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Usher, June 19, 2019 in Collections and Latest Works
The definitive image of a Ninja is decisively centered into popular culture. You might have seen in TV shows and Movies a dark figure stalking his prey or stealing value and then he immediately vanishes into a night using some sort of gadget. You must be thinking if any of this is true.
Ninjas existed in primitive Japan where they used to perform the role of the secret agent. They were frequently given the job of assassination, disruption, and spying using guerilla warfare tactics. Typically speaking, ninjas who were specially trained spies had appeared in the 15th century though some records also show that they existed as early as the 12th century. The rise of Ninja can be significantly indorsed to a period of unrest in Japan during the 15th to 17th century. This was the time where anyone was readily available for spying and assassination.
By the time when Japan was united in the 17th century, the demand for ninja services declined and eventually, they started to disappear. In the year 1868, the stories about ninja started to gain popularity in Japan. Various folklore associated with Ninja during this time were both fanatic and imaginary attributing to fabled abilities such as walking on water, vanishing, controlling the weather conditions and a lot more. Today’s pop culture is also mainly based on folklore instead of firm facts.
There is a very little way when it comes to historical facts about the ninja. This is probably due to the underhand tactics and the type of service the Ninja used to perform. The job of the Ninja was kept unnoticed. These techniques were mostly used by the ninjas that are associated with their skills and ensure the opponent doesn’t know about their existence. Fortunately, there are some facts that are considered true and allow us to construct a better imagery of Ninja and what they actually did.
What did Ninja do?
There were many townships in the landscape of 15th century Japan which were devoted to training and housing ninja. These were the part of the Iga and Koga clans which were known for producing well-trained and proficient ninjas. There is surely a difference to be made between the skilled ninja tribes which comprised a hierarchy and specialized training for hiring spies and assassins. According to many records, the ninjas were used as special forces troops at times with a single account describing how a group of 80 trained ninjas was used to penetrate a castle, set fires and subdue around 200 strong barracks. The primary purpose of ninjas was spying and along with the assistance of masks they would infiltrate opponents’ camps, steal plans and seed confusion among the enemy troops. It was more of a psychological warfare which had a great influence.
How effective were Ninja?
The efficiency of the ninja during this period can be best demonstrated by the countermeasures introduced to combat their techniques. For instance, the weapons started to conceal under floorboards to permit for quick access in case of an assassination attempt. Buildings commenced being designed using traps and trip wires to warn guards of intruders. The designs of the castle also transformed with increasing complexity of layouts to confuse the interlopers. The hinged floors were created to purposely squeak when walked upon. The courtyards were also changed with the introduction of gravel to produce noise when walked on. The buildings were further apart to better contain building fires.
Professional ninjas were subjected to a variety of specialized training emphasizing guerilla and covert warfare, murder and spying techniques. One or the other way, ninjas were born into a profession where skills and techniques were passed down through the family. Ninjas were highly trained in martial arts and were subjected to several survival methods, exploring enemy movements and training in the delicate art of poisons and using explosives efficiently. Besides, the physical training includes increasing stamina, climbing, swimming and moving furtively. To undertake an effective camouflage, a working knowledge was required from multiple professions to successfully create a believable masquerade. Modern ninja training is somewhat contentious with little records and in-depth knowledge of the techniques used during the golden age of the ninja.
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