shortly after the ninja had delivered his report, the Shogun's warriors surrounded the rebels castle, and held them under siege.
Hattori Hanzou Masashige: Arguably the most famous ninja in history, the tales of Hattori Hanzou are still told in Japanese History books, although Hanzou is described as a bushi (warrior) from Iga Province instead of a ninja.

He was born in 1541 as the son of Hattori Nazo Yasunaga, a vassal to the Tokugawa family, and was raised in the martial ways. A master of the spear (he is still known in Japan as the "great lancer"), his first battle was in 1557 when Tokugawa Ieyasu (the Shogun) attacked Uzichijo. He showed remarkable fighting skill, and was involved in many more battles including (but not limited to) the battle at Kanagawa in 1570 and at Mikatagahara in 1572. After the murder of Oda Nobunaga (A famous Samurai warlord), he and a Koga ninja by the name of Taro Shiro helped the shogun escape by using Goton-Jutsu (The skills of escape by use of the five elements chi, sui, fu, moku and kin)

Hanzou eventually died during a battle against the Fuma ninja, in 1596. Their leader Fuma Kotaro was an expert in striking Tokugawa's installations and causing great damage, so Hanzou was ordered to kill him. Hanzou ordered the construction of a fleet of large boats, armed with heavy cannon, as he knew the Fuma ninja had only a few light boats with little or no arms. When the fleet was completed, Hanzou led the fleet around the seas to scour the Fuma ninja. Off the Suo coast, the fleet came across a small group of Fuma boats. The fleet manoeuvred to get within range, and then laid down a steady barrage of fire. All of the Fuma ships was destroyed except two which had stayed out of range. One boat was on fire, and appeared to be disabled. Hanzou ordered his gunboats to move towards the boat slowly so that a concerted barrage could finish off the ship. As they were manoeuvring, the tide changed, drawing all the boats into a narrow channel. Hanzou gave the command to begin evasive action, but then it was discovered that all the gunship's had had their rudders destroyed by Fuma Ninja using underwater techniques. Hanzou ordered the gunpowder to be dumped into the ocean, but there was insufficient time for this, so the men abandoned ship to find the water saturated with oil. When the ships collided, the ocean was turned into an inferno, killing Hanzou and his men. Fuma Kotaro stood on the deck of his command ship, the remaining one which had stayed well out of range and watched the death of the greatest ninja who ever lived.

Momochi Sandayu: Momochi Sandayu (also believed to be known as Fujibayashi Nagato - the third most famous ninja Jonin: see below.) descended from Otomo family in the Iga province. It is said that Iga was controlled by three ninja families; Hattori controlled the middle, Fujibayashi the north, and Momochi the south. Sandayu was soke (head of family) of three ninjutsu schools; Momochi ryu, Gyokko ryu and Koto ryu. His main home during the 1570's was in Ryugu Sanbonmatsu, however he is believed to have had three homes (and three families) and if the pressure became too extreme on one of his homes, he would switch to one of the others, and assume a new identity. After Nobunagas invasion, he is believed to have gone east, and settled as a farmer in Kii province. His grave was recently discovered close to one of his homes 15 miles south of Iga-Ueno (where the museum of ninjutsu is situated). The ancestors of Sandayu still reside in one of his houses, but they no longer have any ninjutsu connection, apart from a family tree containing the name of the legendary Sandayu.

Fujibayashi Nagato: Fujibayashi Nagato was a ninja jonin active around the same period as Momochi Sandayu. He worked quite a distance away from the main area of Momochi Sandayu's activities (North Iga as opposed to Momochi at the South), and was feared almost as much. However, it is believed that Momochi Sandayu and Fujibayahi Nagato were in fact the same person, as Momochi Sandayu was mentioned in a journal describing Oda Nobunagas invasion of Iga province in 1581 for his courage and gallantry, but there is no mention of Fujibayashi Nagato.

Fuma Kotaro: Fuma Kotaro was the fifth generation jonin head of Fuma Ryu Ninjutsu. His ryu worked in support of Odawara’s Hojo family, specialising in Guerilla tactics. Fuma Kotaro’s most famous battle was in March 1581, when troops of Takeda set up their fortress in Ukishimagahara, and the Hojo set up camp across the Osegawa river from them. The Fuma group crossed the river and attacked the Takeda group several times at night, and drove the Takeda camp into disorder with ninja tactics. By the time of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the Fuma Ryu had degenerated into a gang of pirates operating in the Inland Sea. Fuma Kotaro and his followers are believed to have been responsible for the death of Hattori Hanzou in 1596.
Iga province ninjutsu

Ukifune Jinnai
Heres a little bit of history i wish i didnt uncover. You wanna talk about a freakin nightmare of a way to die. Jinnai was one of Odas ninja assassins, his brother Ukifune Kenpachi was leader of Odas Ninja. Now Jinnai was a midget, only 3 ft tall. Oda sent him to assassinate Uesugi Kenshin. So what he did was hid in Uesugis crapper, when Uesugi went to do his business Jinnai stabbed his blade into kenshins anus and kept pushin till he was dead. Then he escaped by hiding in the doodoo. Talk about a bad way to go.

Yagyu Jubei
Founder of the Ura Yagyu Ninja. He established the Ura Yagyu under the order of his Father Yagyu Munenori in order to keep watch over the chaotic Daimyo of the time. Supposedly Jubei rebelled against his father when he learned the Yagyu were abusing its power to gain even more power over the Shogun. Like Hattori Hanzo, Jubei was both a Samurai and a Ninja. Mystery surrounds Jubei's life and his death. Its said he died while either fishing or hawking, (Hunting with his hawk.) But usualy when someone dies suddenly or of sudden illness, they were assassinated. The Likely assassins would be a Rogue Iga Ninja named Yashamaru or Fuma Kotaro himself. Another train of thought is that he was killed by his own father for betraying him.
While in all historic potrayels Jubei appeared without an eye patch, he is commonly depicted in most current media as having an eye patch made from a tsubo. The legend says that his father wounded his eye in anger during a training session when Jubei was young.

So there ya go, if you got any other famous Ninja add em. I know theres more i havent mentioned.

Last edited by Yagyu; 08-08-2009 at 01:54 AM.
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Old 08-08-2009, 07:54 AM
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Default Re: History of the Ninja

Wow... I was able to read through the text completely! (hehe)

Well, a very good and informative text Yagyu, sometimes it is hard to read because of the use of English though, my guess is some of the texts you wrote yourself and others you copied/pasted from other sources right? No problemo though.

I was first confused when you wrote Yagyu Jubei died, and 10 sentences later he was in the story again But at the end of your post you explained this.

One question though, everytime you talk of the Toyotomi, you write Toyatomi...
First I thought it was a spelling error but you kept writing Hideyoshi Toyatomi, Hideyori Toyatomi etc. its Toyotomi isn't it?

All in all a very good read!
Brings elements of books I read, games I played and movies I watched but now the REAL story of things both Samurai and Shinobi (I hope so yes? I don't want to remember all this stuff if its not historically accurate hahaha, just kidding)
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:51 AM
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Default Re: History of the Ninja

Originally Posted by Wundai View Post
its Toyotomi isn't it?
Yeah I do believe so.
Great research Yagyu. ^^
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:06 PM
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Default Re: History of the Ninja

yea alot of it was copy pasted from different sources and some of it was written from me, mostly the yagyu info. But yea whew, 4 hours of research there.
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:46 PM
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Default Re: History of the Ninja

Moved to the History section.
(I'll get to reading it later. )
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Old 08-08-2009, 03:49 PM
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thanx sun
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Old 08-09-2009, 01:57 AM
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Default Re: History of the Ninja

4 Hours!

Such dedication!

Readers should give this thread a 5 star rating
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Old 08-09-2009, 06:49 AM
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Default Re: History of the Ninja

Information overload
but thanks for the dedication there man, really informative

Shinobi or Samurai, that is the question?,
Good or evil that's in the eye of the beholder
Which fate brings me to conclusions?

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Old 08-09-2009, 05:54 PM
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Default Re: History of the Ninja

Very good information XD. Where do you find all this stuff?
Are there any clues for the riddle in there? tehe
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:16 PM
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Default Re: History of the Ninja

You should list sources.
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