The truth of Ninja -Ninja Encyclopedia-

The Organization of Ninja

What kind of organizations existed for ninjas

The castle in Iga

The castle in Iga

First of all, as long as there were a variety of ninja schools, the form of the ninja organizations would not be uniform. In other words, the systems of the ninja's associations were equal in quantity to the number of factions. Stated plainly, there were two types of setups in the ninja organizations. One was a kind of vertical society which was fixed by a strict class system. The other was a horizontal society. The representative of the former was "Iga (ˆÉ‰ê) ", and the typical later organization was represented by "Koga (b‰ê) " .
Firstly, the society of "Iga" will be introduced.

Three positions which compose the hierarchical relationship

In the Middle ages, Japan was separated into many domains. Among those domains, "Iga" was especially independent and exclusive. Iga was united with its temples and shrines and it was against with the Japanese central authority of "Shoguns («ŒR) ". This was the daybreak of the ninja group in Iga. The organization of ninjas living in Iga had three statuses. They were "Jonin (ã”E) ", " Chunin"(’†”E) " and "Genin (‰º”E) ", in order of social class. In the middle ages, including the Warring States period in Japan, the difference among those three statuses depended on only the ability of the ninja. The ninjas who belonged to Jonin had connections with each other. Similarly, the Chunin and Genin ninjas also had this connection.
Although Chunins and Genins were separate entities, they did work in unity. As relationships can fluctuate, an obligation of absolute obedience arises. That is to say, Chunins had to follow the Jonins and Genins had to obey the Chunins too. Likewise in addition to such a hierarchy, these three statuses divided into two classes. They were " Yonin (—z”E) " and " Innin"(‰A”E) " .
Yonins mainly took charge of the intellectual side, whereas Innins mostly undertook manual labor.

 

In the case of Koga

A mountain in Kouga

A mountain in Kouga

Koga also had a strong independence like Iga in the middle ages but the form of the ninja organization in Koga was in contrast to that of Iga. Koga's organization has a social mobility. In short, in the Koga organization, members often came in and out of the community. The main reason was because of the location of Koga. The land of Koga is comparatively plane and additionally, Kouga is close to Kyoto (‹ž“s) and Oumi (‹ß]) which represented the capital of Japan and a famous commercial city. As many types of people and information came in and out of Koga, some people hoped to join the Koga ninja's organization and some Koga ninjas defected from the union in order to get fame outside of Kouga. The structure of Koga's organization was much looser than that of Iga. As Iga is surrounded by mountains, people and information going in and out was rare.
For that reason, Iga's community had to be governed strictly.

What the most important thing for Ninja's organizations

By the way, Iga and Koga are next-door to each other geographically, and each type of organization was the exact opposite so were Iga and Koga on bad terms with each other?
No way! They were great friends. The evidence is that they often cooperated with each other and performed common missions together. They often exchanged information with each other and it even happened that one military commander hired some ninjas from both Iga and Koga. So at the ninja's organizations, how were important rules decided? Unexpectedly, it was very democratic. In Iga, there were 12 leader houses and in Koga there were 53. Both in Iga and Koga, the standpoint and rules of their organizations were decided in detail by consultation among leaders.
This was a device to not let power be concentrated on one person. So what was the most precious thing for a ninja's organization? It was certainly the continuation of their communities. The relationship between ninja's organizations and their lords involved a lot of "Give and Take ".
Ninja's organizations supplied ninjas as espionage personnel to their masters, and the masters gave them protection from not being invaded by another powerful clan. For this reason, each ninja would be put into situations that were not alwats their choosing therefore it was often the case with the organization that it forced ninjas to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. A ninja had a strong sense of duty and accepted any kind of order from his organization. If he refused the command, he would be punished or ostracized in his village. It meant that he couldnft live there any more.

What became of ninja's organizations after the Edo-period?

In 1603, Tokugawa,Ieyasu (“¿ì ‰ÆN) united Japan and he started the Edo-shogunate k]ŒË–‹•{). At last, the peaceful age had come to Japan but by then almost all of the ninja organizations had been destroyed by powerful Daimyos (‘å–¼) and Shoguns. The fate of each ninjas was divided into the heavens and the earth. As already described, in the middle ages, a ninja's status was separated into three positions but such a distinction was only valid in the ninja's communities, moreover it basically only depended on the abilities of each ninja. However in the Edo period, these classes were fixed as real social status. For example, some ninjas who used to belong to a Jonin could be regarded as a " samurai-class (•Žm) " person even in the Edo period. They could be engaged in suitable jobs as a Samurai (Ž˜), like a watchman of Edo-castle (]ŒËé) .
Many ninjas who belonged to lower classes like a Genin were deprived their social status and were forced to live as "an Untouchable ".
They were like Gypsies in Europe. Some became street-performers, and the others gave up on the world and lived together deep in the mountains. In the worse case, ruined ninjas formed groups of thieves and made their living by doing crimes.