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Re: I am beset by pesky ninjas..

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  • Scott
    Thank you all for your prompt and helpful answers! I probably won t be researching further into this as it s not an area I have a great interest in and I don t
    Message 1 of 13 , Aug 3, 2005
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      Thank you all for your prompt and helpful answers!

      I probably won't be researching further into this as it's not an area I
      have a great interest in and I don't even have access to a decent
      library where I am so the Internet is my primary source of research. As
      you say 99.9% of the information about historical ninjas on the
      Internet is hogwash. I am satisfied to have found even one source of
      halfway accurate information. Now I can do my part to quell the
      spreading of misinformation in my little corner of the world. :)

      It seems asking a martial arts dojo about the history of ninjutsu is
      akin to asking a barber if you need a haircut.

      Domo arigato gozaimashita!!

      Saito
    • Nevin Broz
      Being a student of the Bujinkan traditions I feel that I may be of some use. Our lineages have been traced and are verified as legitimate. The Bugei Ryuha
      Message 2 of 13 , Aug 3, 2005
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        Being a student of the Bujinkan traditions I feel that I may be of some use. Our lineages have been traced and are verified as legitimate. The "Bugei Ryuha Daijiten", (which is the record of all Japanese legitmate schools) lists all the schools, and Dr. Hatsumi as Grandmaster. As well, he is still the only recognized living ninja by the Government of Japan. Here is a link to my Sensei's website. There is quite a bit of info if you are interested.

        http://www.bujinkan.hr/index-en.php

        As we say, "Gambatte ne!" (keep going <training>)

        Nevin Z. Broz
        Shidoshi-ho
        Bujinkan Seishin Ninpo Ronin Dojo



        "Ii Saburou Katsumori (Joshua B.)" <tatsushu@...> wrote:
        > I know many of you have knowledge and resources unavailable to me, so
        > I was hoping that you would help me out.
        >
        > This website:
        > http://www.illuminatedlantern.com/cinema/features/ninja.html
        >
        > seems to jibe best with the history as I have come to understand it.
        > What I am hoping for is that some of you might read this and give me
        > your opinion as to it's credibility and accuracy.

        That website doesn't seem too far off what I've seen.

        The problem with 'ninja' is that it has gotten tied up with 'ninjutsu'
        in terms of the ryuha that claim a specific 'ninjutsu' lineage.
        People seem to have the idea that if they were a 'ninja' then they
        followed these teachings. Without getting into the historical
        validity of claims made by traditions today, realize that 'ninja', or
        more appropriately 'shinobi-mono' were not, in our period, anything
        more than a 'special forces' team.

        As an example, during Go-Daigo's revolt against the Hojo regents,
        Kamakura forces at one point scaled the sides of the fortified temple
        where Go-Daigo was staying under the cover of darkness. They
        pretended to be friendly troops to gain access to the inner levels and
        then caused panic from the inside, allowing their friends outside to
        attack.

        This is shinobi-mono. There is nothing Chinese about it. There isn't
        even a special school in this instance. The 'tricks' were simply
        battlefield tactics, and the term 'shinobi' implied that they were
        done with stealth.

        As another example (and forgive me if I forget the names right off the
        top of my head), a castle was beseiged on all sides. A few warriors
        were able to escape undetected and brought reinforcements to break the
        seige. These are 'shinobi', or 'ninja', at least while they were
        being stealthy.

        Now, these 'shinobi-mono' often get confused with a more modern
        concept of 'ninja' that is that of the elite peasant warrior who is
        part of a secret clan defying the buke, using 'ninjutsu'
        ('shinobi-no-sube') and secret combat skills learned from China.

        This latter group I have not yet found any pre-Edo documentation for.
        Kukishinden Ryu claims to have old scrolls going back to someone from
        China, but I've not seen any verification of this claim that would be
        accepted by historical scholars at large.

        I'd love to learn if you find out more--I'd especially like to find
        some references to the Sengoku writings on ninja that I hear so many
        people in the English-speaking world talk about, but have not seen.


        -Ii


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      • Solveig Throndardottir
        Noble Cousins! Greetings from Solveig! ... After a quick look over, I would not suggest giving much credance to these sites. Your Humble Servant Solveig
        Message 3 of 13 , Aug 3, 2005
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          Noble Cousins!

          Greetings from Solveig!

          > http://edisto.cofc.edu/~nmtaylor/history.html
          >
          > http://www.whitetigerninja.com/Ninjahistory.html
          >
          > http://www.ninjabilly.com/html/ninja_history.html

          After a quick look over, I would not suggest giving much credance to
          these sites.

          Your Humble Servant
          Solveig Throndardottir
          Amateur Scholar

          +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
          | Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D. | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM, CoS, Fleur |
          | deMoivre Institute | Carolingia Statis Mentis Est |
          | mailto:nostrand@... | mailto:Solveig@... |
          +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
          | Note. Many popular "free" email services are automatically routed to |
          | the trash by my email filters. |
          +----------------------------------------------------------------------+


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Solveig Throndardottir
          Noble Cousin! Greetings from Solveig! ... To quote a college friend of mine, bull piddle . Louis Frederic in Japan Encyclopedia claims that the Tenchuu gumi
          Message 4 of 13 , Aug 5, 2005
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            Noble Cousin!

            Greetings from Solveig!

            > Being a student of the Bujinkan traditions I feel that I may be of
            > some use. Our lineages have been traced and are verified as
            > legitimate. The "Bugei Ryuha Daijiten", (which is the record of all
            > Japanese legitmate schools) lists all the schools, and Dr. Hatsumi as
            > Grandmaster. As well, he is still the only recognized living ninja by
            > the Government of Japan. Here is a link to my Sensei's website.
            > There is quite a bit of info if you are interested.
            >
            > http://www.bujinkan.hr/index-en.php

            To quote a college friend of mine, "bull piddle". Louis Frederic in
            "Japan Encyclopedia" claims that the Tenchuu gumi (not Tenchi gumi as
            claimed in the web site) was a group of direct vassals to the emperor
            who revolted against the shougun in 1863. The members of the tenchuu
            gumi were generally: bushi, peasants, and at least one member of the
            kuge (nobility). The peasants were led by a village chief from the Tosa
            estate. Note. There is no mention of a "tenchigumi" in either Daijirin
            or Nihonshi Kenkyuu.

            I am sure that you are having an enjoyable experience in your doujo and
            respect your sensei very much, but you have been experiencing a
            particular kind of Japanese hype common in the martial arts community.
            The web page which you give does nothing at all to seriously
            substantiate claims for ninjutsu.

            Incidentally, ninja is the generally preferred Japanese word not
            shinobi no mono. Further, the base meaning of "shinobi" is "endure"
            with the circular definition "ninja" appearing as the third definition.
            I rather think that "endure" is the real root of the word and refers to
            special fortitude by spec ops units which would silently ford motes,
            scale walls, &c. Even popular depictions of ninja portray the general
            silence of the ninja. Why would "ninja" be preferred to "shinobi no
            mono" for pretty much the same reason that Greek, Italian, and French
            nouns are preferred to Anglo-Saxon nouns in English. Ninja simply
            sounds more educated, because it uses on'yomi readings. The Japanese
            are especially fond of "night attacks", so moving silently and wearing
            hard to see clothing could make you pretty stealthy.

            As for this "samurai code" preventing engagement in special ops, hooey!
            The Japanese love special ops. There are times when you make a big deal
            about battle and even single combat, and times when you don't. As for
            night attacks in general, you should read about the start of the Genpei
            War, the famous night attack involving the Soga brothers, &c.

            As for fanciful claims of antiquity, you encounter that sort of thing
            all the time when dealing with things Japanese. Everyone has to learn
            to sift through these claims.

            Your Humble Servant
            Solveig Throndardottir
            Amateur Scholar

            +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
            | Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D. | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM, CoS, Fleur |
            | deMoivre Institute | Carolingia Statis Mentis Est |
            | mailto:nostrand@... | mailto:Solveig@... |
            +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
            | Note. Many popular "free" email services are automatically routed to |
            | the trash by my email filters. |
            +----------------------------------------------------------------------+


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Anthony Bryant
            ... It is *today* but wasn t historically. And if we are talking in terms of historical context... Today, they re typically called bikes -- there was a time
            Message 5 of 13 , Aug 5, 2005
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              Solveig Throndardottir wrote:

              >
              >
              > Incidentally, ninja is the generally preferred Japanese word not
              > shinobi no mono.


              It is *today* but wasn't historically. And if we are talking in terms of
              historical context...

              Today, they're typically called "bikes" -- there was a time they were
              called velocipedes, and in the historical context, that term is acceptable.

              > Further, the base meaning of "shinobi" is "endure" with the circular
              > definition "ninja" appearing as the third definition.

              Irrelevent. The term "shinobi no mono" is a locked phrase with one
              recognized definition. Anyone who wants to translate that as "someone
              who is enduring" is the one being odd, not the one using it for its
              recognized meaning of "ninja."

              > I rather think
              > that "endure" is the real root of the word and refers to special
              > fortitude by spec ops units which would silently ford motes, scale
              > walls, &c.

              It also has the context of "stealth".


              > As for this "samurai code" preventing engagement in special ops,
              > hooey! The Japanese love special ops.

              Oh, yeah. ;)


              Effingham
            • Solveig Throndardottir
              Baron Edward! Greetings from Solveig! I think that you are being intentionally dense. Ninja is the preferred word today. I made no great claims about
              Message 6 of 13 , Aug 5, 2005
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                Baron Edward!

                Greetings from Solveig! I think that you are being intentionally dense.
                Ninja is the preferred word today. I made no great claims about
                historical usage. If I had, I would have cited a kogojiten. As for
                etymology, that is generally problematic. I am reminded of my Classical
                Japanese professor going on about the verb saburau and how that leads
                to samurai. The question is why are they called "ninja" or "shinobi no
                mono" (big deal - that's just the kun'yomi reading and doesn't even
                change the order of the kanji involved)?

                > Irrelevent. The term "shinobi no mono" is a locked phrase with one
                > recognized definition. Anyone who wants to translate that as "someone
                > who is enduring" is the one being odd, not the one using it for its
                > recognized meaning of "ninja."

                It's a locked phrase which at this point is almost hopelessly muddled
                by popular culture. The question is where does the locked phrase come
                from? If we just go by the understood meaning, then it refers to those
                guys in the black pyjamas that you see in ramen operas on television.
                In short, nothing more than a modern flight of fancy. As for
                "stealthy", the question is why does "shinobu" relate to "stealth"? I
                think that I addressed it, you didn't. Yes, there are oodles of
                homonyms in Japanese, but they usually don't share kanji! The root of
                the kanji in question is "heart" with the rest added for sound. The
                root meaning is "especially strong fortitude".

                While Kogorin attempts to trace "shinobu" with the sense of being
                undetectable to Genji Monogatari, the quote does not actually include
                the word or any variant. However, it does relate the special notion of
                not being detected. The art of "invisibility" is the one central aspect
                of ninjutsu that is generally encountered. Not the costume, not the
                weapon forms, &c. As you yourself once wrote, "At Pennsic, a ninja
                would wear norman or tudor."

                The earliest appearance of "shinobi no mono" appears to be in the
                Taiheiki 20 where we encounter:

                "Ichimotsu no shinobi no mono wo Hachimanzan ni irete"

                This business about the ninja being a T'ang import based on the
                teachings of Sun Tsu seems to me to be entirely specious.

                Your Humble Servant
                Solveig Throndardottir
                Amateur Scholar

                +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
                | Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D. | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM, CoS, Fleur |
                | deMoivre Institute | Carolingia Statis Mentis Est |
                | mailto:nostrand@... | mailto:Solveig@... |
                +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
                | Note. Many popular "free" email services are automatically routed to |
                | the trash by my email filters. |
                +----------------------------------------------------------------------+


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Nevin Broz
                Believe what you will. History cannot be changed. Names can, as our lineages have been renamed many times over the centuries but history cannot. The titles
                Message 7 of 13 , Aug 5, 2005
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                  Believe what you will. History cannot be changed. Names can, as our lineages have been renamed many times over the centuries but history cannot. The titles Shidoshi, Shidoshi-ho (meaning senior and junior instructors respectfully) didn't exist historically. Hatsumi Sensei created these words, yet every day modern claim to some ninja school and a few samurai lineages use them as ancient terminology. ex: Frank Dux from Bloodsport fame. Search for the truth and do what makes you happy!


                  Nevin Z. Broz
                  Shidoshi-ho
                  Bujinkan Seishin Ninpo Ronin Dojo

                  Solveig Throndardottir <nostrand@...> wrote:
                  Noble Cousin!

                  Greetings from Solveig!

                  > Being a student of the Bujinkan traditions I feel that I may be of
                  > some use. Our lineages have been traced and are verified as
                  > legitimate. The "Bugei Ryuha Daijiten", (which is the record of all
                  > Japanese legitmate schools) lists all the schools, and Dr. Hatsumi as
                  > Grandmaster. As well, he is still the only recognized living ninja by
                  > the Government of Japan. Here is a link to my Sensei's website.
                  > There is quite a bit of info if you are interested.
                  >
                  > http://www.bujinkan.hr/index-en.php

                  To quote a college friend of mine, "bull piddle". Louis Frederic in
                  "Japan Encyclopedia" claims that the Tenchuu gumi (not Tenchi gumi as
                  claimed in the web site) was a group of direct vassals to the emperor
                  who revolted against the shougun in 1863. The members of the tenchuu
                  gumi were generally: bushi, peasants, and at least one member of the
                  kuge (nobility). The peasants were led by a village chief from the Tosa
                  estate. Note. There is no mention of a "tenchigumi" in either Daijirin
                  or Nihonshi Kenkyuu.

                  I am sure that you are having an enjoyable experience in your doujo and
                  respect your sensei very much, but you have been experiencing a
                  particular kind of Japanese hype common in the martial arts community.
                  The web page which you give does nothing at all to seriously
                  substantiate claims for ninjutsu.

                  Incidentally, ninja is the generally preferred Japanese word not
                  shinobi no mono. Further, the base meaning of "shinobi" is "endure"
                  with the circular definition "ninja" appearing as the third definition.
                  I rather think that "endure" is the real root of the word and refers to
                  special fortitude by spec ops units which would silently ford motes,
                  scale walls, &c. Even popular depictions of ninja portray the general
                  silence of the ninja. Why would "ninja" be preferred to "shinobi no
                  mono" for pretty much the same reason that Greek, Italian, and French
                  nouns are preferred to Anglo-Saxon nouns in English. Ninja simply
                  sounds more educated, because it uses on'yomi readings. The Japanese
                  are especially fond of "night attacks", so moving silently and wearing
                  hard to see clothing could make you pretty stealthy.

                  As for this "samurai code" preventing engagement in special ops, hooey!
                  The Japanese love special ops. There are times when you make a big deal
                  about battle and even single combat, and times when you don't. As for
                  night attacks in general, you should read about the start of the Genpei
                  War, the famous night attack involving the Soga brothers, &c.

                  As for fanciful claims of antiquity, you encounter that sort of thing
                  all the time when dealing with things Japanese. Everyone has to learn
                  to sift through these claims.

                  Your Humble Servant
                  Solveig Throndardottir
                  Amateur Scholar

                  +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
                  | Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D. | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM, CoS, Fleur |
                  | deMoivre Institute | Carolingia Statis Mentis Est |
                  | mailto:nostrand@... | mailto:Solveig@... |
                  +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
                  | Note. Many popular "free" email services are automatically routed to |
                  | the trash by my email filters. |
                  +----------------------------------------------------------------------+


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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                • Solveig Throndardottir
                  Noble Cousin! Greetings from Solveig! Faking lineages was and is very common in Japan. Your school s lineage may be authentic, however the chances are very
                  Message 8 of 13 , Aug 5, 2005
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                    Noble Cousin!

                    Greetings from Solveig! Faking lineages was and is very common in
                    Japan. Your school's lineage may be authentic, however the chances are
                    very good that it is not. Claiming a lineage going back to the T'ang is
                    automatically suspicious. There are some things in Japan which are
                    traceable to the T'ang, but they are generally preserved in the court.
                    Look, there is even a controversy about the imperial lineage which only
                    goes back about six hundred years or so. The T'ang were long gone a
                    LONG time before that. History means "investigations". This means
                    trying to find things out. The web page which was quoted here earlier
                    was far from authoritative and even spelled the name of a particular
                    uprising in Japan incorrectly in a way which does make a difference.

                    Here is an example from something that I am involved with. There is a
                    controversy over the origin of the Sen family. The Sen have held a pair
                    of adjoining estates in Kyouto since the early seventeenth century and
                    are linked by marriage to the imperial family. The dispute is whether
                    or not they are Koreans or some such thing.

                    Your Humble Servant
                    Solveig Throndardottir
                    Amateur Scholar

                    +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
                    | Barbara Nostrand, Ph.D. | Solveig Throndardottir, CoM, CoS, Fleur |
                    | deMoivre Institute | Carolingia Statis Mentis Est |
                    | mailto:nostrand@... | mailto:Solveig@... |
                    +----------------------------------------------------------------------+
                    | Note. Many popular "free" email services are automatically routed to |
                    | the trash by my email filters. |
                    +----------------------------------------------------------------------+


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