Ninja history

A Ninja was a covert agent of the feudal Japan mastering in unorthodox arts of war, including the skills like espionaging, sabotaging, infiltration, and assassinating and many other skills. The Ninja is very ancient art hidden in the mists of time. It is practically impossible to precisely state the place, time and people who initiated the ancient art of ninjutsu. There are too many philosophies and stories dealing with the traditions of Korean and Chinese immigrants, taoists, adherents to the theory of shugendo, buddhist monks and others, and all this data is too far complicated and yet, it is far vague what is true and what is false.

The image of a warrior dressed in black so much commercialized by the cinematography, appeared in the Japanese culture not so long ago and it has inspired not a single person. For the first time this image emerged in the second half of the 16th century depicted in illustrated books. There are sundry legends related to Ninja and their skills to become invisible when and if necessary and magic power, which brought to the appearance of the super human being, but in fact it is too far from being true.

«BUYOU BENRYAKU» work presented in 1684, for the first time introduced the term «ninja» and their activity as follows: «Ninja were the persons skilled to hide both in homeland and in other provinces. Some of the ninja were highly skilled in the technique of secretly sneaking into any place safely protected and guarded…. «.

Reviewing some historical data related to ninja as they come shown in the Japanese chronicles, it is quite feasible to observe that ninja were named differently for different periods: during the reign of the Prince Shotoku Theis (574-622) the ninja were called Shinobi, during the reign of the Emperor Tenmu (673-686) their name was Sokkan.

The Iga and Koga provinces are precisely considered to be the places of origin of ninjutsu and the ninja. Due to the complex geography and the mountainous terrain these lands were not supervised by the neighboring provinces. They were also called as Koga no mono (the people of Koga) and Iga no mono (the people of Iga) in some chronicles. Due to inaccessibility the mountain areas of Koga and Iga were ideally suitable for those who sought a chance to avoid the authorities.

In the period of Kamakura’s reign (1185-1333) the policy was introduced to form the classes of warriors who take the vacant pinnacles of court power and there arose a need to build the troop of soldiers who apply non-traditional methods of warfare. Those people, who we now call the ninja, were employed during war periods for their unique methods and techniques that were not known to other class of warriors. They had the power and skills to turn the outcome of any battle for the favor of this or that party.

The period of reign of Sengoku ruler (1477-1603) was the time of messy wars, when everyone used to fight with anyone ready to run the war. During that period the demand for invisible people with their incredible skills was extremely high, and yet, many people from higher society would take advantage of their services. That was the most exuberant period in the history of the ninja soldiers.

The art of Ninjutsu was slowly but surely developed and this class of warriors became the key element to win or possess any information. A ninja or a group of ninja was involved secretly for any battle to keep the balance of the opposing forces.

The battle of Sekigahara (1600) was the last battle that employed the ninja warriors.

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