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The Bansenshukai or Book of Ninja is a compilation of Ninjutsu knowledge passed down through the ages. It’s an exciting and informative book that gives us a clear view into the world of ninjas during the Tokugawa Period.
The name Bansenshukai means: “All rivers merge into the sea.” Ninja’s identities were kept secret and Shinobi could be from almost any walk of life, anything from street entertainers to merchants. All these people shared a bond of loyalty to their art: Ninjutsu.
This book covers so many amazing topics! Here’s a quick rundown of the main ones:
How to think and reason about the issues of ninja life. In this chapter, we learn how the Shinobi examine a new member for being a double spy, how to divulge information, discover conspiracy and what to do with those who surrender.
Two words: military strategy. It contains info on constructing different sorts of fires, protecting against enemy plans, how to take advantage of rainfall for night attacks, 5 methods for identifying disguised Shinobi and so much more!
Yo-jutsu and In-jutsu make up Ninjutsu. Yo-jutsu is infiltrating in plain sight and In-jutsu is “stealing in” or hiding from people’s eyes.
The art of hiding in plain sight using disguises, skill, knowledge about the local area, using secret signs and marks and even faking marriage. It also includes many instructions for undercover female agents, “worm agents” (as in parasites/ double agents), and undercover ninjas masquerading as locals, to name a few topics.
The art of getting in unseen. This portion goes over using the weather to your advantage, using grappling hooks and ladders, being able to think on your feet and change your plan quickly, the best times for stealing in, using diversions, establishing signals to communicate with your squad, how to determine your enemy’s sleep schedule and how to build elaborate traps.
This part of the Book of Ninja talks about the more mystical skills. Astronomy and astrology were utilized to predict the weather, tell time and aid in the ninja’s strategy.
This chapter has many descriptions and instructions about making and using grappling hooks, various ladders, bridges, rafts, digging tools, lock picking and opening aids, silent sandals, body warmers, glue, collapsible bridges, fake walls, and a bunch of fire building recipes (including a waterproof torch which is just the coolest thing ever.)
Other topics include engaging and withdrawing from conflict, horses, weapons, cooking and remedies for common physical problems.
This book is awesome! If you can’t get enough of ninjas and Ninjutsu, I highly recommend this book! It’s a fascinating way to spend an afternoon (or several)! I hope you enjoy getting a look into the life of one of the most well-trained military forces in history!
Bansenshukai: The Book of Ninja. It’s name means “All rivers flow into the sea.”
Shinobi: Another word for ninja.
Ninjutsu: The art of the ninja. Divided into yo-jutsu and in-jutsu
Yo-jutsu: The art of infiltrating the enemy in plain sight.
In-jutsu: The art of getting in unseen.
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