The truth of Ninja -Ninja Encyclopedia-


Tool of "Dentatsu-jutsu" " Goshiki-Mai"

Goshiki-Mai (ܐF)

Goshiki-Mai (ܐF)

As described in a previous article, ninjas have some skills for transmitting important information to their comrades or lords. They are called " dentatsu-jutsu (`Bp) " . We are going to view only a part of dentasu-jutsu here. " Goshiki-Mai (ܐF) " is one of the " dentatsu-jutsu (`Bp) ". In Japanese, " goshiki " means five colors and "Mai" means rice. Firstly, ninjas prepared five types of rice, which were painted with several colors. They were blue, yellow, red, black, and purple. Ninjas put goshiki-mai on inconspicuous places like roadsides. Through the combination of the color and numbers of each goshiki-mai, ninjas could make codes. When their companions saw the goshiki-mai, they would understand what the ninja who put the goshiki-mai wanted to say. It is said that the combinations of goshiki-mai could express more than one hundred meanings. Although it must have been a hard task for ninjas to learn all the codes of goshiki-mai, ninjas could probably express almost anything about important information through goshiki-mai. Goshiki-mai was not eaten by birds because of they were painted. It can be said that goshiki-mai was a useful and expressive tool for those days.

Other methods of delivery about information

We can find the ways that ninjas let their members receive precious information. Ninjas knew a lot of rope knots, the shape of the rope knots would substitute for words. For instance, in accordance with the knot of a rope, it could express a message such as " I have already got the secret of the enemy " or " In the hostile house, be careful of a trap " . Usually, the rope was hung just in front of a signal house, the enemies of the ninjas and outsiders never understood the meaning of the hanging rope. Similarly, stones and tree branches were used as means of code. The combination of stones and branches could have meaning too.
Ninjas wrote letters and when they did, the words used in the letter were completely in code. They also used characters that only ninjas could read.
The key point about ninja codes was that the meaning of the information could only be understood by their comrades and could never be noticed by the enemy.