Ninja: Unmasking the Myth

Ninja: Unmasking the Myth

by Stephen Turnbull

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This history of the ninja uncovers the truth behind the image—from the exploits of medieval ninjas to their modern incarnation as pop culture icons.
The ninja is a legendary figure in Japanese military culture, a fighter widely regarded as the world’s greatest expert in secret warfare. The word alone conjures the image of a masked assassin dressed in black, capable of extraordinary feats of daring; a mercenary who disposes of enemies by sending sharp iron stars spinning towards them. This is, of course, a popular myth, based on exaggerations and Hollywood movies. But the truth, as Stephen Turnbull explains in Ninja, is even more fascinating.

A leading expert on samurai culture, Turnbull presents an authoritative study of ninja history based on original Japanese sources, many of which have never been translated before. These include accounts of castle attacks, assassinations and espionage, as well as the last great ninja manual, which reveals the spiritual and religious ideals that were believed to lie behind the ninja’s arts.
Turnbull’s critical examination of the ninja phenomenon ranges from undercover operations during the age of Japan’s civil wars to the modern emergence of the superman ninja as a comic book character. The book concludes with a detailed investigation of the ninja in popular culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781473850439
Publisher: Pen & Sword Books Limited
Publication date: 11/30/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 254,656
File size: 18 MB
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About the Author

Stephen Turnbull took his first degree at Cambridge and has two MAs (in Theology and Military History) from Leeds University. In 1996 he received a PhD from Leeds for his thesis on Japans ‘Hidden Christians. In its published form the work won the Japan Festival Literary Award in 1998. Having lectured widely in East Asian Studies and Theology he is now retired and holds the honorary positions of Lecturer Emeritus at Leeds University, Research Associate at SOAS and Visiting Professor of Japanese Studies at Akita International University. His expertise, including an extensive picture library, has helped with numerous media projects including the award-winning computer strategy game Shogun Total War, and in 2010 he acted as Historical Adviser to Universal Pictures for the movie 47 Ronin. Tanaka 1587 is his 80th book to be published.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

1 The Universal Ninja 1

2 The Elusive Ninja 21

3 Iga and Koka 36

4 Koka and Iga 57

5 The Pacification of Iga 62

6 The Shaking of Koka 77

7 The Shogun's Shinobi 87

8 Ninjutsu in Black and White 96

9 The Magic of Ninjutsu 115

10 The Enduring Ninja 122

11 The Shinobi Awakes 137

12 Enter the Ninja 151

13 A Star is Born 166

14 Selling the Shinobi 173

15 The Exemplary Ninja 182

Notes 193

Bibliography 217

Index 227

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