History of Ninjas
There are various versions of how the ninjas got started. Some place the beginning of the ninjas into the 7th and 8th centuries AD when groups of ascetics lived in the mountains around Nara and Kyoto. They were influenced by the Chinese and practiced a blend of esoteric Buddhism and Shintoism. These ascetic mountain warrior monks were called the Yamabushi and they were known for having mystical powers. They fought on different sides of the different wars in Japan, until their order was put to an end during the latter part of the 16th century. It is possible that they heavily influenced the ninjas.
Having said all this, in discussing the ninjas, it is hard to distinguish between what is fact and what is fiction. Some historians have the historicity of the ninjas, claiming that much of the “tradition” is late Tokugawa or even modern invention. This is really hard to judge. The purported secrecy of the old ninjas means that there are very few written records about them from earlier times. Much of what is written is full of embellishments and I guess, any real ninja of that period would not want to leave an accurate record of what they were, as they depended on people being murky about what they did and how they did it. After all, if your main goal is inflitration and espionage, you are not going to want to spread information about yourself and are very happy when people think you have more powers than you actually have. Given the fact that we have very limited primary information on the ninjas, it is very likely that the image of the ninja that we have is skewed. Modern ninjutsu, even if it is based on ancient traditions, is a product of evolution and reflects as much the modern world as much as it does the ancient world. Things change and evolve and what we sometimes hold as old traditions, are sometimes in fact modern constructs.
The Nagatonokami Fujibayashi Clan was 1 of the 3 most famous ninja clans in Japan. This picture was taken by Dr. Hirohisa Oda, the author of “Real Ninja”, while he was doing his research on the history of Ninja’s and Ninjutsu.
Ninjas Secret History of the Ninja Uncovered Full Documentary
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