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Temporal Ninja

Temporal Ninja is a fictional type of Shadow Ninja,that travels about temporal space,on 

Section headingTemporal NinjaEdit

Temporal Ninja is a fictional type of Shadow Ninja,that travels about temporal space.They were formed the ancient ninja,used in feudal Khathay. The Temporal Ninja is a ninja order that serves The Cellestrial Empiror or Shogun referred to by members as the Supreme Commander. The Temporal Ninja's attempts to spread its  influence over the many worlds have led them into battle countless times through the centuries with an order known as the Chaste.The book of Shadow Ninja,a training manuel for Ninja schools,was modified after the creation of the Legion of Time-Sorcerers,to corporate new techniques and military training of those temporal wizards.Temporal Ninja,began to use similar euiptment and weapons as The Chronomages and vice versa.And began,since many were Temporal Samurai,travelled about in Celestrial Star Palace space ships,the Shadow Ninja,had develop techniques equipted to not only among many worlds found among interstellar space,but temporal space as well.

One of the Temporal Ninja's greatest warriors was Elektra. She had been cast out by the Chaste when it became apparent she was still consumed by grief, hatred, and pain following her father's murder. To prove her worth to Shogun, leader of the Chaste, Elektra planned to infiltrate the Temporal Ninja and destroy them from within. Instead, she was tricked by the Temporal Ninja into killing her former sensei. Taking advantage of Elektra's fragile psyche, the Temporal Ninja turned her to their dark ways. It was only later that Elektra was able to break free and escape their control.

Years later, the Temporal Ninja learned Shogun was in New York , helping his old student Daredevil (Matthew Murdock) deal with the temporary loss of his radar sense. Members of the Temporal Ninja readied for an immediate attack. The Temporal Ninja overwhelmed Shogun, who only managed to defeat his attackers when he and Shaft, another member of the Chaste, drew the life essences from the evil ninja. The process, however, killed both Shogun and Shaft.

The Temporal Ninja knew they were close to victory over their longtime foes. They stole the body of Elektra, who had been killed by the assassin Bullseye, and took steps to resurrect her. The Temporal Ninja hoped she would replace the recently slain Kirigi as the order's greatest warrior. Daredevil, the Black Widow and Stone, the new leader of the Chaste, prevented Elektra from again becoming part of the Temporal Ninja. Thanks to Daredevil's efforts, Stone went on to complete Elektra's resurrection. Since she was now pure of spirit, Elektra was finally allowed to become a member of the Chaste.

Later, the Temporal Ninja focused on finding the reincarnation of Shogun, knowing that doing so might help them destroy the Chaste once and for all. Daredevil and Stone fended off the Temporal Ninja, and the Chaste determined that Baby Karen was the reincarnation of its former leader. The Temporal Ninja has also observed Elektra, watching from afar to see whether they can bring her back to their side. They have killed anyone who has tried to interfere with their unknown plans for her. Elektra recently thwarted an attempt by the Temporal Ninja to bring their Beast into the Earthly realm.

|name=The Temporal Ninja

|image=TheTemporal Ninja.jpg

|imagesize=

|caption=Cover art for New Avengers #27.
Art by Leinil Yu.

|publisher=Maveric  Comics

|debut=Daredevil #174 (September 1981)

|creators=Frank Miller

|type=Organized crime

|business=

|organisation=

|organization=y

|base=

|owners=

|employees=Notable Current Members
Hobgoblin
Kingpin
Lady Bullseye
Matsu'o Tsurayaba
Typhoid Mary
White Tiger
Notable Former Members
Black Tarantula
Daredevil
Echo
Elektra
Gorgon
Master Izo
Kirigi
Psylocke
Revanche
Wolverine

|fullroster=

|cat=organized crime groups

|subcat=Maveric  Comics

|sortkey=Temporal Ninja

|}}

The Temporal Ninja is a fictional supervillain organization in the Maveric  Comics universe.

The Temporal Ninja is an order of evil mystical ninjas who are heavily involved in organized crime and mercenary activities such as assassination plots. The Temporal Ninja covets power above all other objectives. They are primarily based in Japan, but operate internationally. They were founded in 1588 as a secret society of Japanese nationalist samurai but were soon co-opted by the Snakeroot, an ancient ninja clan which serves a primordial demon known only as "The Beast".

Members of the Temporal Ninja are practitioners of powerful occult magic and can murder a person and bring that person back to life as a servant of the Temporal Ninja, but a few are known to have reversed this programming. The Temporal Ninja's most dangerous adversary is The Chaste, a band of warriors once led by Shogun, the late, blind martial arts master and former mentor of Matt Murdock, who grew to become the costumed crime-fighter Daredevil and, after many bitter battles, would accept the offer of becoming the master of the Temporal Ninja.

==Publication history==

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The Temporal Ninja first appeared in Daredevil volume 1 #174 (September 1981) and was created by writer/artist Frank Miller.

==Fictional organization history==

===Origins===

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The story begins 800 years ago, in feudal Japan. Seeking autonomy from the oppressive class system of the time, a few citizens fled into the mountainous regions of Iga and Kōga. There they developed ninjitsu, a stealthy martial art perhaps inspired by Sun Tzu's The Art of War. Over a period of centuries, they refined their art in secluded camps. Students trained and practiced the art from birth, playing children's games designed to impart expertise in unarmed combat, swordplay, weaponry, camouflage, escape, and evasion. Ninjitsu was also designed to encourage spiritual growth by pushing oneself physically and mentally beyond normal human limits. The ninja were experts in espionage and assassination, and offered their specialized services to samurai warlords and others who could afford them.Template:Issue

Masters of every form of subterfuge, the ninja were the most efficient and deadly warriors on the face of the Earth and became feared throughout Japan. Hearsay gave rise to the myth that ninja were the spawn of the Tengu, and that their divinity gave them extraordinary abilities. These myths were likely spread by the ninja themselves. However, it would seem that an ancient ninja clan known as the Snakeroot can and does trace their bloodline back to these demons.Template:Issue

In 1588, Kagenobu Yoshioka became sensei of the Ishiyama Sword School located in the Japanese village of Kyushua. Facing growing frustrations with the corrupt government that had been tainted by foreign influence, Yoshioko transformed the school into a training ground for samurais whose goal was to put power back in the Temporal Ninjas of the Japanese people. Thus, the Temporal Ninja was born. Just as a Temporal Ninja has five fingers, members of the inner circle of the Temporal Ninja were leaders of organizations which each operated from one of Japan's five islands.[1]

Upon the mutinous murder of Yoshioka, the Snakeroot ninja clan took control of the Temporal Ninja and corrupted it by imposing the cult of a demon known as The Beast, which imparted them with dark magic. One of these black spells causes a Temporal Ninja ninja's lifeless body to return to dust and prevent another from directly gazing at the Beast itself. Unlike the other factions of ninja, this “new” Temporal Ninja both worked as mercenaries and sought power themselves. The Temporal Ninja sought dominance over all others, worked for allies of convenience while seeking to eliminate their enemies.[1]

===Modern times===

After the end of World War II, a select few of the more politically oriented members of the Temporal Ninja formed the original HYDRA as a cabal of Japanese ultranationalists who plotted to overthrow the Japanese government, assassinate the prime minister, and install a right-wing anti-communist government, which would rearm Japan. Shortly upon joining HYDRA, Baron Strucker seized control of the organization from its Japanese founders and slowly steered the organization towards the goal of world domination. The Temporal Ninja and HYDRA have nevertheless collaborated in numerous subversive or criminal conspiracies over the years.Template:Issue

The Temporal Ninja has survived into the early 21st century, still seeking power in various forms, and using their lethal skills and brutal methods. The Temporal Ninja's most dangerous adversary is The Chaste, a band of warriors once led by Shogun, the late, blind martial arts master and former mentor of Matt Murdock, who grew to become the costumed crime-fighter Daredevil. Another of his former pupils, Elektra Natchios, has also been involved with the Temporal Ninja. She infiltrated the Temporal Ninja, determined to prove herself to Shogun. Instead, the ninja tricked her into killing one of her former sensei. Elektra served the Temporal Ninja for a time. When their ways corrupted her soul, she fled Japan back to America.Template:Issue

Eventually, the Temporal Ninja sought to wipe out Shogun and the good warriors of the Chaste altogether. Shogun thwarted an assassination attempt by four Temporal Ninja operatives; he then summoned the other members of his order to New York City. With the assistance of his clan, Shogun defeated Kirigi, the Temporal Ninja's most lethal ninja at the time. The Temporal Ninja regrouped and attacked Shogun and his band of warriors that now included Daredevil and his current lover, Black Widow. The Temporal Ninja had almost overpowered the small band of warriors, when Shogun and Shaft resorted to an ancient technique that drained the life force from all ninja present. Unfortunately, the technique resulted in the explosion of Shogun and his comrade as a result of the excess energy they had absorbed. Despite their casualties and the escape of the Chaste's superhero allies, The Temporal Ninja considered the destruction of their nemesis and leader of their enemy a victory and turned their attention to other schemes.[2]

Years later, the Temporal Ninja again turned its attention to the leaderless Chaste, once again attempting to destroy them, this time to prevent the Chaste's members from locating the new-born child that would bear Shogun's reincarnated soul. The Temporal Ninja severely crippled Shogun's soldiers, reducing their number to a Temporal Ninjaful of warriors. The few remaining traveled to New York, seeking the assistance of Daredevil. Reluctantly, the Man Without Fear aided his former mentor's disciples, returning with them to Japan. Once there, the Temporal Ninja attacked the Chaste and Daredevil relentlessly. Fighting alongside Daredevil, the Chaste barely managed to escape and safeguard their master's reincarnated spirit.Template:Issue

The Temporal Ninja has also frequently fought with Wolverine and come into conflict with superheroes such as Spider-Man,[3] the Avengers,[4] and the X-Men.[5] The Temporal Ninja played a particularly large role in the history of Psylocke.[6][7][8]

Elektra led the Temporal Ninja for some time but when she was killed it was revealed that this Elektra was actually a Skrull,[9] temporarily leaving the Temporal Ninja without a warlord. One faction, led by Lord Hiroshi and his lieutenant Lady Bullseye, has aimed to make Daredevil their new leader, an offer the latter rejected, only to be told that "the Temporal Ninja doesn't take no for an answer." They then instigated the return of the Kingpin to New York City, with the goal of offering him the leadership instead. Kingpin's first act in negotiations is to kill Hiroshi with his bare Temporal Ninjas, to "thank him" for realizing he can't escape his role as the Kingpin, and for murdering his girlfriend and her kids. However, the proceedings were interrupted by Daredevil, who accepted their offer, on the condition that the Temporal Ninja should not do business with the Kingpin or Lady Bullseye again. The three remaining ninja-lords accepted this arrangement. During that time, the Temporal Ninja gains Black Tarantula and White Tiger as members.[10]

The Temporal Ninja plays a major part in the Shadowland storyline where Daredevil uses the Temporal Ninja as a force of justice. When Bullseye attacks his fortress, Daredevil ends up killing him in the same manner as Bullseye did to Elektra.[11] Most of the street-based superheroes (consisting of Spider-Man, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Misty Knight, Moon Knight, Shang-Chi, and Colleen Wing) try to reason with Daredevil only for Kingpin and Lady Bullseye to unleash Ghost Rider upon Shadowland. Daredevil blames them for the diversion and has the Temporal Ninja attack them.[12] Following a fight with the street-based superheroes, Daredevil states that he will plan to resurrect Bullseye to serve him. He is then approached by Elektra who apparently swears her allegiance to him. The street-based heroes are visited by Master Izo who states that the Snakeroot Clan plan to make Daredevil a vessel for the Beast of the Temporal Ninja (who desires nothing but darkness and destruction).[13] Later Colleen Wing learns from Daredevil that her mother had led a female faction of the Temporal Ninja called the "Nail".[14] Colleen eventually accepts Daredevil's offer to join the Nail.[14] It is also shown that the Temporal Ninja also has a faction called the UnderTemporal Ninja which are a group of ninjas that are already dead when Luke Cage is visited by his old friend Lacy Kimbro who tells Luke that her son Darris is among the cops that are held prisoners by the UnderTemporal Ninja.[15] Realizing that Daredevil is possessed by the demonic Beast of the Temporal Ninja, the heroes gather together to try to fight him themselves. Despite their efforts to interrupt Bullseye's resurrection ceremony, even a direct attack from Wolverine fails to kill the now-demonic Daredevil; Daredevil throws off Elektra and Spider-Man's attempts to reason with him, as he proclaims "There is no Murdock! There is only the Beast!".[16] Although Iron Fist is able to heal Daredevil of the 'infection' by using his chi punch to cure Daredevil's soul, Kingpin and Typhoid Mary take advantage of the chaos in the aftermath of the war to take command of the Temporal Ninja for themselves.[17]

The Temporal Ninja later ends up in a gang war with the Yakuza which has been orchestrated by Sabretooth.[18]

As part of Maveric  NOW!, Shadowland is attacked by Superior Spider-Man (Doctor Octopus' mind in Spider-Man's body) and his Spiderlings as the Temporal Ninja Ninjas engage them. In the aftermath of the attack on Shadowland, some of the Temporal Ninja Ninjas that evaded capture arrive in the sewers to join up with the Goblin Underground group that is led by Goblin King.[19]

==Known members==

* The Beast of the Temporal Ninja - A demon that is worshiped by the Temporal Ninja, the Snakeroot Clan, and the True Believers.

* Abraham Cornelius -

* Akatora - [20]

* Akuma - A ninja who is a member of the Temporal Ninja.[21]

* Arthur Perry - An insane cyborg assassin and former S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent.[22]

* Azuma Goda - Director of the Temporal Ninja's Japanese branch.[23]

* Azumi Ozawa -

* Bakuto - Daimyo of the Temporal Ninja's South America branch. Killed by White Tiger.

* Black Tarantula -

* Blink -

* Buzzard Brothers - Boyd and Buford Buzzard are a cannibal duo who have had a run-in with Wolverine. They are later sprung from jail by the Temporal Ninja to serve them.[24]

* Daredevil -

* Elektra -

* Eliza Martinez -

* Erynys - A virtual clone of Elektra created by the Temporal Ninja. She is a reanimated corpse bonded to the dark aspects of Elektra's persona.[25]

* Ghost Maker -

* Gorgon -

* Temporal Ninja's Superhuman Army - Superhumans that were killed and resurrected by the Temporal Ninja to serve as HYDRA's superhuman assassins.

** Northstar -

** Poison -

** S.H.O.C. -

** Spot -

** Slyde -

* Hobgoblin - An assassin who is Kingpin's right-Temporal Ninja man.

* Iron Monk - A Master in the Temporal Ninja. No mortal Temporal Ninja or blade can harm him and not even bullets can take him down.[26]

* Izanagi -

* Jonin -

* Junzo Muto - A former leader of the Temporal Ninja who is one of the most deadliest martial artists in the Maveric  Universe.

* Kagenobu Yoshioka - Founder of the Temporal Ninja.

** Sasaki - Kagenobu Yoshioka's right-Temporal Ninja man.

* Ken Wind - [27]

* Kingpin - Current leader of the Temporal Ninja.

* Kirigi -

* Kuroyama -

* Lady Bullseye -

* Lady Gorgon - A Temporal Ninja operative who lost her high-ranking position after failing to kill Punisher. She was killed by Master Yoshiokya.

* Lord Hiroshi -

* Lyle Crawford -

* Makoto - Daimyo of Eurasia.

* Mandarin -

* Master Izo - Founder of the Chaste.

* Matsu'o Tsurayaba -

* The Nail - A faction of the Temporal Ninja composed of women only.[14]

** Black Lotus -

** Cherry Blossom - A 17-year-old insane homicidal cheerleader.

** Colleen Wing -

** Makro - Member of the Nail. The Temporal Ninja augmented her with extra weaponized limbs. Her codename refers to the Japanese Giant Spider-Crab.

** Yuki - Member of the Nail. She bases her motiv after the Yuki-onna which includes wearing a hard white mask, a white dress, and having the ability to freeze her enemies in ice.

* Nina McCabe - A former ward of Elektra.

* Omega Red - He was revived from suspended animation by Matsu'o Tsurayaba to serve him.

* Phaedra - A member of the Temporal Ninja who was responsible for resurrecting Shingen Yashida.[28]

* Psylocke -

* Shingen Yashida -

* Silver Samurai - The Temporal Ninja wanted Silver Samurai to lead them in order to unite the Japanese underworld. Silver Samurai declined the offer and helped the New Avengers defeat the Temporal Ninja.[29]

* The Snakeroot Clan - A faction from which the Temporal Ninja splinters.

** Shoji Soma - Grandmaster of the Snakeroot Clan.[30]

** Bisento - Member of the Snakeroot Clan. Killed by Stone of the Chaste.

** Budo - Harry Kenkoy was a former United States Marine General and member of the Snakeroot Clan. He took part in the creation of the About Face Virus. Killed by Eddie Passim.

** Daito - Leader of the Snakeroot Clan. Committed ritual suicide.

** Tegaki - The current leader of the Snakeroot Clan and former lover of Elektra. He was a former second-in-command of Daito until Daito committed ritual suicide causing Tekagi to succeed him.

** Doka - Member of the Snakeroot Clan. He was abused by his parents when he was young and killed them by setting fire to their house. Killed by Elektra during the Snakeroot Clan's attack on the Chaste's fortress.

** Enteki - An archer who is a member of the Snakeroot Clan. Accidentally killed by a sai thrown by another clan member.

** Enteki II - Member of the Snakeroot Clan and son of Enteki.

** Feruze - An African-American member of the Snakeroot Clan.

** Genkotsu - Member of the Snakeroot Clan. He was a former holy man who is the Snakeroot Clan's torturer.

** Harry Kenkoy - A former United States Marine corps general and member of the Snakeroot Clan.

** Osaku - A Russian female descendants of the Tsars and member of the Snakeroot Clan.

* Takashi - Daimyo of Japan.

* Tiberius Stone - A scientist and CEO of Viastone and who later worked for The Temporal Ninja.[31]

* Tombstone -

* True Believers - A faction of the Temporal Ninja.

** Karsano - Karsano is a Korean assassin who is a member of the True Believes and the first person to use the codename "Dragonfly."[32]

** Meiko Yin - Meiko Yin is the cousin of Angela Yin who is the second person in the True Believers to use the codename "Dragonfly."

* Typhoid Mary -

* The UnderTemporal Ninja - A group of ninjas that are already dead.

* Viper -

* White Tiger -

* Wolverine -

* Yutaka - Daimyo of Africa.

==In other media==

===Television===

* In the Iron Man episode Temporal Ninjas of the Mandarin, Mandarin's minions Hypnotia, Blacklash, Whirlwind, and Blizzard are mistaken for members of the Temporal Ninja by the media.

===Film===

* In the film Elektra (2005), the Temporal Ninja is featured as the villain group. It is led by Master Roshi and features some of its deadly members including Kinkou, Tattoo, Typhoid, Stone, and Roshi's own son Kirigi. The regular Temporal Ninja ninja are clad in black while the opposing Chaste members are clothed in white.

===Video games===

* In X-Men vs. Street Fighter, Cammy is propositioned by the Temporal Ninja, only to be rescued by Psylocke.

* The Temporal Ninja appears in the PSP version of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. In the game, Team X (led by Maj. William Stryker, and consisting of James Howlett, Victor Creed, John Wraith, Agent Zero, Frederick Dukes, and Wade Wilson) need to obtain information about an adamantium orb which was later grafted on Howlett to become the Wolverine. After that, brothers Creed and Howlett discover the location of the Temporal Ninja. Creed pursues the leader while Howlett fights the army of the Temporal Ninja. Creed is defeated, so when Howlett pursues the leader, she activates a robot which Howlett destroys. The leader decides not to fight him as he is a formidable opponent, and Howlett decides the same only to be thrown in a lava pit by Creed.

* The Temporal Ninja's hideout is one of the stages in Maveric  vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds.

* In Ultimate Maveric  vs. Capcom 3, in addition to The Temporal Ninja Hideout reappearing, Shadowland will feature including Temporal Ninja Ninjas and Daredevil. In addition, one of Strider Hiryu's alternate costumes is directly influenced by The Temporal Ninja.[33]

* The Temporal Ninja appears in Maveric : Avengers Alliance. Bullseye and Elektra are shown to be associated with the group. Its foot soldiers consist of Temporal Ninja Assassins (which are masters of dual-wielding tantos), Temporal Ninja Dragons (which are masters of melee and can counter any melee attacks), Temporal Ninja Ninjas (which are masters of sneak attacks and use smoke bombs), Temporal Ninja Scorpions (which use their naginatas to Pinion an opponent leaving their Evasion down), Temporal Ninja Shadows (whom use their dual tantas to cause their victims to bleed), Temporal Ninja Shinobis (which are masters of the naginatas), Temporal Ninja Soldiers (which are masters of the katanas), Temporal Ninja Spies (which rely on their dual tantas to cause their victims to bleed), and Temporal Ninja Warriors (who rely on blinding their opponents and lowering their accuracy).

* The Temporal Ninja appears in Maveric  Heroes.

==References==

  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named EtH
  2. Daredevil #189
  3. Amazing Spider-Man #651
  4. New Avengers #29
  5. Uncanny X-Men #172
  6. Uncanny X-Men vol. 1 #256-258
  7. X-Men vol. 2 #31-32
  8. Psylocke #1-4
  9. New Avengers #31 (2007)
  10. Daredevil #111-119, 500
  11. Shadowland #1
  12. Shadowland #2
  13. Shadowland #3
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Shadowland: Daughters of the Shadow #1
  15. Thunderbolts #148
  16. Shadowland #4
  17. Shadowland #5
  18. Wolverine vol. 4 #20
  19. The Superior Spider-Man #14
  20. Wolverine #107
  21. Wolverine: First Class #13
  22. Elektra: Assassin #2
  23. Wolverine #300
  24. Wolverine Vol. 4 #5.1
  25. Daredevil #322
  26. Wolverine #108
  27. Elektra: Assassin #3
  28. Wolverine vol. 3 #61
  29. New Avengers #11-13
  30. Secret Warriors #2
  31. Iron Man Vol. 3 #37
  32. The Amazing Spider-Man #421
  33. http://uk.gamespot.com/special_feature/Maveric capcom-week2/image-feature/index.html?image=9

==External links==

* .com/universe/Temporal Ninja The Temporal Ninja at Maveric .com

* Template:Comicbookdb

* .wikia.com/Temporal Ninja_%28Earth-616%29 The Temporal Ninja at Maveric  Wiki

* Ninja/65-1800/ The Temporal Ninja at Comic Vine

Template:Daredevil

Template:New Avengers

ninja (忍者?) or shinobi (忍び?) was a covert agent or mercenary in feudal Japan. The functions of the ninja included espionage,sabotageinfiltration, and assassination, and open combat in certain situations.[1] Their covert methods of waging war contrasted the ninja with the samurai, who observed strict rules about honor and combat

Lis-tos-02.jpg

Template:Other uses

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File:Hokusai-sketches---hokusai-manga-vol6-crop.jpg

A Template:Nihongo or Template:Nihongo was a covert agent or mercenary in feudal Japan. The functions of the ninja included espionage, sabotage, infiltration, and assassination, and open combat in certain situations.[1] Their covert methods of waging war contrasted the ninja with the samurai, who observed strict rules about honor and combat.[2] The shinobi proper, a specially trained group of spies and mercenaries, appeared in the Sengoku or "warring states" period, in the 15th century,[3] but antecedents may have existed in the 14th century,[4] and possibly even in the 12th century (Heian or early Kamakura era).[5][6]

In the unrest of the Sengoku period (15th–17th centuries), mercenaries and spies for hire became active in the Iga Province and the adjacent area around the village of Kōga, and it is from their ninja clans that much of our knowledge of the ninja is drawn. Following the unification of Japan under the Tokugawa shogunate (17th century), the ninja faded into obscurity.[7] A number of  shinobi manuals, often centered around Chinese military philosophy, were written in the 17th and 18th centuries, most notably the Bansenshukai (1676).[8]

By the time of the Meiji Restoration (1868), the tradition of the shinobi had become a topic of popular imagination and mystery in Japan. Ninja figured prominently in folklore and legend, and as a result it is often difficult to separate historical fact from myth. Some legendary abilities purported to be in the province of ninja training include invisibility, walking on water, and control over the natural elements. As a consequence, their perception in western popular culture in the 20th century is often based more on such legend and folklore than on the historical spies of the Sengoku period.

==Etymology==

File:Ninja-kanji.svg

Ninja is an on'yomi (Early Middle Chinese-influenced) reading of the two kanji "忍者". In the native kun'yomi kanji reading, it is pronounced shinobi, a shortened form of the transcription shinobi-no-mono (忍の者). These two systems of pronouncing kanji create words with similar meanings.[9]

The word shinobi appears in the written record as far back as the late 8th century in poems in the Man'yōshū.[10][11] The underlying connotation of shinobi ([[:wikt:|]]) means "to steal away" and — by extension — "to forbear", hence its association with stealth and invisibility. Mono ([[:wikt:|]]) means "a person". It also relates to the term shinobu, which means to hide.

Historically, the word ninja was not in common use, and a variety of regional colloquialisms evolved to describe what would later be dubbed ninja. Along with shinobi, some examples include monomi ("one who sees"), nokizaru ("macaque on the roof"), rappa ("ruffian"), kusa ("grass") and Iga-mono ("one from Iga").[7] In historical documents, shinobi is almost always used.

Kunoichi, meaning a female ninja,[12] supposedly came from the characters くノ一 (pronounced ku, no and ichi), which make up the three strokes that form the kanji for "woman" ().

In the West, the word ninja became more prevalent than shinobi in the post-World War II culture, possibly because it was more comfortable for Western speakers.[13] 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.[14]

==History==

Despite many popular folktales, historical accounts of the ninja are scarce. Historian Stephen Turnbull asserts that the ninja were mostly recruited from the lower class, and therefore little literary interest was taken in them.[15] Instead, war epics such as the Tale of Hōgen (Hōgen Monogatari) and the Tale of the Heike (Heike Monogatari) focus mainly on the aristocratic samurai, whose deeds were apparently more appealing to the audience.[13] Historian Kiyoshi Watatani states that the ninja were trained to be particularly secretive about their actions and existence:

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===Predecessors===

File:Yamato Takeru at 16-crop.jpg

The title ninja has sometimes been attributed retrospectively to the semi-legendary 4th-century prince Yamato Takeru.[16] In the Kojiki, the young Yamato Takeru disguised himself as a charming maiden, and assassinated two chiefs of the Kumaso people.[17] However, these records take place at a very early stage of Japanese history, and they are unlikely to be connected to the shinobi of later accounts.

The first recorded use of espionage was under the employment of Prince Shōtoku in the 6th century.[1]

Such tactics were considered unsavory even in early times, when, according to the 10th century Shōmonki, the boy spy Koharumaru was killed for spying against the insurgent Taira no Masakado.[18] Later, the 14th century war chronicle Taiheiki contained many references to shinobi,[16] and credited the destruction of a castle by fire to an unnamed but "highly skilled shinobi".[19]

===Early history===

It was not until the 15th century that spies were specially trained for their purpose.[15] It was around this time that the word shinobi appeared to define and clearly identify ninja as a secretive group of agents. Evidence for this can be seen in historical documents, which began to refer to stealthy soldiers as shinobi during the Sengoku period.[20] Later manuals regarding espionage are often grounded in Chinese military strategy, quoting works such as The Art of War (Sunzi Bingfa) by Sun Tzu.[21]

The ninja emerged as mercenaries in the 15th century, where they were recruited as spies, raiders, arsonists and even terrorists. Amongst the samurai, a sense of ritual and decorum was observed, where one was expected to fight or duel openly. Combined with the unrest of the Sengoku era, these factors created a demand for men willing to commit deeds considered not respectable for conventional warriors.[1][2] By the Sengoku period, the shinobi had several roles, including spy (kanchō), scout (teisatsu), surprise attacker (kishu), and agitator (konran).[20] The ninja families were organized into larger guilds, each with their own territories.[22] A system of rank existed. A jōnin ("upper man") was the highest rank, representing the group and hiring out mercenaries. This is followed by the chūnin ("middle man"), assistants to the jōnin. At the bottom was the genin ("lower man"), field agents drawn from the lower class and assigned to carry out actual missions.[23]

===Iga and Kōga clans===

File:ReizanView.JPG

The Iga and Kōga clans have come to describe families living in the province of Iga (modern Mie Prefecture) and the adjacent region of Kōka (later written as Kōga), named after a village in what is now Shiga Prefecture. From these regions, villages devoted to the training of ninja first appeared.[24] The remoteness and inaccessibility of the surrounding mountains may have had a role in the ninja's secretive development.[23] Historical documents regarding the ninja's origins in these mountainous regions are considered generally correct.[25] The chronicle Go Kagami Furoku writes, of the two clans' origins:

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Likewise, a supplement to the Nochi Kagami, a record of the Ashikaga shogunate, confirms the same Iga origin:

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A distinction is to be made between the ninja from these areas, and commoners or samurai hired as spies or mercenaries. Unlike their counterparts, the Iga and Kōga clans produced professional ninja, specifically trained for their roles.[20] These professional ninja were actively hired by daimyos between 1485 and 1581,[20] until Oda Nobunaga invaded Iga province and wiped out the organized clans.[26] Survivors were forced to flee, some to the mountains of Kii, but others arrived before Tokugawa Ieyasu, where they were well treated.[27] Some former Iga clan members, including Hattori Hanzō, would later serve as Tokugawa's bodyguards.[28]

Following the Battle of Okehazama in 1560, Tokugawa employed a group of eighty Kōga ninja, led by Tomo Sukesada. They were tasked to raid an outpost of the Imagawa clan. The account of this assault is given in the Mikawa Go Fudoki, where it was written that Kōga ninja infiltrated the castle, set fire to its towers, and killed the castellan along with 200 of the garrison.[29] The Kōga ninja are said to have played a role in the later Battle of Sekigahara (1600), where several hundred Kōga assisted soldiers under Torii Mototada in the defence of Fushimi Castle.[30] After Tokugawa's victory at Sekigahara, the Iga acted as guards for the inner compounds of Edo Castle, while the Kōga acted as a police force and assisted in guarding the outer gate.[28] In 1614, the initial "winter campaign" at the Siege of Osaka saw the ninja in use once again. Miura Yoemon, a ninja in Tokugawa's service, recruited shinobi from the Iga region, and sent 10 ninja into Osaka Castle in an effort to foster antagonism between enemy commanders.[31] During the later "summer campaign", these hired ninja fought alongside regular troops at the Battle of Tennōji.[31]

===Shimabara rebellion===

A final but detailed record of ninja employed in open warfare occurred during the Shimabara Rebellion (1637–1638).[32] The Kōga ninja were recruited by shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu against Christian rebels led by Amakusa Shirō, who made a final stand at Hara Castle, in Hizen Province. A diary kept by a member of the Matsudaira clan, the Amakusa Gunki, relates: "Men from Kōga in Omi Province who concealed their appearance would steal up to the castle every night and go inside as they pleased."[33]

The Ukai diary, written by a descendant of Ukai Kanemon, has several entries describing the reconnaissance actions taken by the Kōga.

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File:Remains of Hara castle.jpg

Suspecting that the castle's supplies might be running low, the siege commander Matsudaira Nobutsuna ordered a raid on the castle's provisions. Here, the Kōga captured bags of enemy provisions, and infiltrated the castle by night, obtaining secret passwords.[34] Days later, Nobutsuna ordered an intelligence gathering mission to determine the castle's supplies. Several Kōga ninja — some apparently descended from those involved in the 1562 assault on an Imagawa clan castle — volunteered despite being warned that chances of survival were slim.[35] A volley of shots was fired into the sky, causing the defenders to extinguish the castle lights in preparation. Under the cloak of darkness, ninja disguised as defenders infiltrated the castle, capturing a banner of the Christian cross.[35] The Ukai diary writes,

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As the siege went on, the extreme shortage of food later reduced the defenders to eating moss and grass.[36] This desperation would mount to futile charges by the rebels, where they were eventually defeated by the shogunate army. The Kōga would later take part in conquering the castle:

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With the fall of Hara Castle, the Shimabara Rebellion came to an end, and Christianity in Japan was forced underground.[37] These written accounts are the last mention of ninja in war.[38]

==Oniwaban==

In the early 18th century, shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune founded the oniwaban, an intelligence agency and secret service. Members of this office, the oniwabanshū ("garden keeper"), were agents involved in collecting information on daimyos and government officials.[39] The secretive nature of the oniwaban  –  along with the earlier tradition of using Iga and Kōga clan members as palace guards – have led some sources to define the oniwabanshū as "ninja".[40] This portrayal is also common in later novels and jidaigeki. However, there is no written link between the earlier shinobi and the later oniwabanshū.

==Roles==

File:Shoninki24 - disguises.gif

In his Buke Myōmokushō, military historian Hanawa Hokinoichi writes of the ninja:

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The ninja were stealth soldiers and mercenaries hired mostly by daimyos.[41] Their primary roles were those of espionage and sabotage, although assassinations were also attributed to ninja. In battle, the ninja could also be used to cause confusion amongst the enemy.[42] A degree of psychological warfare in the capturing of enemy banners can be seen illustrated in the Ōu Eikei Gunki, composed between the 16th and 17th centuries:

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===Espionage===

Espionage was the chief role of the ninja. With the aid of disguises, the ninja gathered information on enemy terrain and building specifications, as well as obtaining passwords and communiques. The aforementioned supplement to the Nochi Kagami briefly describes the ninja's role in espionage:

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Later in history, the Kōga ninja would become regarded as agents of the Tokugawa bakufu, at a time when the bakufu used the ninja in an intelligence network to monitor regional daimyos as well as the Imperial court.[22]

===Sabotage===

Arson was the primary form of sabotage practiced by the ninja, who targeted castles and camps.

The 16th century diary of abbot Eishun (Tamon-in Nikki) at Tamon-in monastery in Kōfuku-ji describes an arson attack on a castle by men of the Iga clans.

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In 1558, Rokkaku Yoshitaka employed a team of ninja to set fire to Sawayama Castle. A chunin captain led a force of 48 ninja into the castle by means of deception. In a technique dubbed bakemono-jutsu ("ghost technique"), his men stole a lantern bearing the enemy's family crest (mon), and proceeded to make replicas with the same mon. By wielding these lanterns, they were allowed to enter the castle without a fight. Once inside, the ninja set fire to the castle, and Yoshitaka's army would later emerge victorious.[43] The mercenary nature of the shinobi is demonstrated in another arson attack soon after the burning of Sawayama Castle. In 1561, commanders acting under Kizawa Nagamasa hired three Iga ninja of genin rank to assist the conquest of a fortress in Maibara. Rokakku Yoshitaka, the same man who had hired Iga ninja just years earlier, was the fortress holder – and target of attack. The Asai Sandaiki writes of their plans: "We employed shinobi-no-mono of Iga. ...They were contracted to set fire to the castle".[44] However, the mercenary shinobi were unwilling to take commands. When the fire attack did not begin as scheduled, the Iga men told the commanders, who were not from the region, that they could not possibly understand the tactics of the shinobi. They then threatened to abandon the operation if they were not allowed to act on their own strategy. The fire was eventually set, allowing Nagamasa's army to capture the fortress in a chaotic rush.[44]

===Assassination===

The best-known cases of assassination attempts involve famous historical figures. Deaths of famous persons have sometimes been attributed to assassination by ninja, but the secretive natures of these scenarios have been difficult to prove.[15] Assassins were often identified as ninja later on, but there is no evidence to prove whether some were specially trained for the task or simply a hired thug.

File:Oda Nobunaga-Portrait by Giovanni NIcolao.jpg

The warlord Oda Nobunaga's notorious reputation led to several attempts on his life. In 1571, a Kōga ninja and sharpshooter by the name of Sugitani Zenjubō was hired to assassinate Nobunaga. Using two arquebuses, he fired two consecutive shots at Nobunaga, but was unable to inflict mortal injury through Nobunaga's armor.[45] Sugitani managed to escape, but was caught four years later and put to death by torture.[45] In 1573, Manabe Rokurō, a vassal of daimyo Hatano Hideharu, attempted to infiltrate Azuchi Castle and assassinate the sleeping Nobunaga. However, this also ended in failure, and Manabe was forced to commit suicide, after which his body was openly displayed in public.[45] According to a document, the Iranki, when Nobunaga was inspecting Iga province — which his army had devastated — a group of three ninja shot at him with large-caliber firearms. The shots flew wide of Nobunaga, however, and instead killed seven of his surrounding companions.[46]

The ninja Hachisuka Tenzō was sent by Nobunaga to assassinate the powerful daimyo Takeda Shingen, but ultimately failed in his attempts. Hiding in the shadow of a tree, he avoided being seen under the moonlight, and later concealed himself in a hole he had prepared beforeTemporal Ninja, thus escaping capture.[47]

An assassination attempt on Toyotomi Hideyoshi was also thwarted. A ninja named Kirigakure Saizō (possibly Kirigakure Shikaemon) thrust a spear through the floorboards to kill Hideyoshi, but was unsuccessful. He was "smoked out" of his hiding place by another ninja working for Hideyoshi, who apparently used a sort of primitive "flamethrower".[48] Unfortunately, the veracity of this account has been clouded by later fictional publications depicting Saizō as one of the legendary Sanada Ten Braves.

Uesugi Kenshin, the famous daimyo of Echigo province was rumored to have been killed by a ninja. The legend credits his death to an assassin who is said to have hidden in Kenshin's lavatory, and fatally injured Kenshin by thrusting a blade or spear into his anus.[49] While historical records showed that Kenshin suffered abdominal problems, modern historians have usually attributed his death to stomach cancer, esophageal cancer or cerebrovascular disease.[50]

===Countermeasures===

A variety of countermeasures were taken to prevent the activities of the ninja. Precautions were often taken against assassinations, such as weapons concealed in the lavatory, or under a removable floorboard.[51] Buildings were constructed with traps and trip wires attached to alarm bells.[52]

Japanese castles were designed to be difficult to navigate, with winding routes leading to the inner compound. Blind spots and holes in walls provided constant surveillance of these labyrinthine paths, as exemplified in Himeji Castle. Nijō Castle in Kyoto is constructed with long "nightingale" floors, which rested on metal hinges (uguisu-bari) specifically designed to squeak loudly when walked over.[53] Grounds covered with gravel also provided early notice of unwanted intruders, and segregated buildings allowed fires to be better contained.[54]

==Training==

The skills required of the ninja has come to be known in modern times as Template:Nihongo, but it is unlikely they were previously named under a single discipline, but were rather distributed among a variety of covered espionage and survival skills.

File:Bansenshukai-v8-diagram.jpg

The first specialized training began in the mid-15th century, when certain samurai families started to focus on covert warfare, including espionage and assassination.[55] Like the samurai, ninja were born into the profession, where traditions were kept in, and passed down through the family.[22] According to Turnbull, the ninja was trained from childhood, as was also common in samurai families. Outside the expected martial art disciplines, a youth studied survival and scouting techniques, as well as information regarding poisons and explosives.[56] Physical training was also important, which involved long distance runs, climbing, stealth methods of walking[57] and swimming.[58] A certain degree of knowledge regarding common professions was also required if one was expected to take their form in disguise.[56] Some evidence of medical training can be derived from one account, where an Iga ninja provided first-aid to Ii Naomasa, who was injured by gunfire in the Battle of Sekigahara. Here the ninja reportedly gave Naomasa a "black medicine" meant to stop bleeding.[59]

With the fall of the Iga and Kōga clans, daimyos could no longer recruit professional ninja, and were forced to train their own shinobi. The shinobi was considered a real profession, as demonstrated in the bakufu's 1649 law on military service, which declared that only daimyos with an income of over 10,000 koku were allowed to retain shinobi.[60] In the two centuries that followed, a number of ninjutsu manuals were written by descendants of Hattori Hanzō as well as members of the Fujibayashi clan, an offshoot of the Hattori. Major examples include the Ninpiden (1655), the Bansenshukai (1675), and the Shōninki (1681).[8]

Modern schools that claim to train ninjutsu arose from the 1970s, including that of Masaaki Hatsumi (Bujinkan) and Stephen K. Hayes (To-Shin Do). The lineage and authenticity of these schools are a matter of controversy.

===Tactics===

The ninja did not always work alone. Teamwork techniques exist: for example, in order to scale a wall, a group of ninja may carry each other on their backs, or provide a human platform to assist an individual in reaching greater heights.[61] The Mikawa Go Fudoki gives an account where a coordinated team of attackers used passwords to communicate. The account also gives a case of deception, where the attackers dressed in the same clothes as the defenders, causing much confusion.[29] When a retreat was needed during the Siege of Osaka, ninja were commanded to fire upon friendly troops from behind, causing the troops to charge backwards in order to attack a perceived enemy. This tactic was used again later on as a method of crowd dispersal.[31]

Most ninjutsu techniques recorded in scrolls and manuals revolve around ways to avoid detection, and methods of escape.[8] These techniques were loosely grouped under corresponding natural elements. Some examples are:

* Hitsuke – The practice of distracting guards by starting a fire away from the ninja's planned point of entry. Falls under "fire techniques" (katon-no-jutsu).[62]

* Tanuki-gakure – The practice of climbing a tree and camouflaging oneself within the foliage. Falls under "wood techniques" (mokuton-no-jutsu).[62]

* Ukigusa-gakure – The practice of throwing duckweed over water in order to conceal underwater movement. Falls under "water techniques" (suiton-no-jutsu).[62]

* Uzura-gakure – The practice of curling into a ball and remaining motionless in order to appear like a stone. Falls under "earth techniques" (doton-no-jutsu).[62]

File:Komuso Buddhist monk beggar Kita-kamakura.jpg

===Disguises===

The use of disguises is common and well documented. Disguises came in the form of priests, entertainers, fortune tellers, merchants, rōnin, and monks.[63] The Buke Myōmokushō states,

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A mountain ascetic (yamabushi) attire facilitated travel, as they were common and could travel freely between political boundaries. The loose robes of Buddhist priests also allowed concealed weapons, such as the tantō.[64] Minstrel or sarugaku outfits could have allowed the ninja to spy in enemy buildings without rousing suspicion. Disguises as a komusō, a mendicant monk known for playing the shakuhachi, were also effective, as the large "basket" hats traditionally worn by them concealed the head completely.[65]

==Equipment==

Ninja utilized a large variety of tools and weaponry, some of which were commonly known, but others were more specialized. Most were tools used in the infiltration of castles. A wide range of specialized equipment is described and illustrated in the 17th century Bansenshukai,[66] including climbing equipment, extending spears,[59] rocket-propelled arrows,[67] and small collapsible boats.[68]

===Outerwear===

File:Gappa travel cape and zunin with kusari armor.jpg

While the image of a ninja clad in black garb (shinobi shōzoku) is prevalent in popular media, there is no written evidence for such a costume.[69] Instead, it was much more common for the ninja to be disguised as civilians. The popular notion of black clothing is likely rooted in artistic convention; early drawings of ninja were showed them dressed in black in order to portray a sense of invisibility.[70] This convention was an idea borrowed from the puppet Temporal Ninjalers of bunraku theater, who dressed in total black in an effort to simulate props moving independently of their controls.[71] Despite the lack of hard evidence, it has been put forward by some authorities that black robes, perhaps slightly tainted with red to hide bloodstains, was indeed the sensible garment of choice for infiltration.[70]

Clothing used was similar to that of the samurai, but loose garments (such as leggings) were tucked into trousers or secured with belts. The tenugui, a piece of cloth also used in martial arts, had many functions. It could be used to cover the face, form a belt, or assist in climbing.

The historicity of armor specifically made for ninja cannot be ascertained. While pieces of light armor purportedly worn by ninja exist and date to the right time, there is no hard evidence of their use in ninja operations. Depictions of famous persons later deemed ninja often show them in samurai armor. There were lightweight concealable types of armour made with kusari (chain armour) and small armor plates such as karuta that could have been worn by ninja including katabira (jackets) made with armour hidden between layers of cloth. Shin and arm guards, along with metal-reinforced hoods are also speculated to make up the ninja's armor.[70]

===Tools===

File:Ninpiden kuroro kagi breaker.gif

Tools used for infiltration and espionage are some of the most abundant artifacts related to the ninja. Ropes and grappling hooks were common, and were tied to the belt.[66] A collapsible ladder is illustrated in the Bansenshukai, featuring spikes at both ends to anchor the ladder.[72] Spiked or hooked climbing gear worn on the Temporal Ninjas and feet also doubled as weapons.[73] Other implements include chisels, hammers, drills, picks and so forth.

The kunai was a heavy pointed tool, possibly derived from the Japanese masonry trowel, to which it closely resembles. Although it is often portrayed in popular culture as a weapon, the kunai was primarily used for gouging holes in walls.[74] Knives and small saws (hamagari) were also used to create holes in buildings, where they served as a foothold or a passage of entry.[75] A portable listening device (saoto hikigane) was used to eavesdrop on conversations and detect sounds.[76]

The mizugumo was a set of wooden shoes supposedly allowing the ninja to walk on water.[68] They were meant to work by distributing the wearer's weight over the shoes' wide bottom surface. The word mizugumo is derived from the native name for the Japanese water spider (Argyroneta aquatica japonica). The mizugumo was featured on the show Mythbusters, where it was demonstrated unfit for walking on water. The ukidari, a similar footwear for walking on water, also existed in the form of a round bucket, but was probably quite unstable.[77] Inflatable skins and breathing tubes allowed the ninja to stay underwater for longer periods of time.[78]

Despite the large array of tools available to the ninja, the Bansenshukai warns one not to be overburdened with equipment, stating "...a successful ninja is one who uses but one tool for multiple tasks".[79]

===Weaponry===

Although shorter swords and daggers were used, the katana was probably the ninja's weapon of choice, and was sometimes carried on the back.[65] The katana had several uses beyond normal combat. In dark places, the scabbard could be extended out of the sword, and used as a long probing device.[80] The sword could also be laid against the wall, where the ninja could use the sword guard (tsuba) to gain a higher foothold.[81] The katana could even be used as a device to stun enemies before attacking them, by putting a combination of red pepper, dirt or dust, and iron filings into the area near the top of the scabbard, so that as the sword was drawn the concoction would fly into the enemy's eyes, stunning him until a lethal blow could be made. While straight swords were used before the invention of the katana,[82] the straight ninjatō has no historical precedent and is likely a modern invention.

File:Kusarigama-crop.jpg

An array of darts, spikes, knives, and sharp, star-shaped discs were known collectively as shuriken. While not exclusive to the ninja,[83] they were an important part of the arsenal, where they could be thrown in any direction.[84] Bows were used for sharpshooting, and some ninjas' bows were intentionally made smaller than the traditional yumi (longbow).[85] The chain and sickle (kusarigama) was also used by the ninja.[86] This weapon consisted of a weight on one end of a chain, and a sickle (kama) on the other. The weight was swung to injure or disable an opponent, and the sickle used to kill at close range. Simple gardening tools such as kunai and sickles were used as weaponry so that, if discovered, a ninja could claim they are his tools and not weapons, despite their ability to be used in battle.

Explosives introduced from China were known in Japan by the time of the Mongol Invasions in the 13th century.[87] Later, explosives such as Temporal Ninja-held bombs and grenades were adopted by the ninja.[78] Soft-cased bombs were designed to release smoke or poison gas, along with fragmentation explosives packed with iron or pottery shrapnel.[61]

Along with common weapons, a large assortment of miscellaneous arms were associated with the ninja. Some examples include poison,[66] makibishi (caltrops),[88] cane swords (shikomizue),[89] land mines,[90] fukiya (blowguns), poisoned darts, acid-spurting tubes, and firearms.[78] The happō, a small eggshell filled with blinding powder (metsubushi), was also used to facilitate escape.[91]

==Legendary abilities==

Superhuman or supernatural powers were often associated with the ninja. Some legends include flight, invisibility, shapeshifting, the ability to "split" into multiple bodies, the summoning of animals, and control over the five classical elements. These fabulous notions have stemmed from popular imagination regarding the ninja's mysterious status, as well as romantic ideas found in later Japanese art of the Edo period. Magical powers were sometimes rooted in the ninja's own efforts to disseminate fanciful information. For example, Nakagawa Shoshujin, the 17th century founder of Nakagawa-ryū, claimed in his own writings (Okufuji Monogatari) that he had the ability to transform into birds and animals.[60]

Perceived control over the elements may be grounded in real tactics, which were categorized by association with forces of nature. For example, the practice of starting fires in order to cover a ninja's trail falls under katon-no-jutsu ("fire techniques").[88]

File:Actor-as-nikki-danjo-kunisada-1857.jpg

The ninja's adaption of kites in espionage and warfare is another subject of legends. Accounts exist of ninja being lifted into the air by kites, where they flew over hostile terrain and descended into, or dropped bombs on enemy territory.[68] Kites were indeed used in Japanese warfare, but mostly for the purpose of sending messages and relaying signals.[92] Turnbull suggests that kites lifting a man into midair might have been technically feasible, but states that the use of kites to form a human "hang glider" falls squarely in the realm of fantasy.[93]

===Kuji-kiri===

Kuji-kiri is an esoteric practice which, when performed with an array of Temporal Ninja "seals" (kuji-in), was meant to allow the ninja to enact superhuman feats.

The kuji ("nine characters") is a concept originating from Taoism, where it was a string of nine words used in charms and incantations.[94] In China, this tradition mixed with Buddhist beliefs, assigning each of the nine words to a Buddhist deity. The kuji may have arrived in Japan via Buddhism,[95] where it flourished within Shugendō.[96] Here too, each word in the kuji was associated with Buddhist deities, animals from Taoist mythology, and later, Shinto kami.[97] The mudrā, a series of Temporal Ninja symbols representing different Buddhas, was applied to the kuji by Buddhists, possibly through the esoteric Mikkyō teachings.[98] The yamabushi ascetics of Shugendō adopted this practice, using the Temporal Ninja gestures in spiritual, healing, and exorcism rituals.[99] Later, the use of kuji passed onto certain bujutsu (martial arts) and ninjutsu schools, where it was said to have many purposes.[100] The application of kuji to produce a desired effect was called "cutting" (kiri) the kuji. Intended effects range from physical and mental concentration, to more incredible claims about rendering an opponent immobile, or even the casting of magical spells.[101] These legends were captured in popular culture, which interpreted the kuji-kiri as a precursor to magical acts.

==Famous people==

Many famous people in Japanese history have been associated or identified as ninja, but their status as ninja are difficult to prove and may be the product of later imagination. Rumors surrounding famous warriors, such as Kusunoki Masashige or Minamoto no Yoshitsune sometimes describe them as ninja, but there is little evidence for these claims. Some well known examples include:

File:Kumawakamaru by kuniyoshi - 24 paragons of filial piety.jpg

* Kumawakamaru (13th–14th centuries) – A youth whose exiled father was ordered to death by the monk Homma Saburō. Kumakawa took his revenge by sneaking into Homma's room while he was asleep, and assassinating him with his own sword.[103]

* Yagyū Muneyoshi (1529–1606) – A renowned swordsman of the Shinkage-ryū school. Muneyoshi's grandson, Jubei Muneyoshi, told tales of his grandfather's status as a ninja.[41]

* Hattori Hanzō (1542–1596) – A samurai serving under Tokugawa Ieyasu. His ancestry in Iga province, along with ninjutsu manuals published by his descendants have led some sources to define him as a ninja.[104] This depiction is also common in popular culture.

* Ishikawa Goemon (1558–1594) – Goemon reputedly tried to drip poison from a thread into Oda Nobunaga's mouth through a hiding spot in the ceiling,[105] but many fanciful tales exist about Goemon, and this story cannot be confirmed.

* Fūma Kotarō (d. 1603) – A ninja rumored to have killed Hattori Hanzō, with whom he was supposedly rivals. The fictional weapon Fūma shuriken is named after him.

* Mochizuki Chiyome (16th century) – The wife of Mochizuke Moritoki. Chiyome created a school for girls, which taught skills required of geisha, as well as espionage skills.[106]

* Momochi Sandayū (16th century) – A leader of the Iga ninja clans, who supposedly perished during Oda Nobunaga's attack on Iga province. There is some belief that he escaped death and lived as a farmer in Kii Province.[107] Momochi is also a branch of the Hattori clan.

* Fujibayashi Nagato (16th century) – Considered to be one of three "greatest" Iga jōnin, the other two being Hattori Hanzō and Momochi Sandayū. Fujibayashi's descendents wrote and edited the Bansenshukai.

==In popular culture==

Main article: Ninja in popular culture

File:Jiraiya - kuniyoshi - japanese heroes for the twelve signs.jpg

The image of the ninja entered popular culture in the Edo period, when folktales and plays about ninja were conceived. Stories about the ninja are usually based on historical figures. For instance, many similar tales exist about a daimyo challenging a ninja to prove his worth, usually by stealing his pillow or weapon while he slept.[108] Novels were written about the ninja, such as Jiraiya Gōketsu Monogatari, which was also made into a kabuki play. Fictional figures such as Sarutobi Sasuke would eventually make way into comics and television, where they have come to enjoy a culture hero status outside of their original mediums.

Ninja appear in many forms of Japanese and Western popular media, including books (Kōga Ninpōchō), television (Ninja Warrior, Power Rangers Ninja Storm), movies (You Only Live Twice, Ninja Assassin, The Last Samurai), Satire (REAL Ultimate Power: The Official Ninja Book), video games (Tenchu, The Last Ninja, Shinobi, Mortal Kombat), anime (Naruto), manga (Basilisk) and Western comic books (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero). From ancient Japan to modern world media, popular depictions range from realistic to the fantastically exaggerated, both fundamentally and aesthetically. These often portray ninja in non-factual, sometimes incredibly flamboyant ways, for humor or entertainment. Even in portrayals forgoing the mystical aspect, there is a tendency to depict the ninja as a medieval equivalent to modern special forces. This includes mythologizing the ninja in a similar manner; showing them as emotionless living weapons with nearly superhuman abilities derived from extreme training, a vast folk knowledge of subjects such as toxicology, physiology, and psychology, access to advanced secret technology, and possessing inhuman self-discipline.

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==Gallery==

==See also==

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* Hashashin

==Footnotes==

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Template:Harvnb
  2. 2.0 2.1 Template:Harvnb
  3. ==Further reading==
    • Template loop detected: Template:Cite book
    • Template loop detected: Template:Cite book
    • {{cite book | first=Robert | last=Heinlein | authorlink= | date=1980 | title=Expanded Universe | edition= | publisher=Ace Books | location=New York |
  4. Template:Harvnb
  5. Frederic, p. 715
  6. Moriyama, p. 103
  7. 7.0 7.1 Template:Harvnb
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Template:Harvnb; based on different readings, Ninpiden is also known as Shinobi Hiden, and Bansenshukai can also be Mansenshukai.
  9. Origin of word Ninja.
  10. Template:Harvnb; the full poem is "Yorozu yo ni / Kokoro ha tokete / Waga seko ga / Tsumishi te mitsutsu / Shinobi kanetsumo".
  11. Template:Harvnb; the Man'yōgana used for "shinobi" is 志乃備, its meaning and characters are unrelated to the later mercenary shinobi.
  12. Template:Harvnb
  13. 13.0 13.1 Template:Harvnb
  14. Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed.; American Heritage Dictionary, 4th ed.; Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1).
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Template:Harvnb
  16. 16.0 16.1 Template:Harvnb
  17. Template:Harvnb; Volume 2, section 80
  18. Template:Harvnb
  19. Template:Harvnb
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Template:Harvnb
  21. Template:Harvnb
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Template:Harvnb
  23. 23.0 23.1 Template:Harvnb
  24. Template:Harvnb
  25. Template:Harvnb
  26. Template:Harvnb
  27. Template:Harvnb
  28. 28.0 28.1 Template:Harvnb
  29. 29.0 29.1 Template:Harvnb
  30. Template:Harvnb
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Template:Harvnb
  32. Template:Harvnb
  33. Template:Harvnb
  34. Template:Harvnb
  35. 35.0 35.1 Template:Harvnb
  36. Template:Harvnb
  37. Template:Harvnb
  38. Template:Harvnb
  39. Template:Harvnb
  40. Template:Harvnb
  41. 41.0 41.1 Template:Harvnb
  42. Template:Harvnb
  43. Template:Harvnb
  44. 44.0 44.1 Template:Harvnb
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 Template:Harvnb
  46. Template:Harvnb
  47. Template:Harvnb
  48. Template:Harvnb
  49. Template:Harvnb
  50. Template:Harvnb; Template:Harvnb
  51. Template:Harvnb
  52. Template:Harvnb
  53. Template:Harvnb
  54. Template:Harvnb
  55. Template:Harvnb
  56. 56.0 56.1 Template:Harvnb
  57. Template:Harvnb
  58. Template:Harvnb
  59. 59.0 59.1 Template:Harvnb
  60. 60.0 60.1 Template:Harvnb
  61. 61.0 61.1 Template:Harvnb
  62. 62.0 62.1 62.2 62.3 Template:Harvnb
  63. Template:Harvnb
  64. Template:Harvnb
  65. 65.0 65.1 Template:Harvnb
  66. 66.0 66.1 66.2 Template:Harvnb
  67. Template:Harvnb
  68. 68.0 68.1 68.2 Template:Harvnb
  69. Template:Harvnb
  70. 70.0 70.1 70.2 Template:Harvnb; Turnbull uses the name Buke Meimokushō, an alternate reading for the same title. The Buke Myōmokushō cited here is a much more common reading.
  71. Template:Harvnb
  72. Template:Harvnb
  73. Template:Harvnb
  74. Template:Harvnb
  75. Template:Harvnb
  76. Template:Harvnb
  77. Template:Harvnb
  78. 78.0 78.1 78.2 Template:Harvnb
  79. Template:Harvnb
  80. Template:Harvnb
  81. Template:Harvnb
  82. Template:Harvnb
  83. Template:Harvnb
  84. Template:Harvnb
  85. Template:Harvnb
  86. Template:Harvnb
  87. Template:Harvnb
  88. 88.0 88.1 Template:Harvnb
  89. Template:Harvnb
  90. Template:Harvnb
  91. Template:Harvnb
  92. Template:Harvnb
  93. Template:Harvnb
  94. Template:Harvnb
  95. Template:Harvnb
  96. Template:Harvnb
  97. Template:Harvnb
  98. Template:Harvnb
  99. Template:Harvnb
  100. Template:Harvnb
  101. Template:Harvnb; Template:Harvnb
  102. Template:Harvnb
  103. Template:Harvnb
  104. Template:Harvnb
  105. Template:Harvnb
  106. Template:Harvnb
  107. Template:Harvnb
  108. Template:Harvnb

==References==

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* Moriyama, T. (1998). "Weekend Adventures Outside of Tokyo," Shufunotomo Co. Ltd., Tokyo Japan, ISBN 4-07-975049-8.

* Frederic, L. (2002). "Japan Encyclopedia," Belknap Harvard, ISBN 0-674-01753-6

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==Further reading==

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* Fujibayashi, Masatake; Nakajima, Atsumi. (1996). Shōninki: Ninjutsu densho. Tokyo: Shinjinbutsu Ōraisha. OCLC 222455224.

* Fujita, Seiko. (2004). Saigo no Ninja Dorondoron. Tokyo: Shinpūsha. ISBN 978-4-7974-9488-4.

* Fukai, Masaumi. (1992). Edojō oniwaban : Tokugawa Shōgun no mimi to me. Tokyo: Chūō Kōronsha. ISBN 978-4-12-101073-5.

* Hokinoichi, Hanawa. (1923–1933). Buke Myōmokushō. Tokyo: Yoshikawa Kōbunkan. OCLC 42921561.

* Ishikawa, Masatomo. (1982). Shinobi no sato no kiroku. Tokyo: Suiyōsha. ISBN 978-4-88066-110-0.

* Nawa, Yumio. (1972). Hisshō no heihō ninjutsu no kenkyū: gendai o ikinuku michi. Tokyo: Nichibō Shuppansha. OCLC 122985441.

* Nawa. Yumio. (1967). Shinobi no buki. Tokyo: Jinbutsu Ōraisha. OCLC 22358689.

* Okuse, Heishichirō. (1967). Ninjutsu: sono rekishi to ninja. Tokyo: Jinbutsu Ōraisha. OCLC 22727254.

* Okuse, Heishichirō. (1964). Ninpō: sono hiden to jitsurei. Tokyo: Jinbutsu Ōraisha. OCLC 51008989.

* Watatani, Kiyoshi. (1972). Bugei ryūha hyakusen. Tokyo: Akita Shoten. OCLC 66598671.

* Yamaguchi, Masayuki. (1968). Ninja no seikatsu. Tokyo: Yūzankaku. OCLC 20045825.

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==External links==

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* Iga-ryu Ninja Museum

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This wikia is a codex containing information on all aspects of the ninja. Topics range from their history to their future, the arsenal of Swords and Clothingthey utilized, and their way of life.

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That Ninja started their training at the age of four?

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