The truth of Ninja -Ninja Encyclopedia-

Ninja of Legend Fuma Kotaro

The ninja who could wear various images

No Ninja is interpreted in colorful ways in fiction more than Fuma Kotaro (•—–‚ ¬‘Ύ˜Y). For instance, in novels, comics, and games the ninja characters in history have characteristics that are quite defined. The role of Hattori Hanzo (•ž•””Ό‘ ) is generally always as the boss of ninja groups and Sarutobi Sasuke (‰Ž”ς ²•) is on the whole a young, active and orthodox ninja. Fuma Kotaro though has various type of characters. Sometimes Kotaro is portrayed as a bad guy, a rat, and as an artist. At other times he is a babyface, nice guy, and leader of a ninja community.
What is the reason for this phenomenon? It is because the legend of Kotaro is very mysterious. There are some possibilities that the ninja Fuma Kotaro did not exist because there is only one historical document which describes about Kotaro as a ninja. It is " Hojo-Godaiki (–kπŒά‘γ‹L) " in which stories about the Hojo-family (–kπŽ) are written. The Hojo-family was a Daimyo (‘ε–Ό) under whom Kotaro worked. It is quite natural that we do not have many records about ninjas so I am going to tell you about Fuma Kotaro as a ninja according to the historical documents available.

Kanto District in the Warring States period

Hojo Ujimasa

Hojo Ujimasa(–kπ Ž­)

for whom Kotaro worked under

The Hojo-family were the Daimyos who governed Kanto (ŠΦ“Œ) in the Warring States period. In those days after the death of Oda Nobunaga (D“c M’·), the Hojo-family had the biggest property in all of Japan second to Toyotomi Hideyoshi (–Lb G‹g). Eventually, the Hojo-family were destroyed by Hideyoshi in 1590, in the peak period of the Hojo-family, they developed strife with the Takeda-family (•“cŽ) and Uesugi (γ™Ž) over Kanto. Kanto is the one of the most important lands in Japan because it is almost at the center of Japan and it has both sea and fields for cultivation. Later on, Tokugawa, Ieyasu (“Ώμ ‰ΖN) started the Edo-Shogunate (]ŒΛ–‹•{) right there and it it eventually came to be know as Tokyo. As the Takeda-family also had strong ninja groups called " Suppa (“§”j) ", fierce intelligence warfare was brought there.

The leader of the Fuma-clan, " Fuma Kotaro (•—–‚ ¬‘Ύ˜Y) "

The name " Fuma Kotaro (•—–‚ ¬‘Ύ˜Y) " does not necessarily show one person, it is the name of the leader of the " Fuma-clan (•—–‚ˆκ‘°) ". The system where the same name is used for generations is the same as that for " Hattori Hanzo (•ž•” ”Ό‘ ) " in Iga (ˆΙ‰κ). In one hundred years of history for the Hojo-family, the ones that are the most famous and generally known are Fuma Kotaro of the fifth generation and the ninja groups led by Kotaro called " Rappa (—”j) ".
In accordance with the document, the appearance of the fifth Kotaro was really surprising. His height was 2.2m, his muscles were uneven with lots of gnarls. His head was extremely long with a tall nose and a beard all around his face. His eyes were split at the top, his mouth was ripped to his ears with four sharp fangs like a beast. His voice was deep enough to reach 5km around him. The description is like a devil from a hell but this hideous expression can be understood by means of considering the fact that Kotaro was the head of ninja groups which are good at guerrilla warfare. For Kotaro's betterment, it is favorable if he looks terrifying because the enemies would feel a lot of fear of Kotaro's troops. In a lucky case, the hostile armies would overestimate Kotaro's combat efficiency.
The legend of Kotaro was one of creating perception, it did not matter how Kotaro really behaved or looked.

The reality of Kotaro's ninja troops the " Fuma-clan "

The " Fuma-clan " was basically a group whose members were originally outlaws like lordless samurais or bandits. So, comparing them with other ninja groups, the Fuma-clan was inclined to lack morals. They were good at night attacks and surprising raids and in their operations, it is said that they always exterminated enemies. They probably trained on the steep mountain paths watching objects even in the darkness. Their military achievements appear especially in the battle with the Takeda-family. Members of the Fuma-clan often invaded the territories of Takeda troops and considerably disturbed enemies. They slashed at enemies from their back, released bound horses, set everything on fire, shed false rumors in the campsc. Through their activities, soldiers of Takeda began to attack those on their own side. When the next morning came, the bodies of Takeda troops were scattered all around on the ground. The record says that on the rainy and clear night and on the windy and clear night, Kotarofs troops devastated the territories of Takeda.
In guerrilla warfare, the most important thing is escaping from enemies. Kotaro was well informed about fire and could use the ninjutsu method (”Ep) called " Enton-no-jutsu (‰Œ“ق̏p) ". He utilized smoke screens in flight and was never captured. The Fuma-Clan worked out techniques for distinguishing allies from enemies by standing and sitting repeatedly taking a role call. Thanks to this habit, in the case of a hostile ninja creeping into Rappa, they were soon identified and were killed in a flash.

 

The end of the Fuma-Clan

As soon as the Hojo-Family had been defeated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Kotaro organized groups of thieves with his old ninjas comrades and looted all around Kanto. Even after the peaceful Edo period had begun, Kotaro formed groups of bandits, pirates,and burglars and continued this lawless conduct. Although Kotaro and his companions gave the greatest fear to people in Edo, their end was all too soon. Another thief, who used to be a ninja like Kotaro tipped Kotaro off to some public servants. Kotaro was soon arrested and executed. It was a disappointing end for a monster ninja.