Opening Asia for Russia

15.11.2018 176 просмотров

Ninja (the root of the word "nin" - "sneak" or "endure"; another reading in Japanese is "shinobu") - a caste of medieval scouts, assassins and terrorists began to form in Japan around the 5th-6th centuries. AD Ninjutsu - the art of mastery of fighting techniques with and without weapons - over its long history has acquired a whole heap of all kinds of fables and tales. Today, cinema contributes to this - for the sake of entertainment, facts are often sacrificed. In the modern understanding of many people, ninjas are almost mythical characters that have never been and cannot be.

This is actually a misconception. Yes, little is known about modern ninja, although there is an International Ninjutsu Federation that unites several dozen students. True,  those who saw them in action are not enthusiastic about the skills of modern ninjas: in their opinion, they are just a pale shadow of those people about whom legends are composed and books are written (there are not so many serious works on this subject, although they are ). In principle, the entire "moral code" and the basic rules for teaching ninjutsu were set out in the ninja encyclopedia, compiled in 1676. It should still be clarified that we are talking about the quintessence of experience gained by the two clans of this "killer" corporation & nbsp; - Iga and Koga.
Of course, it is difficult to objectively judge how great the skill of modern ninja is. It can be assumed that for most of them this is just a game - the general public today is unlikely to recognize anything more specific. Someone believes that real ninjas still live among ordinary people, someone considers this complete nonsense.

As a martial art, ninjutsu has been known since the 7th century. It was then that the biography of Prince Setoku Taishi, who lived during the reign of Empress Suiko (593-628), appeared in Japanese chronicles. The legendary hero used an "army intelligence" unit in the struggle for the province of Omi, whose tactics already resembled subsequent exercises of patented island killers. But the real heyday of the ninja era is  in the XV-XVI centuries - a period known in Japan under the thematic name "Sengoku Jodai" (War of the Provinces - 1467-1568). In those years, the islands were torn apart by years of feudal wars, all kinds of strife and conspiracies. Some of the researchers believe that the process of separating the ninja into a separate society was carried out in parallel with the formation of the samurai class. In the future, it was from this class of Japanese nobles (translated from Japanese samurai means "one who serves") that numerous rulers of the Japanese islands came out.

Ninjas were experts at performing various kinds of delicate tasks. Photo:

Disparate ninja clans are believed to have begun to form in places where there were no large crowds of people. This, in particular, is written by the famous Japanese scholar John Man. In these deserted mountainous territories, no one sought to unite in large groups - on the contrary, life on them was difficult, secretive and isolated. In public, members of the local Koga and Iga clans (modern Mie and Shiga prefectures, the island of Honshu) are by no means & nbsp; did not apply. But in fact, they did not represent any serious force - neither military nor political. The task of these people was different: they were specialists in the implementation of various kinds of delicate assignments related to the elimination of rivals. Something, but the medieval Japanese nobility always had enemies in abundance. That came in handy  "warriors-shadows" - in terms of eliminating competitors, they had no equal. They did this, of course, for a fee.

Hikone Castle, Shiga Prefecture, Honshu Island, center of the "ninja world". Photo: wikipedia

Decades, centuries passed - within the various ninja clans their own hierarchical pyramid gradually formed. Ordinary scouts usually did the most thankless job. Hired assassins, eavesdropping on secret conversations, stealing important documents and ordered people - that's all they are. For their work, ninjas received money or other remuneration. As a rule, the services of the ninja were used by representatives of the military-clerical elite - jonin and chuunin (representatives of the highest and middle levels). But the funds were transferred not to the executor of this or that “order”, but to the head of the clan, who distributed them at his own discretion and desire.

Too scrupulous in matters of honor, the samurai very often forgot about their good manners when it came to feudal intrigues and easily turned as customers to the "dark side of being" - the world of ninjas, makers of secret and bloody deeds. Here it is curious to clarify that from the beginning there was not even the very concept of "ninja". It came into use only at the end of the 19th century. Historians - in particular, Stephen Turnbull - do not exclude that the fundamental basis of secret knowledge was the wandering monks "sohei", who taught the peasants the art of defense without weapons or with the help of simple objects (in particular, a long stick - "bo"). Over time, adepts have perfected the art of killing to perfection! Therefore, their services were in great demand. Needless to say, ninjas who had undergone special training from a young age were unmatched in terms of the ability to carry out contract killings. Yes, composing poems to loved ones was not their forte. The ninja replaced the secular spirituality inherent in the samurai with a dark mysticism, which we will discuss below. & nbsp; But, above all, these specialists in dark affairs were in demand by a certain part of the Japanese society of that time, as assassins and spies, although they remained a kind of outcast caste.

Although samurai were afraid of ninja, they often resorted to the services of these people. Photo:

To catch and then painfully execute a ninja in public - usually boiled in boiling water (Tokugawa code) - was considered a matter of honor for any samurai. Recall that in all other cases in Japan, torture was used little. In fact, only the following were allowed: scourging, crushing with stone slabs, strangling with a rope. All of them were used not for the sake of sadism (as, for example, among the Vikings), but in the process of inquiry. The death penalty was carried out by simply cutting off the head. But this did not apply to ninja: to kill an invisible warrior, that is, in a modern, terrible terrorist, is a completely different story. But the services of these people were often resorted to - life forced them.


Among the famous representatives of the "shinobi" profession (that's exactly what, and not at all "ninja" called these people in Japan), one can name, for example, Hanzo, who & nbsp; led intelligence for the daimyo Tokugawa Ieyasu, Prince of Minamoto (1543 - 1616). He is also known in Japan as Matsudaira Takechiyo (松平 竹千代), a baby name; Matsudaira Motonobu (Jap. 松平 元信). It was this statesman, who created a strong centralized state, who became the military supreme ruler of Japan (shogun), although he did not abandon the services of his assistant shinobi (the end of the Sengoku Jodai era).

Ninja education began almost from infancy. In some schools, the baby began to swim before he could walk. Swimming not only contributed to the excellent development of coordination of movements, but also developed the lungs, because, perhaps, a ninja would sit in the water for hours and breathe through small holes drilled in the sheath of his knife. Every year, the training of a ninja warrior became more and more difficult. For example, teenagers were not only taught to jump over deep ditches, where pointed peaks were located, but also the so-called "multi-stage" jumps and movement along vertical walls.

In fact, those insane jumps and running on surfaces that are completely unsuitable for these purposes, which the rumor ascribes to the ninja, are quite understandable. Nobody argues - ninjas, of course, could not move along a smooth, smooth ceiling, as is sometimes shown in some feature films. However, one “but” must be taken into account: the fact is that, according to the old Japanese architectural tradition, the ceilings were very often decorated with certain reliefs and rafters, passing at a short distance from each other. And in this way, skilled warriors could already move: they leaned their feet and hands on the nearby beams or clinging to one of them with special “cats” or spikes. Auxiliary "hooks", if necessary, were attached to the shoes. So it's not surprising that a ninja could crawl across the ceiling - with his back to the floor, of course. With the help of a special jumping technique, he could jump on a narrow street onto a balcony or roof, leaning his feet on the walls of houses. Because he was taught it as a child. 

Ninjas were proficient in various types of weapons. Photo:

From a technical point of view, such tricks are possible. First, a person learns to run diagonally up a few steps with a slight acceleration, while maintaining balance, and then he tries to run a little higher, and from there, if there is at least some point of support, soar even higher in order to attack the enemy from above. Therefore, acrobatic elements have always been part of the ninja training system.

Needless to say, the fighting technique - in fact, it was about the same as that of the samurai - was given serious attention. Only the ninja didn't particularly bother with the "philosophical" part of the samurai's teachings, the "Bushido" code (literally "Secret Way"). They paid attention exclusively to the applied aspect. Receptions were brought to super-perfection. Also, attention was paid to the study of special psychotechniques.

From about 4-5 years old, boys and girls (and among the ninja there were representatives of the weaker sex) began to compete with each other with and without weapons. As a rule, training took place according to the system of one of the jujutsu schools - there were a great many of them in Japan at that time. In addition, children were taught the art of "dismembering" joints. And today such practices exist: at their own request, a properly trained person can, for example, “take out” his arm from his shoulder or “unfasten” his leg. This is a very important element of training - especially when you need to get through a narrow hole or free yourself from the fetters of the enemy. 

Login ninja training included the study of various combat techniques. Photo:

In general, ninja training ended at the age of 15. The student had to pass the relevant exams - and only after that he was given weapons and uniforms & nbsp; – a loose hoodie with a hood and a mask. From about this time, a new stage of training began for the ninja: they learned the secret mysteries of the spirit, which the yamabushi monks used in their practice. Young ninjas also studied the grueling techniques of yoga. By the way, yamabushi (“hiding in the mountains”; 山 “mountain”, 伏 “hide”), followers of esoteric Shingon Buddhism (Jap. 真言宗) is one of the most mysterious sects that have ever existed in Japan. Ninja were considered their faithful students, much was adopted from them. Thus, the method of the nine "stages of power", which the ninja studied sequentially (or stopped at one of them), consists in reciting the appropriate mantras, which supposedly greatly facilitates the completion of any task.

Every ninja had the art of entering a trance. Having reached a special state of consciousness and freed the hidden reserves of the body, the “shadow warriors” literally multiplied their strength tenfold. It is no coincidence that mere mortals thought that "ghosts" work wonders: without devices they overcome high smooth walls, jump from a great height to the ground, silently, like ghosts, pass over creaking floorboards. For many people, it is difficult to understand how you can almost instantly memorize a whole sheet of hieroglyphs or “dissolve” in space in front of many?

The answer is pretty trivial: it has to be taught from childhood, and ninjas tend to become really talented students . It is curious that, from the point of view of modern Japanese historians, shinobi were not at all thoughtless body mechanics, not literate and not possessing intellectual knowledge. So, Vladislav Shpakovsky, citing sources from the Land of the Rising Sun (site, cites the obligatory parts of the equipment of people who chose twilight as their natural habitat: What else was included in the ninja equipment were six very important items ( rokugu), though he didn't always carry all of them. These are amigasa (a hat woven from straw), kaginawa ("cat"), sekihitsu (lead for writing) or yadate (ink with a pencil case for a brush), yakukhin (a small bag with medicines), tsukedake or uchidake (a container for glowing coals), and sanjaku-tenugui (towel), because in Japan the climate is stuffy and humid. As you can see, the presence of a device for writing and medicines clearly testify to the intellectual baggage of Japanese assassins.

By the way, the typical traditional ninja weapon is not primarily a short straight sword (ninja-to ) or kusarigama (ninja scythe or sickle) (as opposed to katana, which belongs to the genre of sabers), and the quite popular Furi-zue or tigiriki - “flying cane”. This is a monk's bamboo staff, approximately one and a half meters long, with a weight at one end. Often a short chain was also attached to this end. Then the weight was hung on its end, and the staff turned into a real flail. Iron in Japan was fabulously expensive (there are no natural deposits of it here), and the staff, unlike the sword, was much easier to make and use discreetly.

Specialists attribute the decline of the Ninjutsu Institute to the second half of the 19th century. Photo:

In the 17th century, the Tokugawa shogun banned the art of ninjutsu on pain of death. Hard times have come for the ninja - a real persecution has begun on them. But, as the researchers note, it was partly thanks to the “shadow warriors” that Tokugawa rose. But even after that, the "fighters of the invisible front" continued to make up, albeit a small, but rather specific part of Japanese society. And then they carried out the orders of wealthy customers. Experts attribute the final decline of the ninjutsu institute to the second half of the 19th century - to the period of the Meiji Restoration, when the ninja, it is believed, completely left the military and political arena of Japan.


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