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Encyclopedia > Ninja
Jiraiya, ninja and title character of the Japanese folktale Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari.
Jiraiya, ninja and title character of the Japanese folktale Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari.

A ninja (忍者 ninja?) is a highly skilled operator, specially trained in the art and science of assassination, espionage, guerilla warfare, covert killing, and combative martial arts. In Japanese culture, they are usually trained for dangerous and high-risk stealth clandestine missions very similar to those of the modern day Special Forces like the US Navy Seals, Taiwan Thunder Squad or Police SWAT Teams. Although their exact origins are still unknown, with some historians speculating about some Chinese origin or influence, it is known that they appeared in fourteenth century feudal Japan, and remained active from the Kamakura to the Edo period. Their roles may have included sabotage, espionage, scouting and assassination missions as a way to destabilize and cause social chaos in enemy territory or against an opposing ruler, perhaps in the service of their feudal rulers (daimyo, shogun), or an underground ninja organization waging guerilla warfare. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (684x1024, 342 KB) Ogata Shuma Hiroyuki later known as Jiraiya , with a heavy gun, overcoming a huge Snake which has preyed on his friends the Toads. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (684x1024, 342 KB) Ogata Shuma Hiroyuki later known as Jiraiya , with a heavy gun, overcoming a huge Snake which has preyed on his friends the Toads. ... Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari Naruto, see Jiraiya (Naruto). ... Japanese folklore is the folklore of Japan. ... Shinobi (忍び) is the Japanese word for ninja. ... Special Forces (SF) or Special Operations Forces (SOF) are highly-trained military units that conduct specialized operations such as reconnaissance, unconventional warfare, and counter-terrorism actions. ... The Bath, a painting by Mary Cassatt (1844–1926). ... Part of a scientific laboratory at the University of Cologne. ... It has been suggested that Selective assassination be merged into this article or section. ... Spy and Secret agent redirect here. ... Guerrilla (also called a partisan) is a term borrowed from Spanish (from guerra meaning war) used to describe small combat groups. ... Secrecy is the condition of hiding information from others. ... Look up Killing on Wiktionary, the free dictionary Killing is a family name and the name of several things. ... Combatives FM 21-150 Figure 4-1, Vital Targets. ... Hawaiian State Grappling Championships. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... SEALs in from the water. ... The National Police Thunder Squad of Taiwan is a highly trained SWAT-type unit established in 1985 to conduct high-risk arrests and other dangerous law enforcement duties. ... This article is about Special Weapons and Tactics. ... The following text needs to be harmonized with text in the article History of Japan#Kamakura Period. ... The Edo period ), also called Tokugawa period, is a division of Japanese history running from 1603 to 1868. ... “Saboteur” redirects here. ... Spy and Secret agent redirect here. ... Mixed reconnaissance patrol of the Polish Home Army and the Soviet Red Army during Operation Tempest, 1944 Reconnaissance is the military term for the active gathering of information about an enemy, or other conditions, by physical observation. ... It has been suggested that Selective assassination be merged into this article or section. ... Daimyo Matsudaira Katamori visits the residence of a retainer. ... Minamoto no Yoritomo, the first shogun of the Kamakura shogunate Shōgun )   is supreme general of the samurai,a military rank and historical title in Japan. ... Guerrilla (also called a partisan) is a term borrowed from Spanish (from guerra meaning war) used to describe small combat groups. ...

Contents

Etymology

Ninja is the on'yomi reading of the two kanji 忍者 used to write shinobi-no-mono (忍の者), which is the native Japanese word for people who practice ninjutsu (忍術, sometimes erroneously transliterated as ninjitsu). The words: ninja and shinobi-no-mono, along with shinobi, another variant; became popular in the post-World War II culture[citation needed]. The term shinobi (historically sino2bi2 written with the Man'yōgana 志能備), has been traced as far back as the late 8th century when Heguri Uji no Iratsume wrote a poem[1] [2] to Ōtomo no Yakamochi. The underlying connotation of shinobi (), in Sino-Japanese means "to steal away" and—by extension—"to forbear," hence its association with stealth and invisibility. Mono (者, likewise pronounced sha or ja) means "person." The nin of ninjutsu is the same as that in ninja, whereas jutsu () means skill or art, so ninjutsu means "the skill of going unperceived" or "the art of stealth"; hence, ninja and shinobi-no-mono (as well as shinobi) may be translated as "one skilled in the art of stealth." Similarly, the pre-war word ninjutsu-zukai means "one who uses the art of remaining unperceived." The characters for Kanji, lit. ... Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji   ) are the Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese logographic writing system along with hiragana (平仮名), katakana (片仮名), and the Arabic numerals. ... Japanese  ) is a language spoken by over 130 million people, in Japan and Japanese emigrant communities around the world. ... Ninjutsu ) started out as a set of survival skills that were used by groups of people who lived in Iga Prefecture of Japan. ... Transliteration is the practice of transcribing a word or text written in one writing system into another writing system. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... The Old Japanese language is the Japanese language as used in the Kojiki, Manyoshu, Nihonshoki, and other early records of Japanese history and poetry. ... Japanese writing Kanji Kana Hiragana Katakana Hentaigana Manyōgana Uses Furigana Okurigana Rōmaji Manyōgana (万葉仮名) is an ancient form of Japanese kana which uses Chinese characters to represent Japanese sounds. ... ChÅ«nagon Yakamochi, from the Hyakunin Isshu. ...


Other terms which may be used are oniwaban (お庭番 "one in the garden"), suppa, rappa, mitsumono, kusa (草 grass) and Iga-mono ("one from Iga"). The OniwabanshÅ« (お庭番衆) was a group of ninja and onmitsu established by the 8th Tokugawa shogun, Tokugawa Yoshimune, who was considered one of Japans greatest shoguns. ...


In English, the plural of ninja can be either unchanged as ninja, reflecting the Japanese language's lack of grammatical number, or the regular English plural ninjas.[3] In linguistics, grammatical number is a morphological category characterized by the expression of quantity through inflection or agreement. ...


Historical period of origin

The ninja use of stealth tactics against better-armed enemy samurai does not mean that they were limited to espionage and undercover work: that is simply where their actions most notably differed from the more accepted tactics of samurai. Their weapons and tactics were partially derived from the need to conceal or defend themselves quickly from samurai, which can be seen from the similarities between many of their weapons and various sickles and threshing tools used at the time. [1]. This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... For the fictional unit of money called a sickle, see Money in Harry Potter. ...


Ninjas as a group first began to be written about in 15th century feudal Japan as martial organizations predominately in the regions of Iga and Koga of central Japan, though the practice of guerrilla warfare and undercover espionage operations goes back much further. (14th century - 15th century - 16th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 15th century was that century which lasted from 1401 to 1500. ... Ueno Castle Iga Province (伊賀国; -no kuni) was an old province of Japan in the area that is today western Mie prefecture. ... Minakuchi Castle (reconstructed). ... Guerrilla warfare (also guerilla) is the unconventional warfare and combat with which small group combatants (usually civilians) use mobile tactics (ambushes, raids, etc) to combat a larger, less mobile formal army. ...


At this time, the conflicts between the clans of daimyo that controlled small regions of land had established guerrilla warfare and assassination as a valuable alternative to frontal assault. Since Bushido, the Samurai Code, forbade such tactics as dishonorable, a daimyo could not expect his own troops to perform the tasks required; thus, he had to buy or broker the assistance of ninja to perform selective strikes, espionage, assassination, and infiltration of enemy strongholds (Turnbull 2003). Daimyo Matsudaira Katamori visits the residence of a retainer. ... Japanese samurai in armor, 1860s. ... Dr Stephen Richard Turnbull is an historian specialising in eastern military history, especially the Samurai of Japan. ...


There are a few people and groups of people regarded as having been potential historical ninja from approximately the same time period. It is rumored that some of the higher-ranking daimyos and shoguns were in fact ninja, and exploited their role as ninja-hunters to deflect suspicion and obscure their participation in the 'dishonorable' ninja methods and training.


Though typically classified as assassins, many of the ninja were warriors in all senses. In Hayes's book, Mystic Arts of the Ninja, Hattori Hanzo, one of the most well-known ninja, is depicted in armor similar to that of a samurai. Hayes also says that those who ended up recording the history of the ninja were typically those within positions of power in the military dictatorships, and that students of history should realize that the history of the ninja was kept by observers writing about their activities as seen from the outside. Hattori Hanzō (服部半蔵)(1541-1596), also known as Masanari and as Masashige, was the son of a certain Hattori Yasunaga. ...


Ninjutsu did not come into being as a specific well defined art in the first place, and many centuries passed before ninjutsu was established as an independent system of knowledge in its own right. Ninjutsu developed as a highly illegal counter culture to the ruling Samurai elite, and for this reason alone, the origins of the art were shrouded by centuries of mystery, concealment, and deliberate confusion of history” The Historical Ninja. –By Sōke Masaaki Hatsumi Ninjutsu ) started out as a set of survival skills that were used by groups of people who lived in Iga Prefecture of Japan. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ...


A similar account is given by Stephen K. Hayes: “The predecessors of Japan's’ ninja were so called rebels favoring Buddhism who fled into the mountains near Kyoto as early as the 7th century A.D. to escape religious persecution and death at the hands of imperial forces” Ninjutsu: The Art of Invisibility.


Historical organization

In their history, ninja groups were small and structured around families and villages, later developing a more martial hierarchy that was able to mesh more closely with that of samurai and the daimyo. These certain ninjutsu trained groups were set in these villages for protection against raiders and robbers.


While ninjas were limited exclusively to males, "ninja museums" in Japan declare women to have been ninjas as well (Turnbull 2003). A female ninja may be kunoichi (くノ一); the characters are derived from the strokes that make up the kanji for female (女). They were sometimes depicted as spies who learned the secrets of an enemy by seduction; though it's just as likely they were employed as household servants, putting them in a position to overhear potentially valuable information. [2] Dr Stephen Richard Turnbull is an historian specialising in eastern military history, especially the Samurai of Japan. ... Kunoichi, as she appears in Samurai Warriors. ...


As a martial organization, ninja would have had many rules, and keeping secret the ninja's clan and the daimyo who gave them their orders would have been one of the most important ones.[citation needed].


For modern hierarchy in ninjutsu, see: Ninjutsu Ninjutsu ) started out as a set of survival skills that were used by groups of people who lived in Iga Prefecture of Japan. ...


Historical garb, technique, and image

There is no evidence that historical ninja limited themselves to all-black suits. In modern times, camouflage based upon dark colors such as dark red and dark blue can be used to give better concealment at night. Some cloaks may have been reversible: dark colored on the outside for concealment during the night, and white colored on the inside for concealment in the snow. Some ninja may have worn the same armor or clothing as samurai or Japanese peasants. Countershaded Ibex are almost invisible in the Israeli desert. ...


The stereotypical ninja that continually wears easily identifiable black outfits (shinobi shozoku) comes from the Kabuki theater. [3] Prop handlers would dress in black and move props around on the stage. The audience would obviously see the prop handlers, but would pretend they were invisible. Building on that willing suspension of disbelief, ninja characters also came to be portrayed in the theater as wearing similar all-black suits. This either implied to the audience that the ninja were also invisible, or simply made the audience unable to tell a ninja character from many prop handlers until the ninja character distinguished himself from the other stagehands with a scripted attack or assassination. Traditional Shinobi Shozoku The Shinobi Shozoku is a type of dark-coloured Keikogi clothing, traditionally worn by practitioners of the Japanese martial art of ninjutsu. ... The Kabukiza in Ginza is one of Tokyos leading kabuki theaters. ... Suspension of disbelief is an aesthetic theory intended to characterize peoples relationships to art. ...


Ninja boots (jika-tabi), like much of the rest of Japanese footwear from the time, have a split-toe design that improves gripping and wall/rope climbing. They are soft enough to be virtually silent. Ninja also attached special spikes to the bottoms of the boots called ashiko. Jika-Tabi (地下足袋: tabi that contact the ground) are a type of heavy-duty footware worn in Japan. ...


The actual head covering suggested by Sōke Masaaki Hatsumi (in his book The Way of the Ninja: Secret Techniques) utilizes what is referred to as sanjaku-tenugui, (three-foot cloths). It involves the tying of two three-foot cloths around the head in such a way as to make the mask flexible in configuration but securely bound. Some wear a long robe, most of the time dark blue (紺色 kon'iro) for stealth. Masaaki Hatsumi (初見良昭 Hatsumi Masaaki, born December 2, 1931) is the founder and current head of the Bujinkan Dojo martial arts organization. ...


Associated equipment

The assassination, espionage, and infiltration tasks of the ninja led to the development of specialized technology in concealable weapons and infiltration tools.


Specialized weapons and tactics

Ninja also employed a variety of weapons and tricks using gunpowder. Smoke bombs and firecrackers were widely used to aid an escape or create a diversion for an attack. They used timed fuses to delay explosions. Ōzutsu (cannons) they constructed could be used to launch fiery sparks as well as projectiles at a target. Small "bombs" called metsubushi (目潰し, "eye closers") were filled with sand and sometimes metal dust. This sand would be carried in bamboo segments or in hollowed eggs and thrown at someone, the shell would crack, and the assailant would be blinded. Even land mines were constructed that used a mechanical fuse or a lit, oil-soaked string. Secrets of making desirable mixes of gunpowder were strictly guarded in many ninja clans. Home made smoke powder burning Smoke bombs are a firework designed to produce colored smoke upon ignition. ... Not to be confused with Canon. ...


Other forms of trickery were said to be used for escaping and combat. Ashiaro are wooden pads attached to the ninja's tabi (thick socks with a separate "toe" for bigger toe; used with sandals). The ashiaro would be carved to look like an animal's paw, or a child's foot, allowing the ninja to leave tracks that most likely would not be noticed. Traditional wearing of Japanish woman Tabi (足袋) are traditional Japanese ankle high, divided-toe socks. ...


Also a small ring worn on a ninja's finger called a shobo would be used for hand-to-hand combat. The shobo (or as known in many styles of ninjutsu, the shabo) would have a small notch of wood used to hit assailant's pressure points for sharp pain, sometimes causing temporary paralysis. A suntetsu is very similar to a shobo. It could be a small oval shaped piece of wood affixed to the finger by a small strap. The suntetsu would be held against a finger (mostly middle) on the palm-side and when the hand was thrust at an opponent using the longer piece of wood to target pressure points such as the solar plexus. There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ... Pressure points are points on the body that produce a known reaction (reflex) by either hitting, touching, or rubbing them. ... The suntetsu is a Japanese concealed weapon. ...


Ninja also used special short swords called ninjaken, or shinobigatana. Ninjaken are smaller than katana but larger than wakizashi. The ninjaken was often more of a utilitarian tool than a weapon, not having the complex heat treatment of a usual weapon. Another version of the ninja sword was the shikoro ken (saw sword). The shikoro ken was said to be used to gain entry into buildings, and could also have a double use by cutting (or slashing in this case) opponents. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Ninjato. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


In popular culture

Ninja appear in both Japanese and Western fiction. Depictions range from realistic to the fantastically exaggerated. Ryu Hayabusa from the Ninja Gaiden video game by Team Ninja The ninja are common stock characters in both Japanese and foreign popular culture. ... The term Western world, the West or the Occident (Latin occidens -sunset, -west, as distinct from the Orient) [1] can have multiple meanings dependent on its context (e. ...

  • In the mid-1960s the Japanese TV series The Samurai created a major wave of popularity for the ninja in Japan, and this was replicated in several other countries where the series was screened, most notably in Australia, where the program's popularity rivaled its following in Japan among children.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) originally was intended to satirize the characterizations of ninja in the Western comics, primarily drawing on the fictionalized representations created by Frank Miller in Marvel's Daredevil comics of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
  • Many sources, including books, television, movies, and websites are portraying ninja in non-factual ways, often for humor or entertainment. Popular examples include the Real Ultimate Power website and book, the Ninja Spirit parody video series, and the Ask a Ninja podcast and website which are satirically written, feigning obsessive over-enthusiasm for ninja. Ninja Burger presents a fiction in which Ninja can be hired to deliver fast food in 30 minutes or less without being seen, or, on failure, commit seppuku.
  • More popular western fictional ninja have appeared in American Ninja parts 1-5, and the TMNT franchise, among others.
  • Ninja frequently appear in videogames (i.e. Tenchu, Ninja Gaiden, Shinobi, Shinobido), where they have gained as strong a following among gamers as they have among movie-goers.
  • Kawasaki Heavy Industries adopted the name "Ninja" for the North American market sportsbike, the 1984 Kawasaki Ninja ZX900.

The Samurai was a Japanese television historical drama series of the 1960s made by Senkosha Productions, the television production arm of the Senkosha Company, a large advertising agency based in Tokyo which still exists, though it has long since closed its television division. ... Masashi Kishimoto is the creator and author of the popular manga and anime Naruto. ... Manga )   (pl. ... The main cast of the anime Cowboy Bebop (1998) (L to R: Spike Spiegel, Jet Black, Ed Tivrusky, Faye Valentine, and Ein the dog) For the oleo-resin, see Animé (oleo-resin). ... Serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump Shonen Jump BANZAI! Shonen Jump Weekly Comic Original run November 1999 – Ongoing No. ... The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. ... Frank Miller (born January 27, 1957) is an American writer, artist and film director best known for his film noir-style comic book stories. ... For people who perform risky stunts as a profession, see stunt performer. ... Real Ultimate Power main page The Official Ninja Web page: Real Ultimate Power! is a humor website created by Robert Hamburger (as a fictional, 13-year-old character also named Robert Hamburger) about ninjas, whom he constantly describes with absolutes such as totally sweet. The site has become very popular... Poster for Ninja Spirit X - Enter the Insanity Ninja Spirit is a series of martial arts parody videos that focus on the adventures of the eponymous character, Ninja Spirit. ... Ask A Ninja opening title screenshot Ask A Ninja is an award-winning[1] series of comedy videos about the image of ninjas in popular culture available in podcast and vodcast form, as well as in mov and wmv file formats. ... The Ninja Burger logo. ... Fast food is food prepared and served quickly at a fast-food restaurant or shop at low cost. ... American Ninja is a 1985 film produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globuss Cannon Films. ... Tenchu (天誅) is the title of a popular stealth series wherein the player assumes the role of a ninja. ... For information regarding the game Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox, see Ninja Gaiden (Xbox). ... Shinobi is an arcade game by SEGA that was released in 1987. ... Please wikify (format) this article or section as suggested in the Guide to layout and the Manual of Style. ... You Only Live Twice is the twelfth novel in Ian Flemings James Bond series. ... Flemings image of James Bond; commissioned to aid the Daily Express comic strip artists. ... Tiger Tanaka is the head of the Japanese Secret Service, who aids James Bond in finding and defeating Ernst Stavro Blofeld, using a team of ninja-like warriors to invade the villain´s lair in an inactive volcano. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Takagi, Man'yōshū poem #3940; page 191
  2. ^ Satake, Man'yōshū poem #3940; page 108
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed.; American Heritage Dictionary, 4th ed.; Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1).

Manyōshū , Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves) is the oldest existing, and most highly revered, collection of Japanese poetry, compiled sometime in the Nara or early Heian periods. ... Manyōshū , Collection of Ten Thousand Leaves) is the oldest existing, and most highly revered, collection of Japanese poetry, compiled sometime in the Nara or early Heian periods. ... The Oxford English Dictionary print set The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is a dictionary published by the Oxford University Press (OUP), and is the most successful dictionary of the English language, (not to be confused with the one-volume Oxford Dictionary of English, formerly New Oxford Dictionary of English, of... The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (AHD) is a dictionary of American English published by Boston publisher Houghton-Mifflin, the first edition of which appeared in 1969. ...

References

  • Takagi, Ichinosuke; Tomohide Gomi, Susumu Ōno (1962). Nihon Koten Bungaku Taikei: Man'yōshū Volume 4. Iwanami Shoten. ISBN 4-00-060007-9. 
  • Satake, Akihiro; Hideo Yasumada, Rikio Kudō, Masao Ōtani, Yoshiyuki Yamazaki (2003). Shin Nihon Koten Bungaku Taikei: Man'yōshū Volume 4. Iwanami Shoten. ISBN 4-00-240004-2. 
  • Hatsumi, Masaaki (June 1981). Ninjutsu: History and Tradition. Unique Publications. ISBN 0-86568-027-2. 
  • Turnbull, Stephen (February 2003). Ninja AD 1460-1650. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-525-2. 

Masaaki Hatsumi (初見良昭 Hatsumi Masaaki, born December 2, 1931) is the founder and current head of the Bujinkan Dojo martial arts organization. ... Dr Stephen Richard Turnbull is an historian specialising in eastern military history, especially the Samurai of Japan. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
www.winjutsu.com (1688 words)
Ninja did engage in guerrilla warfare and espionage when necessary, but for the most part they were ordinary people who developed certain skills in order to survive the difficult times in feudal Japan's history.
Ninja intelligence gatherers sent to live in the strongholds of potential enemies were rarely required to act openly.
The demonstrated prowess of the Ninja as warriors, as well as the fact that they were such a closed and uncommunicative society, combined to create an opportunity for them to exaggerate their own skills and surround themselves with an eerie cloak of mystery.
Ninja - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3981 words)
Ninja and shinobi-no-mono, along with shinobi, another variant, became popular in the post-World War II phonetically with the kanji 志能備, has been traced as far back as Japan's Asuka period, when Prince Shotoku is alleged to have employed one of his retainers as a ninja.
Ninja as a group first began to be written about in 15th century feudal Japan as martial organizations predominately in the regions of Iga and Koga of central Japan, though the practice of guerilla warfare and undercover espionage operations goes back much further.
Ninja are said to have made use of weapons that could be easily concealed or disguised as common tools, the bo, and handclaws (shuko, neko-te tekagi) probably being the most famous, except for the amazing shuriken (throwing stars), popularized by comic book mail order advertisements.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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