During their time, ninjas were feared by many as assassins in the night. Ninjas encouraged the dark rumors about themselves to wield intimidation as a weapon against their enemies.
Not everyone in the era was terrified of ninjas though:
Oda Nobunaga could be considered the greatest enemy that ninjas ever had.
Oda was a feudal lord of the 16th century (Sengoku period) who had gained notoriety for his brutal methods of handling any opposition.
While he did display clever military strategies at times, his rule was marred with very savage behavior.
Oda Nobunaga truly began to focus on ninjas after he realized that many of their communities were far too independent and self-governing, more so than he would like. This made it difficult for him to seize power. He then began to claim that he was going to unify Japan and initiated a campaign to conquer both Iga and Koga territories.
These lands were home to some of the most famous ninjas in history.
His desire to see these ninjas destroyed was amplified after the Iga ninjas burned his castle to the ground. The ninjas had gained reconnaissance by planting agents among the construction crew. Then they constructed a strategy to infiltrate and destroy the location by using the intel they had gathered.
This occurrence inflamed Nobunaga. He was so distraught and not thinking clearly that he immediately launched an all-out assault against the home of the ninja. Making your opponent blind with rage, causing them to make mistakes was a classic ninja tactic.
Oda Nobunaga was once again defeated as the ninja fighters performed a pincer attack by flanking the rear of the Nobunaga Army. Ninjas launched projectiles and fired arrows from cover while other forces performed the pincer attack.
Oda Nobunaga managed to survive and escape from the ninja trap.
Oda Nobunaga finally managed to avenge his defeat in 1581 when he led a large force, nearly 10 times the size of the ninja army, to attack Iga province. Due to many ninjas betraying their own kind and siding with Nobunaga, Oda managed to win the day and destroy the ninja base of operations.
Though Oda Nobunaga was the one to finally defeat the Iga ninjas, he had to hire other ninjas to assist him in accomplishing in this endeavor.
Do you think he could have achieved this victory against ninjas without hiring other ninjas?