Real ninjas (also known as “shinobi”) used a variety of special tools, many of which were useful when the ninja needed to infiltrate a castle or other fortified area–either for purposes of assassination or for other acts of espionage.Read more
Ninja Architecture, Part 3: Moving Panels & Secret Lofts
My research trip to the Iga Ninja Museum involved a tour of the “ninja house,” a recreation which features some of the secret panels and hiding places common in medieval shinobi (ninja) homes. (The “headless woman” is our guide, who asked the little ninja to demonstrate the panel–to his delight, and his pink-ninja sister’s obvious envy.) These rotating panels added to the shinobi’s mystique, and fueled the legends that said a master ninja could “turn to smoke” or “vanish” at will. The ninjas really did disappear in an instant…but through a rotating panel or trapdoor, not by turning into smoke. (Would have gotten away with it,Read more
How Did Real Ninjas Train?
You’ve seen the modern, pajama-clad ninjas featured on everything from movie screens to coffee mugs… Real ninja activity reached its apex during the 16th century (the reason I chose that setting for my Shinobi Mystery series), and the two most powerful ninja clans had strongholds in the mountainous regions of Iga and Koga, which lie within the Kansai region, close to Kyoto, Nara, and the other traditional capitals of Japan. I traveled to Iga on my recent research trip to Japan, and rode the “ninja train” to Iga village. There, I visited the Iga Ninja Museum and Ninja House, where a varietyRead more