The truth of Ninja -Ninja Encyclopedia-

Ninja's various Schools

Ninja schools apart from Iga and Kouga

As described so far, the main schools for Japanese ninjas were the (”EŽÒ) Iga (ˆÉ‰ê) and Kouga (b‰ê) schools. The era when ninjas flourished the most in Japan was the middle ages and the Warring States period. Even after the Edo-period started in Japan, many ninja schools started. Many ninjas came from the ruined Iga and Kouga schools but how about the others. Ifd like to introduce some ninja schools that existed in the contemporary age during the heyday of Iga and Kouga.

"Rappa" The Fuma-clan

Odawara castle

Odawara-castle,
the stronghold of
Houjou-Family

There have been many names given to ninjas. "Shinobi (”E )"," Ninsya (ƒjƒ“ƒVƒƒ) ", " Onmitsu (‰B–§) ", " Ninjutsusya (”Ep‰®) ", " Monomi (•¨Œ©) " to name but a few. It was only about 50 years ago that the nomenclature of ninja was unified into the world "ninja". Until then, the name ninja had changed depending on the area and era. After the Pacific War, some famous novelists called them "ninja"in their written works. Since then, the classic name for a Japanese spy has been "ninja". During the Warring States period in a place called Sagami (‘Š–Í) (Known as Kanagawa prefecture today q_“ސ쌧r ), the most common name of ninja was " Rappa (—”j) ". Then, the most famous Rappa were the " Fuma-clan (•—–‚ˆê‘°) ", and their most famous leader was Fuma Kotaro (•—–‚¬‘¾˜Y). The stronghold of the Fuma-clan was "Hakone (” ª) ", which is a mountainous area that is now famous for hot springs and sightseeing. They were under the protection of the@" Houjou-Family (–kðŽ) ". The Fuma-clan had termed as "Bandits" ,@"Pirates" , "Robbers" , and "Burglars". They were good at walking on the mountain paths so smoothly and silently without any light and were professionals at night attacks and invasions.
They were clever with their strategies. When the Fuma-clan fought a fierce battle with the gKoshu-Toppah, which were the Koshu (in Yamanashi prefecture " ŽR—œŒ§ " now) ninjas, they made some of their comrades creep into the Fuma-clan. Just after the Fuma-clan broke out from Kousyu, their boss Fuma Kotaro gathered all his members on a river and Kotaro made them sit down right there. Then suddenly Kotaro shouted Fuma's secret question while swinging a torch so abruptly everyone stood up. Certainly, Kousyu-suppa who did not know the answer, could not answer and stand up.
Right away, all of them were slayed. This was both a simple and effective way to distinguish their enemies and real members immediately.

 

"Suppa" in "Kai"

Takeda Shingen

Takeda Shingen,
famed as the
strongest Daimyo

"Kai (b”ã) " is the same place as Kousyu, which had been the classical land name of Yamanashi Prefecture today.
" Suppa (“§”g) " means ninja especially in Iga, Kouga, and Kai. Originally, the meaning of Suppa indicated " to outwit " in ancient Japanese. This word still remains in Japan as a slang and according to a certain theory, Suppa is the etymology of "spy " in English. The speciality of suppa in Kai compared with other ninja schools was that Suppa had an ample commercial network. The master of Suppa in Kai was the Takeda-Family (•“cŽ) and Takeda-family had been outstanding at trade.
First of all, the headquarters of the Takeda-Family were located on a basin in a mountain district, they needed to make a deal exchanging their own specialities and products of both land and sea through commerce. Salt was especially an indispensable product for the people of Kai living in the mountain range. Therefore, the trade route of salt in Kai had developed so much. The Takeda-Family taken advantage of such networks as much as possible. They dispatched many Suppa to domains surrounding Kai, and gathered a lot of advantageous information. The Takeda-Family scouted and adopted the talented people as Suppa in various social classes, for example from Samurai (Ž˜), Yamabushi (ŽR•š) and even merchants and farmers. At its peak,the school of Suppa was composed of 200 elites. What they did was these three activities, espionage, strategy, and counterespionage. Daimyos (‘å–¼) were terrified of the Suppa around Kai because they had not only stolen information, but also committed arson, performed surprising raids, and even made hostile spies betray their lords.

" Sanka " in modern Japan

A couple of Sanka working together

A couple of Sanka,
working together

Here is a group without a lot of undeniable proof about their ninja school but they were certainly very interesting. Since around 1930 in Japan, certain groups began having attention paid to them. They were called " Sanka (ŽRâ|) " and they didnft settle down in the same place for long which was unusual for Japanese, and they wandered from mountain to mountain. They set up tents and lived by catching fishes. At the places they stayed, they often committed theft and shoplifted. It is said that there were 200,000 at the time of their peak but this view is not substantiated because Sanka people had neither any records nor family registers. One thing man can say is that, they kept vanishing every year and today they almost extinct because in the age of Pacific War they were forcibly given family records and drafted into the force. Even after war, they became ordinary citizens because of the administrative guidance. By the way, it can be considered that Sanka had strong relationships with the schools of ninjas. Perhaps they may have been connected with ninja because we can find a lot of points in common between Sanka and ninja.
At first, the knife Sanka uses, named "Umegai " was a look-alike for "Kunai (‹ê–³) " which was a weapon used by ninjas. Sanka called their leaders "Rappa" ,"Suppa", "Toppa (“Ë”j) ". These are the names of ninja schools. They also used a lot of language that ninjas did too. Above all, Sanka had excellent coordination and physical abilities and they excelled at theft collectively with good leadership like ninjas. As already described many times, ruined ninjas belonged to the group " The untouchables ", which were not included in any social status so it is possible to think that in the Edo-period when many ninjas could get jobs, they ran away deep into the mountains
Such places were originally their bases of life so it would be easy for them to live there. Many ninjas and other untouchable people may have joined and they would have survived until the modern age by utilizing the skills of ninjas. It seems sad a little bit that the end of ninja was as an untouchable but this may have been a suitable destiny for ninjas who had an " unexpected fate " .