What is Ninja?

No Ninja calls oneself, “I am a ninja.”  Therefore, there are many mysterious parts in their real images and histories.However, if you unravel the battles that have been passed down to these days, there were almost always the existence and activities of Ninja. Many of the great battles in Japanese history were where the outnumbered forces brilliantly defeated large armies. The significance of Ninja lies in the way of fighting to gain a victory while catching the enemy off their guard and minimizing the damage to their allies.

Masayuki Sanada is one of the great warlords who was good at using Ninja as a vital force. In “The First Battle in Ueda” in 1585, he repelled the Tokugawa Army of nearly 8,000 by only 2,000 troops. In order to be successful in the surprise attack, gathering detailed information is indispensable.   Minamoto-no-Yoshitsune led 70 soldiers in “The Battle of Ichi-no-Tani” in 1184, ran down the steep cliff of Uetsu, and made a raid on Taira’s army. To succeed this tactic, Ninja’s great efforts were essential. In fact, Minamoto-no-Yoshitsune is the very oldest military commander in Japanese literature who made full use of Ninja.

In the Edo period, while the Bushido spirit was systematized as philosophy, the existence of Ninja seemed to have gradually faded. However, Ninja is like the shadows of Samurai. You can say that the peaceful Edo was also supported by Ninja. Skillfully manipulating intelligence and winning without fighting was also Ninja’s task. It is widely known that Edo Shogunate gave Ninja a responsible position such as “Kogi Oniwaban .”