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Ninja/Kunoichi: Real?


6 Oct 2002
Knowing that you can't trust what you read online, I've really heard a lot about ninja, ninjutsu, and the ninja's female equivalent, kunoichi.

Now I must ask, how much of it is real? Depsite the veil of secrecy behind the whole concept of ninja, I would find hard pressed to believe that, as some people claim, that ninja did not exist. While it would be plausible to accept that much of what we Westerners may have heard about ninja is probably just legend, the stealthy spy/assasin must have had a role in midieval Japan.

But what is real about the ninja? What is not? Were there really women ninja, kunoichi? Did the ninja really utilize the array of weapons and tools like the caltrops, throwing stars, manriki gusami, the hollow blade staff, sais, grappling hooks, egg shell bombs, etc...?

Is the ninja-to, the straight blade, square tsuba sword of the ninja really exist in pre-modern times? Some sources I have seen said yes, some have said no. I'm really inclined to believe the latter due to the rituality of the sword making art is to the Japanese.

If the whole idea of being a ninja is being secretive why would they carry a sword that would differentiate them from the samarai? While I do believe there were samurai that were specially trained I think overall the ninja is more a product of movies and television than real life. Again, I am not claiming that there were never a group of well trained assasins merely claiming that they were mortals.
I've heard from my e-pal who has been training as Ninja (though I'm not sure how 'real' is it.) for several years that Ninja is twisted by plenty of media, and that's merely something like a martial art.
You can compare ninja to the historic assassins: they received special training in espionage and murder and served daimyos to eliminate their enemies. I just checked my books: they were recruited from among farmers. Some villages at Biwa Lake (Shiga Prefecture) were famous for filling their ranks. There were three classes of ninja: jōnin (上忍), commanding missions, chūnin (中忍, who prepared missions and genin (下忍), actually executing missions. Until the Edo era, most of them lived as brigands and contracted killers, often opposed and pursued by the central government. As Zenbone stated: they were not as mystical as movies want to make us believe.

yes! Ninja did exist in Japan.
But I think they were not supermen but rather assassins...
I can't explain it in English well!!! help me~~~:eek:

This site would help you...maybe.

And some Onmyouza(Japanese heavy metal band) songs are about Kunoichi.
My avatar image is Onmyouza's CD, Yoka Ninpocho.
Oh!!!!! I should talk about such a topic in J-Pop Forum...sorry! :sorry:
Yes the site did help thank you, Luzie. I am now not so worried about it, but it's for the purposes of my story. For one, which of the weapons and tools we have been told were actually emplyed by the ninja?

Since my story takes place mostly in the future, I don't need to use too many ninja tools -- I think the shuriken (throwing stars), tanto, and poison needles and other tools are sufficient.

Since the ninja sword for the most part seems to be a make up of modern fiction, for the ancestral sword that I want my kunoichi character to possess I think I'll just use a wakizashi and be done with it.

Though I am having trouble with one of my character's background. The kunoichi, Kiyoko, was born in 1969 and never knew her mother (also a kunoichi, part a long female tradition in her family back to the 1400's), but was trained in ninjutsu to early adolescence by her father, when he was killed.

I can't figure out what Kiyoko would have done until adulthood. I would like for her to be trained further in the art (particularly learning about human vital points), but how would a young girl do this?

Also, Kiyoko has a huge tattoo of a dragon that goes around her body. Is that bad for a Japanese woman?

>Ninja sword
yeah, it's a short wakizashi as I understand.because ninja will fight very small place.

Ummm, i know generally ninja conduct training within their community.
so if she is in Ninja's hiding village (and all that place)
she could be trained various kinds of arts by other elder ninja.

>Is Tatoo bad for a Japanese woman?
normally yes.but she is Ninja!
I think it is not strange she has a tatoo.
it's cool,isn't it??
Konnichiwa ;)
Yes ninjas did exist and still do!! Some of the tradition was passed on actually and it is still practised today. I am a member of a ninjutsu "club" for 6 years now and it became a part of my life.
Women training ninjutsu or ninpou were called kunoichi, they had a big role in japanese history in fact. Ninjas were not only assasins, their image today is far from truth. They didn't jump 10 meters high and dissapear in the middle of nowhere, they made it look like that because people were superstitious at that time.
And look what they did... they made everybody think they didn't exist :)
Ninja sword, shinobigatana, ninjatou whatever you call is straight and longer then wakizashi. It was made for sword fighting against samurai, who needed more time to pull out their katanas, because of their length. It was used more for stabing then cuting.
I've heard two sides to the story. The ninja are either rebels who went against the warlords and samurai and trained in a special art to protect their clan. OR As has already been said in this thread.
Konnichiwa Vicidian-san!

Yes, you are right! Ninja is a rebel farmer originally. And they train their body to against the lord.
If you study the Japanese history(and Ninja's history), you know more detail about Ninja. I know many matter about Ninja, but I can not explain in my poor English. Sorry.:(

Whee! I was right... Not something i hear too often. o_0 Annnnyway, NANGI, I would love to hear more about the Ninja if you wouldn't mind. I don't really mind "poor English." To be honest, you speak much better then a lot of people I know. xD
Yeah, Nangi-san's English is by far much better than he gives himself credit for. Now tell us some Ninja stories! 8-p
Konnichiwa Vicidian-san! Iron Chef-san!

Ok, I will write about Ninja some other time. But I can not write right now, because I need a lot of time to write English. :p
Please look forward to the next post about Ninja with pleasure.

Hello every body i hope you don't mind me joinning in this conversation. i'm new to the forum.

the others are right nangi your english is quite good.

now i'm just going to add a few of my thoughts about the topic.

like every one has said movies and the media have some what over embelished on the ninja lifestyle. One thing about ninja is the black "uniform" if you will was worn by ninja but only at night when they were a a specific part in thier mission. in the day they would look like regular citizens going about their daily lives. and also as said before many of them were once regular people. another thing we need to realize is that not all assasins in japan are/were ninja. many were samurie or other forms of warriors. But the ninja them selves were a specialy trained group of warriors. theire skills and tools were designed to specificaly be small light weight and easy to conceal and carry, not only that but many items were specificaly designed to combat the quite imposing samurie with full length katanas.

as with many non-soldier based warriors the individual ninja would chose the weapon that they were best at using or that best fit the scenerio they were in.

as said before ninja and other assasins would look quite normal so as not to be detected for what they were. so the idea of femal ninja and assasins is not to far fetched. as many people know women can easily infiltraite and get close to many secure people and places using much less obvious techniques as climbing teh wall and such. with there certain "qualities" it would be quite easy for them to get close to high ranking officials to carry out thier hit., to gather information and such.

as a closing remark for this post i'd like to have every one keep in mind that most things in ficiton are based on reality. so when you hear about something such as ninja keep an open mind.

i hope this has been informational and to your liking. and i hope i havn't given any false information. to my knowledge its not so i hope i did all right

If someone wants to no about NINJAs, SAMURAI or something, contact me! i love martial arts so this is my topic.... 🙂

===> COME ON !!! <===
If someone wants to no about NINJAs, SAMURAI or something, contact me! i love martial arts so this is my topic.... 🙂

===> COME ON !!! <===
If someone wants to no about NINJAs, SAMURAI or something, contact me! i love martial arts so this is my topic.... 🙂

===> COME ON !!! <===
well my browser sucks.... excuse this multiple spam, PLEASE!
my internet explorer doesn’t work..... SORRY
heheh your right musashi does rule.

yeah. we have been trying to show that. yet you got to realize that much of manga like rurouni kenshin and other such great shows (specialy the ones that are more of historicle fiction like kenshin and not just fiction) have a base in reality. such as in kenshin.

true the samurie probably aren't going to be able to move at supper sonic speeds that make them invisible to teh naked eye (shukuchi)(i think i spelled sojiros technique right) but they are going to be able to be realy fast and use moves quite simillar to the show ... for instance kenshins famous battoujutsu attack is a real attack ( the amekekeru ryu no hirameki may not be) but battoujutsu is very real and very famous. you'll knotice that many manga and anime shows with katana weilding swordsmen will use this attack. which is very puzzling to people who don't know what it is cause it looks as though they're gonna give up in the middle of the fight ^_^ silly people.

so from this we can see that ninjas in anime and manga we can think of as partly true. besides with the ninja in the feudal and meji eras of japan many people probably thought that ninjas could jump up buildings and fly through the air. its like on brave heart when the soldier says "you cant be william wallace, he's 7 feet tall"
"aye and he can shoot fireballs from his eye's and lighting out his butt!"
even in the time of the ninja many people would seem them as we portray them in manga and anime. its all a psychology thing
yeah its a gift *_^

although i know that much of things are exagerated i often wonder how far a person could push his body to. especialy with mixture of ki (yes ki is real), physical/mental strength and technique (i.e. the way you run and move not just raw strength) i bet people could probably get pretty good.

*sigh* although i have yet to see it... i bet it could happen
Clearing up the confusion

Hello all,

I am glad to have found this thread and to clear up the confusion.

I am a member of The Genbukan World Ninpo Bugei Federation and a student of Long Island Ninjutsu Centers. I am a licensed and certified instructor in the art of Ninjutsu/Ninpo. I will explain some of the info on ninja and ninjutsu.

Yes, ninja were real and they served many purposes. They were seldom used for assassination as hollywood would have us believed, but were more often used as spies, guards and foot soldiers. Both men and women were ninja, and yes, the women were called kunoichi. This is actually a very meaningful name, which actual translates to 'one of nine.' It has to do with the power of the number nine and the even greater power of the number ten, which all leads back to Amatsu Tatara Bumon Shumon, but I already digress.

Let's start with a basic understanding of what Nin jutsu actually means. "Nin" is a kanji made up of two parts, 'ken' or sword, and 'shin', or heart. In the image, it appears that 'sword' is above 'heart.' It is also pronounced as 'shinobu,' which means 'to endure.' "jutsu" is simply a japanese word which means 'art' or 'skill,' so 'nin jutsu' means 'the skill to endure.' This is because the ninja were often used as spies or ambush troops who would have to endure great stress and travel undetected, even while in large groups.

"Nin jutsu" is not just one art. Througout the history of Japans' feudal age there were hundreds of different Ryu Ha or schools/lineages of ninjutsu, many of which died out over time. Today these schools are culminated in the knowledge of only two ninjutsu grand masters: Soke Shoto Tanemura and Soke Masaaki Hatsumi.

Within any school of ninjutsu are 36 Essential arts or skills called the 'sanjurokkei.' This varies from silent walking to disguise arts to shuriken, sword and unarmed combat. Also the use of fire or shiny objects to distract enemies. There are even sexual arts involved, and even the art of being able to appear drunk or asleep to surprise an enemy.

The unarmed combat part of ninjutsu is called 'taijutsu.'

Someone before mentioned the ninja sword. This is not a shorter wakizashi or anything of the kind. Most ninja carried swords which were not unlike a normal samurai sword. The ninja sword did not have any kind of special design, because any sword that a ninja carried was a ninja sword. Alot of people associate the short, straight sword with a rectangular hand guard as a ninja sword, but this is not the truth. Carrying a 'ninja sword' would only be advertising oneself as a ninja.

I hope this has helped, please feel free to contact me if you would like more info.
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