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#114781 - 03/10/05 12:54 PM Re: Better Swordsmen? The Ninja or Samurai?

Hi everyone!
My knowledge of the history of ninjutsu is rather limited (er, just as anyone else, now that I come to think about it) but a few things that have been said here seem to contradict it and I'd like some further precisions, if anyone can provide them... Someone said that ninja being assassins was mostly legend. Yet, as far as I know, Oda Nobunaga, after having most ninja of the Iga province slaughtered, was assassinated by a ninja sent by one of the rare survivors, the famous Hatori Hanzo (other sources saying Hatori killed Oda himself). I also believe that Hatori Hanzo, afterwards, faithfully served Tokugawa Ieyasu and, being an experienced ninja himself, succeeded in stopping many assassination attempts by ninja sent by rival daimyo seeking to make shogun instead of Tokugawa (well, at least that's what the history books say). So, if there's anyone here who has a better knowledge of Japanese history than my own (there should be, for mine isn't too deep really), are the books merely lying, or are they just "romanticizing" the story a bit, or are these facts true but simply not representative of the usual activities of the ninja?

There are a few other statements here that puzzle me, but I'm too lazy to deal with them right now, they'll have to wait a bit longer... [IMG][/IMG]

#114782 - 03/10/05 02:10 PM Re: Better Swordsmen? The Ninja or Samurai?
Charles Mahan Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/14/04
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denton, Tx, USA
I'm not a historian either, but the idea that Oda Nobunaga was assasinated is a controversial idea at best. Took me 3 minutes with google to turn this up:

#114783 - 03/10/05 11:38 PM Re: Better Swordsmen? The Ninja or Samurai?
laf7773 Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 4065
Loc: Limbo
This is where people tend to make a mistake regarding the history of ninjutsu. Just like anything else you can't lump them into one category. You can't say they were assassins. You can't say they were used for "recon" purposes. You can't say they were for any one purpose. There has been some loose comparison to modern special forces. This in a sense is true. There were several types of employment for "ninja". Everything from assassination to recon to a "secret service" type of body guard/security. The did practice specialty skills that aided them in these various tasks but not all were employable for every type of job. Just like today’s forces they may have had various "grouping" or specialties but also had general knowledge of each field. They have also been said to have been samurai. This is possible as well. Keeping in mind that they were employed as protection and in a sense worked in conjunction with samurai it would make sense that these skills could very well have been taught to samurai and vise versa. Similar to cross training with other military forces.

The fact is unless someone unearths some sort of documentation, that can be authenticated, that goes into more detail as to how they were employed we will only be able to piece things together with what little facts we have mixed with myth. Unfortunately Hollywood and the rash of ninja fakes aren't helping any.

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