Teppo-tai (Japan)

Teppo-tai (Japan)

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Teppo-tai (Japan)

A Teppo-tai was an Ashigaru (or Japanese infantryman) armed with a arquebus or other firearm (Teppo meaning gun). By the time of the battle of Sekigahara in 1600 most Japanese armies had hundreds of these arquebusiers, although the weapon had only been introduced to Japan in 1542 by the Portuguese. At Sekigahara bows were still in use but the arquebus was quickly replacing them and changing forever the nature of Japanese warfare. The Teppo-tai were normally organized into groups of between 30 and 50 men. The matchlock firearm used had an effective range of 200m and a maximum range of 500m.

Conflicts caused by Chinese expansion in the later stages of the Jōmon Period, circa 400 BCE, led to mass migration to Japan. [1] The migrants primarily came from continental Asia, more specifically the Korean Peninsula and Southern China, which brought over "new pottery, bronze, iron and improved metalworking techniques", which help improve the pre-existing farming tools and weaponry. [1] [2] Chinese influence came mostly by sea, but also through Korea.

The influence of Chinese culture was an indirect effect of communications by Korea, around the 1st to the 5th century A.D.. Korea had already incorporated major elements of Chinese civilization into their own culture, and from there, mediated the interchanges between China and Japan. [3]

The Han Shu written in 82 A.D. (also known as 'the book of Han' or 'History of Han') states that the Wa sent envoys and tribute to the Jùn (Chinese commandery) in northern parts of Korea. [1] To further expand, the Wa was a confederation of minor southern and western states of Japan, with an emphasis on the state Yamato. According to the Han Shu, this was the first textual reference made to Japan, in reference to Sino-Japanese interaction. Another Chinese source that documents Chinese influence on Japanese culture is Wei Chih written in 297 A.D. (also known as History of Wei). Wei Chih states that Chinese and Japanese interactions of tribute originates back to 57 and 107 A.D. Prominent figures of authority, such as Queen Himiko, sent Japanese ambassadors to parts which belonged to the Chinese, around 189–248 A.D. [1] This continued in the Kofun Period, as envoys continued to be transmitted from Japan into China. In 502 A.D., eleven new envoys were sent to China. This was, according to Mark Cartwright, the emergence of Yamato Japan as an international diplomatic state. [1]

In comparison to Korea, Japan controlled its intake of cultural influence from China, also known as 'cultural borrowing'. This meant that it "acknowledged the cultural superiority of the Chinese Middle Kingdom", while always holding onto its political independence. [3] In addition to controlling the process of 'cultural borrowing', Japan also remained selective when considering which Chinese ideas and institutions they wanted to adopt.

Modern influence Edit

China's continued influence on Japanese culture can be perceived in modern times perhaps most clearly in the field of gastronomy, of which Japanese Chinese cuisine is an example. Influence from Taiwan was also felt with the popularity of bubble tea in the late 2010s.

Daoism/Taoism Edit

Daoism/Taoism is a set of religious and philosophical beliefs which explores the ideas of rituals, scriptures all whilst considering the Dao/Tao. It can be traced back to the 3rd century BCE. [4] As a product of Chinese philosophers, it made its way to Japan and has thus been significantly changed as it became in contact with the Japanese Culture. Originally, as Daoism developed in China was complex, multifaceted and a continuous recreation of new and old ideas. [5] Its form as it became integrated into Japanese culture was introduced as a part of the ritsuryō state. As a result of this, through textual pieces, Daoism marketed its way gradually into Japanese Culture, though different from its original influence, which was Chinese Daoism.

Debates regarding Daoism/Taoism Edit

There have been debates regarding which undefined elements of Daoism within "the Japanese religio-political landscape" belongs to history and traditions of China, and which are merely an aspect of Daoism itself. [5] Author and research associate Gaynor Sekimori, argues that aspects such as cosmology, yin and yang, Wu Xing (the five phases), divination, astronomy/astrology and the Yijīng were originally a part of Chinese cultural heritage, which thus influenced Daoism.

There has also been a level of uncertainty regarding Daoism/Taoism, whether it be majoritively Chinese culture or simply influenced a part of Daoism. Jonathan Smith made claims as to distinguish what is a part of Chinese heritage and that of Daoism itself, claiming there are elements which are "Daoist" and "Taoist-flavoured".

Building on this, Japanese philosopher Miura Kunio distinguishes specific elements of Daoism as either belonging to the Chinese culture or as aspects transferred into the Japanese culture following the introduction of Daoism. [5] To further expand, Kunio claimed that elements that were presented to Japan in the seventh century, such as "calendar-making, astronomy/astrology and divination" as belonging to the Chinese Culture. Elements such as immortality beliefs, Daoist scriptures and Kōshin cult were transferred into Japan as a part of Daoism.

Buddhism Edit

Now one of the largest world religions, Buddhism first emerged from India around 6th century BC. Buddhism has three major 'branches', which include Theravada (foundational Buddhism), Mahayana (or 'Greater Vehicle' Buddhism) and Vajrayana (Esoteric Buddhism or 'Diamond Vehicle'). Buddhism was brought over to Japan through China and Korea in the year 552. [6]

Furthermore, Buddhism was encouraged by those in power, such as Prince Shotoku. He argued that Buddhism was essential in "promoting Chinese ideas". Out of the three branches of Buddhism, it was the Mahayana which first became rooted in the Japanese culture.

Introduction of Vajrayana Buddhism and establishment of Mahayana sects Edit

Another example of Chinese influence on Japanese religion is the introduction of Vajrayana Buddhism. In the beginning of the Heian Period, several Japanese monks that had studied religion in China returned, consequently establishing Vajrayana Buddhism through the creation of Buddhist sects. [7] Specifically, two scholar monks known as Saichō and Kūkai helped create the Tendai sect and Shingon sect. The Tendai sect was created in 805 by Saichō following his return from T'Ang China, and helped firmly establish Vajrayana.

To further expand on this, Saichō travelled to China for eleven months in 804 on the quest for the T'ien- t'ai (or Tiantai), the Chinese Buddhist School. [7] Saichō wanted to transfer the idea of the T'ien- t'ai Dharma heritage into Japan, while still keeping the authenticity of the original Chinese-based Buddhist school. In his final month in Ming-chou, Saichō went to Yüeh-chou in order to gather further religious texts concerning esoteric Buddhism (Vajrayana) where he essentially meet the priest Shun-hsiao who informed him and gave him instructions about Vajrayana Buddhism. Following his visit to Yüeh-chou, Saichō was able to retrieve Buddhist instruments, related to rituals, paintings of the goddesses of Vajrayana and 38 religious texts related to Mikkyō. In accordance to several pieces historical research "both inside and outside the Tendai school demonstrates that Saichō encounter with Mikkyō in China was rather accidental". [7] Furthermore, according to Japanese historian Kōyū Sonoda, Saichō's original plan consisted of sending two disciples to do his research on the T'ien-t'ai, though it was changed last minute as Emperor Kanmu was able to persuade Saichō to pursue and lead the journey personally.

From there, Saichō helped 'pave the way' for the Shingon sect to be introduced in 806 by Kūkai. In order for both founders to benefit from the introduction of Buddhism, Saichō stood behind Kūkai and helped him get the mountain temple of Takaosan-ji northwest of Kyoto, and make it into the original Shingon School. In return, Kūkai helped educate and train Saichō and his followers Vajrayana rituals. Furthermore, Kūkai also shared his Mikkyō texts which he had gotten during his final trip to Yüeh-chou, China.

Professor at Doshisha University, Kazuhiko Miyajima argues that Japan was heavily influenced by Chinese astronomy and astrology. [8] The Japanese learnt about Chinese astronomy first from the Koreans, who consequently learned it directly from the Chinese. The influence of astronomy took roots in government offices, as a direct influence of the Chinese model, which became known as "Onmyo no tsukasa". This office was in charge of specific information related to both astronomy and astrology, identical to the elements distinguished to be a part of Daoism. The four departments a part of the office includes "divination by celestial omens, calendar-making time-keeping and yin-yan divination". [8] The responsibility of these departments is similar to the Chinese equivalent T'ai shih chu and T'ai-pu shu.

In terms of cardinal direction, orientation in main streets in cities such as Naniwa no miya and Heijo Kyo was achieved by "learning the Chinese way of surveying". [8]

In addition, Japanese star maps were influenced by Chinese astronomy, as several star maps within Japan held the same Chinese star names. They were created as a direct duplication of the Chinese, though only a few still remain popular. To further elaborate, Shibukawa Harumi, known as the "first official astronomer of the Edo period", published two kinds of star maps, adapted from the traditional Chinese model which came from Korea. [8] Some star maps which were created by Takahashi Kageyasu and Ishizaka Joken continue to take inspiration from Western ideals of Astronomy. Western astronomy essentially landed in Japan through China, through a book known as "T'ienching huomen". The book's popularity in China was short-lived due to its simplification, excessive mistakes and inaccuracy, but succeeded immensely nonetheless in Japan.

Kanji: Usage of Chinese characters in Japan Edit

Kanji is the term for the adopted Chinese characters used in the Japanese written language. The Chinese writing system influenced the spoken Japanese language first, and thus "provided key vehicles for intellectual creativity". [3] Its origin in Japan dates back to the Kofun Period, and its introduction is believed to be between the years 300 and 710 A.D. [9]

It is believed that the Japanese writing system came under influence by the Chinese through its written language. In the beginning, writing in Japan was primarily done by immigrant clerks who wrote in Chinese. [10] One individual in particular known as Wani helped introduce the Chinese characters into Japan. Wani was a scholar that had arrived sometime during the late 4th century from one of the Korean kingdoms Paekche (also known as Baekje). [9] He supposedly brought 11 volumes of Chinese writings with him to Japan. Wani remained in Japan, and helped inspire groups of scribes that later became known as the Fumi-no-obito. Literacy was rare and limited to immigrant groups and their families during the 5th and 6th century. The act of writing and learning Chinese was instigated in Japan in the early 5th century.

Within the 7th century, Japanese scholars-aristocrats began to learn Chinese through reading and writing, with the purpose of doing business. [10]

The adaption of the Chinese characters was said to be challenging, but its outcome allowed Yamato Japan to establish bureaucracy. It also helped Japanese authority figures to gain control of clans and peasants. Moreover, the introduction of Chinese into the Japanese language broadened the Japanese access to educational texts on ranging subjects, such as science, religion, art and philosophy. Consequently, as Japanese students began to master Chinese they were able to travel to China and thus continue to learn about the language and culture. [3]

It has been said that the introduction of Chinese characters and learning in the 4th century A.D. highlighted a grand "turning point in Japanese cultural development". [3]

Nakatomi no Kamatari created the clan known as Fujiwara in the year 645. It was successfully in power right up until the 11th century, where the military class (or the Samurai) assumed its position. Following the Fujiwara clan, the Taika reforms were created in 646. The Taika reforms helped create a new government system influenced by the Chinese model. [11] What this entailed was that land was purchased by the state and thus redistributed fairly to all. This land reform was gateway for "introducing the new tax system that was also adopted from China".

Many cultural items are part of Sino-Japanese heritage: here are a few examples:

Biden’s Pick for U.S. Ambassador to Japan Has History of Using Racist Asian Stereotypes

Andrew Stiles • May 12, 2021 1:40 pm

President Joe Biden plans to nominate Rahm Emanuel, the scandal-plagued former Chicago mayor who attempted to cover up a racially charged police shooting in 2014, as U.S. ambassador to Japan. If journalists cared about Democratic politicians being racist (see: Northam, Ralph), this would be a controversial choice, given Emanuel's history of using racist anti-Asian stereotypes.

Then-mayor Emanuel dabbled in some ugly racist tropes during a 2019 event hosted by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. After being introduced by an Asian-American student, Emanuel patted the female student on the buttocks before invoking regressive stereotypes about the Asian community.

"I just asked her if she was up for adoption," Emanuel told the audience, perpetuating the racist mindset experts have described as the "white savior industrial complex." The mayor proceeded to collectively address the Asian members of the audience in an insensitive display of racial stereotyping.

"You're quiet, right? You do a lot of studying, so we don't have to worry about it," Emanuel said, problematically. The mayor was invoking the harmful "model minority" myth of Asians as silent nerds, a stereotype that erases the struggles of everyday Asian Americans and undermines racial inclusivity by separating Asian Americans from other communities of color that are, by racist implication, less quiet and less intelligent.

Biden's decision to nominate Emanuel comes amid a surge in anti-Asian hate crimes in Democratic-led cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Biden is also under fire for his continued refusal to address the rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes amid the ongoing violence in Israel.

It remains to be seen if the Democratic-controlled Senate, which must confirm Emanuel's nomination, will view his racist stereotyping of Asians as a disqualifying offense. If confirmed, Emanuel's racist tendencies could complicate his diplomatic efforts in Japan, the sushi capital of the world. Emanuel has made clear that he considers raw fish to have a negative connotation—he once mailed a dead fish to a Democratic rival, along with a card that read, "It's been awful working with you."

Gunbai: Ancient Japanese Warfare

After having explained how late Sengoku armies were mustered and how they approached the battle with different formations in the first part of this series , today I will cover one of the main role of the bushi in this period: Samurai cavalry.

Since there are different theories about the actual use of war horses in Japan, this article will be released with a twin article which clarify few points on Japanese cavalry itself , while this one will be entirely dedicated to cavalry tactics as the name suggested it.
If you haven't read it, it is highly recommended to do so before reading this one:

Did Cavalry Existed in Japan?

The role of the cavalry troops - Kiba Tai ( 騎馬隊 )

During the Sengoku period, cavalry had lost their hegemony of the field of battle in favor of mass infantry focused armies for a very simple reason they were cheaper and if properly trained, they could fight extremely effectively.
From the Nanbokucho period onward, the Samurai who usually fought on horseback with their bows, started to use various polearms to deal better against infantries groups that started to be more cohesive and less scattered.
At the beginning of the warring state period, the bow was completely replaced by the spear.

Depending on the various clans of this period, the Samurai that brought horses to battle fought in very different ways.
There was a clear distinction between the horsemen in the western Japan and the ones in the east.
In fact, as I have written in my other articles, there wasn't a strong tradition of horsemanship in Kyūshū (and throughout Japan in genereal) compared to the one in the North East of Honshū.
This is justified by geography, since the Kantō plains were located in the north east while Kyūshū was predominately mountainous, and is also confirmed by army reports the Hōjō which own those plains made their armies with as much as 27% of cavalry troops, while the Shimazu often used less than 15% of mounted troops.

According to the clan, the terrain and the situation of the battle, the mounted Samurai could be used as different types of cavalry

    Mounted Infantry: This is by far the most prevalent role of mounted Samurai throughout all Japan given the two different traditions. They used their horses to move from one place from another and then dismount to fight either with polearms or swords, but also with firearms and bows as well.

T he cavalry troops, being Samurai, had personal retainers that stayed closer to them in the Sonae, carried their weaponry and worked as support units, much like an European squire. They also joined the fight whenever possible (especially in the mounted infantry scenario) and were often responsible of taking heads for their lords.
These foot Samurai were also used as heavy infantry or archers to support the ashigaru lines.

Given the fact that the Samurai could directly dismount and operate as infantry, there were some specific tactics for horsemen.
Cavalry in general was only used after the battle was already started, either to deliver a decisive victory or to trying to save the day.

Norikiri - 乗り切り:
This is a classic charge, where several small groups of five to ten horseman ride consequently (possibly with a wedge formation) into a small area against the enemy lines, to maximize the shock. It was mainly used by heavy cavalry in the East, but given the fact that the ideal target where "weavering" units with low morale or disorganized, even medium cavalry could perform this charge.
The main role of this charge was to create confusion if it didn't succeed, the cavalry regroups and either retreat or deliver another charge.

Norikuzushi - 乗り崩し:
This is a combined infantry and cavalry charge . The horseman charged first, and after creating mayhem, a second charge is delivered by infantries armed with polearms, which could keep on fighting. The main target for this tactics were ranged units detached by the army. After a Norikuzushi usually follows a Norikiri by the cavalry group.

Norikomi - 乗り込み:
There are many variations of this tactic across different sources usually it is a hit and run charge delivered by horseman against an enemy sonae that wasn't already in formation the idea is to create confusion and avoid the ranks to be properly formed. In this case the use of fire arms and missile weapons was highly useful.

Other than this tactics, if the Sonae break against the enemy, the Samurai were ordered to dismount and give support, or in the case a group of cavalry performed a charge, trying to counter charge them.
The mounted troops were also ordered to pursuit the enemy, ambush or block the main ways of escape from the battlefield as I have already writte

I hope this article would have been useful & interesting if you liked please feel free to share it or leave a comment below!

How did the Battle of Sekigahara Begin?

The struggle was on a little mountain valley located in Central Japan. The politics that led to the battle can be exhibited via a few name transitions by the plot of a novel called Shogun, that has a rather vague historical basis.

During the war, the fog was heavy. Yet on the 21st of October in the year 1600, the fog lifted from the battlegrounds, allowing the battle to begin. Here, each commander had a number of men around 60,000. The Teppo-tai or matchlock gunners under Tokugawa, caused a great deal of damage as the battle commenced. Gunners coming from Mitsunari’s group also returned the shots which filled the entire valley with smoke.

Around 10 in the morning, Tokugawa’s forces slowly pushed back despite all the efforts made. It was the chance for Mitsunari’s troops, signaling for Kobayakawa, along with his 15,000 men, to attack.

Unfortunately, no attack occurred instead, Hideaki’s troops refused to attack their erstwhile allies and sat on the sidelines. They waited until Tokugawa’s units struck by directing his gunners to fire on the Mori.

Eventually, Kobayakawa commenced his attack, yet urged four other generals to defect to Tokugawa’s side. This caused the turncoats to fall on Ishida’s side, deciding the battle. By the end of it, a total of 40,000 warriors died, and Tokugawa emerged victoriously. Three years later, he became Japan’s Shogun.

Additional information

Very real looking! &ndash March 22, 2016

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I would recommend purchasing one of these rifles to anyone looking to have a little sense of history for a little price.

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First Japanese immigrant arrives in the U.S.

Called the U.S.&aposs first ambassador to Japan, a 14-year-old fisherman by the name of Manjiro is considered America&aposs first Japanese immigrant, arriving in the country on May 7, 1843, by way of a whaling ship.

According to the National Endowment of the Humanities, the boy and his crew were caught in a violent storm, with their ship eventually washing up on a desert island 300 miles away from their coastal Japanese village. Rescued five months later by an American whaling ship, Manjiro was adopted by American Capt. William Whitfield, who renamed him John Mung and brought him back to the states to his home in Massachusetts.

Manjiro eventually returned to Japan, where he was named a samurai and worked as a political emissary between his home country and the West, the NEH reports.

According to the National Museum of American History, it was about 20 years later, in the 1860s, when groups of Japanese immigrants began arriving in the Hawaiian islands, where they worked in sugarcane fields. From there, many relocated to California, Washington and Oregon.

From 1886 to 1911, the Library of Congress adds, 400,000-plus Japanese women and men immigrated to America, particularly to Hawaii and the West Coast. In commemoration of Manjiro’s early arrival, Congress, in 1992, established May as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 

Bow or yumi

&bull Features

Japanese bows or yumi, developed independently from the world trend, were long in total length and had an asymmetric form. The hard part of using yumi was to accommodate the different tensional forces of the bowstring as could been seen from the figure below. Archers had to develop matured techniques to get the most out of yumi as in the case with other Japanese weapons. In the traditional preference to long range combat, proficiency in the art of archery had been regarded as the exclusive feature of samurai along with the art of horse riding.

There were two kinds of shooting methods: shooting on horseback, and shooting while walking. And for samurai, the shooting on horseback was regarded as the most important skill. The rule was to reduce rapidly the distance to the enemy and shoot arrows at close range in the gaps under armor to make them out of action. The special technique required was the accuracy of shooting arrows from the horse running at full speed in quick succession. The shrine ritual called Yabusame was also meant to train the samurai archers shooting from the running horse.

The body of yumi evolved from a wood stick of an early date to composite yumi to yuge-yumi shown below in pursuit of higher repulsive force. Yuge-yumi is an ingenious mix of bamboo and wood sticks, and the current Japanese art of archery uses this type of yumi. The maximum shooting range of yuge-yumi was said to be 400 to 450 meters, and an effective range, 200 to 250 meters.

Bujinkan Maai Hyoshi Dojo

Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu is an authentic Japanese martial art, specialising in traditional and contemporary techniques, as taught by Soke Masaaki Hatsumi. It involves both unarmed and weapons training in a non-competitive environment with a focus on balance, body mechanics and personal development. Techniques can be adapted for modern street self defence. Training is low impact and suitable for both men and women over 18 years of age.

History of Ninjutsu


The history of ninjutsu is long and ancient. As it is next to impossible to say where, how, by who or from who ninjutsu was created, we find numerous theories and stories that tell tales of Chinese and Korean immigrants, shugenja (ascetics), Buddhist monks, Taoists, farmers, thieves, magicians, and other conjurers. Therein lay many interpretations based on different texts where information is easily confused and it becomes increasingly difficult to tell truth from falsehood.
Add as well the fact that the image of a warrior clad in black, popularized by the Japanese chan bara and American action films, that has inspired the imagination of more than one, is very recent in Japanese history. In fact, this popular image only first appeared in the years 1770-1780 in picture books. Associated with this is a blend of heroic legends, esoteric religious practices, stories of magic and invisibility, etc. that leads us to the charismatic image of the "super ninja spy". Of course, the real story is something else altogether.
1. Designations during the different periods.
In the study of the history of ninjutsu and the ninja, we need to forget about the idea of men dressed in black as well as the name attributed to them. The term ninja was first used in Buyô Benryaku, a work compiled in 1684 by Kinoshita Gishun, where we can read one of the first definitions of the ninja and his practice: "The ninja were people who knew how to conceal themselves at home as well as in other provinces. Among them, some knew techniques that allowed them to infiltrate secretly, any protected area…"

A detailed look at the facts presented in the Japanese military chronicles shows us that the ninja had different names depending on the period, region, and depending on his skills. The first names were Kansai and Kancho which signify espionage, meticulous search. During the Asuka period (592-710), under the reign of regent prince Shotoku Taishi (574-622), the term shinobi, made up of three Sino Japanese characters, is used. It can be translated by the following sentence: "The talent or capacity that allows one to realize his goals by seizing the opportune moment", or perhaps "The talent or capacity to master information". This name tells us that the ninja and his practice allowed him to employ all of his resources to assimilate and master knowledge in all its forms, as this was vital in times of war. Under the reign of emperor Tenmu (673-686), the most common name was Sokkan which signifies "He whose knowledge allows him to master space and the most confined corners". Here again, we must note that very early in Japanese history, those we will call ninja much later on, are always a part of the close entourage of a powerful lord or emperor.

In the treatise on military strategy and espionage written by Sun Tzu, introduced to Japan by Kibi Makibi (693-775), among the five categories of spies presented, Sun Tzu placed on a pedestal those who, in addition to being patient, clever and wise also possessed a vast amount of knowledge on warfare and espionage. This type of spy called Shokan, would be part of the inner circle of the general, who would in return compensate him generously.

The provinces of Iga and Koga (today's Mie and Shiga), thanks to their difficult positions of access and the fact that they escaped control of the neighboring provinces, became quickly known as the breeding ground for ninjutsu and the ninja. The most common name was Iga no mono (the men of Iga or those of Iga) and Koga no mono (the men of Koga or those of Koga). In certain chronicles we may also find the terms Iga shu and Koga shu which signify the group or band of Iga or Koga. One of the names that best illustrates the character of invisibility and the art of concealment in ninjutsu is the term Musoku bito, which mean "those who walk, to act without being seen, or without being able to see their legs". One of the technical terms in ninjutsu referring to the way of movement in combat with or without a weapons, is Musoku no ho, or ninja aruki-ho. The term Musoku no ho can be found in many schools of classical bujutsu whose traditions trace back to the Kage ryu.

During the Nara period (710-794) different characters were used to designate the ninja, but their reading was always the same. They were all read Ukami. The chronicles of the time give Ukami the meaning of Mawashi no mono, the prowler. Several centuries later with the emergence of the warrior class at the head of power and beginning with the warriors of the Kamakura period (1185-1333), the necessity to have a type of warrior experienced in diverse unorthodox techniques was of utmost importance. Therefore, those who would become known as the ninja represented the hidden end of the iceberg in every battle. In fact, they were capable of tipping the scales of battle in an instant by employing unorthodox methods that the warrior class of the Kamakura period had not yet created. In the annals of the bakufu of the Muromachi period (1392-1475), the term used to designate the ninja was kagimono hiki, "those who appear from the shadows".
It was during the Sengoku period (1477-1603), where as the result of sporadic war, that many lords looked to expand their hegemony and the services of the ninja became extremely sought after. Here, the names also became numerous and varied according to warlord, region, etc. One that best signifies the ninja and his practice was that of Kanja which can be translated as "man of the moment" or "man who slips between the cracks". This shows already that the value of the follower of ninjutsu was renowned for his exceptional and multidisciplinary talents that allowed him to handle any situation. In the Kanto region where the current capital of Japan, Tokyo is located, we find another type of ninja who operated within a group like an elite unit on the front lines that was sent in to create disorder and confusion. The chronicle relating to these historical events concerning the Hojo family, the Hojo Godai-ki, gives the terms Rappa, Seppa, and Suppa that hold the meaning "creating disorder and confusion" or "to infiltrate like a wave and to insight confusion". The term Shinobi no mono, "one who endures without showing himself", is also cited here.
The chronicle that recorded the military accomplishments of the Takeda family, the Koyo Gunkan, gives the term Kagimono hiki. The famous warlord Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582), well known for an unparalleled hatred towards the ninja of the Iga region and who would later crush them in 1580, had his own ninja called Kyodan, "those who hear the whispers". Even Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) used ninja who survived the battle of Iga, where most met a tragic end. He employed different ninja according to their respective skills and talents in order to control any risk of outburst during the Edo period (1603-1867). Some of the names used were Onmitsu secret agent of the bakufu, and Oniwaban guards that protected those close to the Tokugawa family and the quarters that were reserved for them in the castle. The Metsu-ke, acted as informers who brought back all types of information to avoid any kind of outburst and maintain peace. The Teppo-tai was a group that served as close protection for the shogun during his travels outside the castle walls. These groups would become the origin of the various police groups, the armed future that began to take shape during the Edo period.
2. History and Origins
The many names, appellations, and functions show how truly difficult it is to define the origin of ninjutsu. Moreover, with the mere utterance of the terms seen above and those over the course of the centuries, it becomes clear that ninjutsu is much more than a simple guerilla warfare technique or unorthodox style of combat, as there were many in Japan. Its diversity and complexity are the source of its creation as a method using orthodox means and techniques in non-orthodox ways.
This discipline devoted to survival, which will later be called ninjutsu, debuts as a vaguely defined counter-culture, a forced reaction against the dominant current of political, economic, and social traditions of Japan. Absorbing everything that would allow it to overcome any situation, it would withstand and accept the influences of many trends and sciences of combat introduced from abroad. All of this knowledge would be incorporated with the local knowledge of different warriors taking from their experiences of war, suffering, defeat, and in turn survival. Due to the inaccessibility of their geographic positions, the regions of Iga and Koga represented the ideal locations for cultural groups, dissidents, and warriors looking to avoid the political and economic powers of the time. It was between the 6th and 7th centuries, with the arrival of numerous immigrants from China and Korea, and with them new esoteric religious currents, that ninjutsu took on a multicultural façade while still maintaining its uniquely Japanese roots.
Slowly but surely with the rise of the warrior class, ninjutsu developed itself and eventually became the central element to ensure a victory or to control information. In every war we find a group of ninja or a single ninja operating in the shadows for the purpose of reestablishing equilibrium. The first historical appearance of the ninja was in the battle magari no jin in 1487 in the province of Koga where the lord Rokkaku Takayori was saved by a group of Koga ninja. Other battles would follow suit, always requiring the services of ninja. All of the warlords of Japan, emperors, and temples employed ninja. They also possessed an ability that the traditional warriors did not. In essence, they could terminate their contract or change sides at their discretion and most importantly, had complete freedom of movement. This was not the case for the bushi, as they were bound to their lord until the latter's death.
The battle of Iga, known under the name Iga no ran (1581), put an end to the autonomy of the large ninja families of Iga. This region, since long ago, had served refuge for dissidents, rebels, and other disenchanted warriors who wanted to live freely. Families such as the Hattori, Momochi, and Fujibayashi controlled the entire region of Iga, whereas Koga was controlled by more than 50 families of warrior descent. The schools of ninjutsu that were later created all came from the Iga ryu and Koga ryu as their technical base lay in a profound knowledge and science in the use of the body in combat. After the battle of Iga the remaining members of the last families such as the Hattori, took up posts with the Tokugawa. They previously saved Tokugawa by escorting him safely to his fief across Iga after the attack of Mitsuhide at Honno temple (1582) where Nobunaga met his end by committing seppuku. The help given by the Hattori family, by way of Hattori Hanzo (1543-1596), impressed Ieyasu to the point that he took them into his service, which would last all the way to the end of the Edo period. The battles of Sekigahara (1600) and the two campaigns against Osaka castle (1614) and Shimabara (1637) would prove to be the last battles in which the ninja partook. Their pragmatic technique and role survived adaptation to the new demands of the Edo period where a relative peace was installed by the Tokugawa family which would last right up to reopening of Japan to the outside world in 1868.
Today we can still find documents, weapons, tools, and writings presented to the public in several museums across Japan, though the best known are those in Iga (Mie prefecture) and Koga (Shiga prefecture). To the eyes of Japanese visitors or western passersby, all of the weapons, documents and writings maintain the myth of the infamous warrior that was the ninja.

Principle historical dates based on fact:
-1487, the battle of magari, magari no jin, first appearance of the ninja in battle against the lord Rokkaku Takayori for the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshihisa.
-1581, the Iga revolt, Iga no ran. Nobunaga Oda and an army of 46000 men invaded the province of Iga and executed its inhabitants. The surviving families such as the Hattori, Momochi, and Fujibayashi fled to other provinces like Ise, Kishu, and Mikawa.
-1582, Incident at Honno temple, Honnoji no hen. Fearing an attack by Mitsuhide Akechi, Tokugawa Ieyasu called upon the survivors of Iga, in particular Hattori Hanzo, who would escort him between the cities of Sakai and Mikawa.
-1600, the battle of Sekigara.
-1614, campaign against Osaka castle.
-1637, Shimabara rebellion in Kyushu. Last major military role played by the ninja. 10 among them infiltrated Hara castle where 40 000 Christian rebels were entrenched. They collected information on the troops and lived in the castle.
-1674, writing of the densho containing the uses and techniques of the ninja families of Iga and Koga called the Bansen shukai (Ocean of Ten Thousand Rivers) written by Fujibashi Yasutake, a descendent of an Iga family.

Russo-Japanese War Legacy

The costly and humiliating series of Russian defeats in the Russo-Japanese War left the Russian Empire demoralized, added to Russians’ growing anger at the failed policies of Czar Nicholas II, and would fan the flames of political dissent that ultimately resulted in the overthrow of the government during the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Although tensions in the region were far from over, the Russo-Japanese War did shift the balance of global power, marking the first time in modern history that an Asian nation had defeated a European one in military combat. It would also mark the beginning of warfare involving world powers in the Pacific region.

Watch the video: Matchlock Samurai in Action (December 2022).

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