The truth of Ninja -Ninja Encyclopedia-

How Ninja lives a life everyday

The relationship between ninjas and their communities

As already described, the society of ninjas was stern for each ninja. Iga was particularly strict tying individual ninjas up with strict rules and hierarchical relationships. If one searched for a similar society to Iga in world history, it would have to be the likes of the Spartans in ancient Greek that was comparable. In societies such as these, the people within lived quite rigid lives and their value was in the contribution they made to the group as a whole, children were given a rigid education that shaped them into useful citizens.
But, needless to say, individual ninjas lived their own lives.
Letfs look at how ninjas lived their day to day lives.

The construction of ninja lands

A castle city

A castle city

In both Iga (ɉ) and Kouga (b), the layout of the land consisted of lots of small castles surrounded by a vast array of fields that ran all the way to mountainous zones. In the centre of fields, a ninjas house would stand. The function of castles in Iga and Kouga in the Warring States period was in contrast to the Edo-period. In the Edo-period, basically one castle stood in one domain. A big city existed around the castle and outside of the city, fields spread and of course, lords of the domain lived in the castle. In short, the castle was the center of the domain both in terms of the function and as a symbol. On the other hand, in the land of ninjas, castles were no more than bases for protection. That is the reason why there were multiple castles in one land. It meant that ninja masters did not concentrate activities to one central point. Based on this strategy, it is possible to scatter the fighting and damage in wars. Under such a structure, castles can be forfeited in war as they never hold all people or power, so long as all the castles are not taken then the fight can still go on.


The marriage of Ninjas

Basically, being a ninja ran in the family. In the middle ages, people usually didnft have the freedom to choose whom they married nor the jobs they did and ninjas were no exception. Ninjas married women selected by their mentors. Naturally, sons of ninjas had to live a life of a ninja. The most important thing about the marriage of ninjas was to train talented boys into becoming ninjas. In the case of a ninja couple that could not get blessed with children, they adopted boys. The critical thing was to keep the line of the ninjas going.
If they were married it was handy because people were less likely to suspect them of being a ninja. The appearance of a family unit did not go hand in hand with the image that people would have had of ninjas so in this respect, wives and children of ninjas were very important.


The life of a ninja and a ninjafs family demanded sacrifice and commitment to their community.

A ninjas salary

coins in Warring States period

Coins in Warring States period

As the activities of a ninja required special skills, naturally a ninja could get rewarded. In the middle ages when ninjas flourished most, a monetary economy had not been established in Japanese society yet. Even in the Edo-period, the economy system depended upon two features that were money and rice. It is thought that in middle ages, the compensation for ninjas was supply of goods and honor as a respectable ninja. In those days, in the deep mountains especially where ninjas lived, people could live their lives self-sufficiently. Private property did not have a large value there because if ninjas could get a lot of cash, they did not have much opportunity to use it.
There is an interesting reference example regarding ninjas and payment. In 1582, Tokugawa, Ieyasu ( ƍN)- who began the Edo-shogunate in 1603- was helped by some Iga ninjas organized by Hattori, Hanzou ( ), to pass Iga, which was the site of a furious battle in those days. After Ieyasu came back to his home castle, he paid 1000 kans to 200 Iga-ninjas to accommodate them. 1,000 Kans is the equivalent to about 1 million dollars today. So, it can be thought that the price of one ninja was worth about 5000 dollars. As ninjas lived so frugally, such a small amount of money could cover all living expenses.
This price may have been so cheap because ninjas had to risk their lives on each of their missions. Ninjas living in the Edo-period got worse treatment than the ones before them. In the Edo-period, ninjas were regarded as lower samurais. Back then, their annual salary was about $36,000 dollars a year. When they completed a big job, they could get a bonus. The more peaceful a society became, the more the big jobs diminished. Almost all ninjas lived their lives frugally with their families.
It can be said that ninjas were not compensated enough given what they did.