In the city of Koka in Shiga Prefecture — also known as a “ninja village” — a written copy of the original, famous book on the art of ninja, “Karinseiyo,” has been discovered at a local shrine.
Professor Michifumi Isoda of the International Research Center for Japanese Studies stated during a press conference on June 19 that, “The book, which we knew existed but had never been located just like a ninja, appeared,” reported The Mainichi.
The original work is reportedly from the Edo period (1603-1867) and is the original source of “Bansenshukai.”
Ninja, also known as shinobi, were spies highly trained in what would later become known as “ninjutsu,” or the art of the ninja.
With specializations in disguise, deception and anonymity, ninjas were often hired as spies or assassins. They were distinct from samurai, who were regarded with much more prestige and honor.
When the demand for ninjas declined during times of peace, illustrated manuals were written to maintain the martial art’s traditions.
The most famous of the guides was the “Bansenshukai” by Fujibayashi Samuji in 1676 CE.
The copy that was found allegedly had the words “military law Kanrinseiyo middle volume” on the cover, suggesting that there is also a first and last volume to be found.
Some components of the book include methods of moving silently, such as attaching layers of silk fabric to the bottom of straw sandals. Other types of ninjutsu included attacking to the right when surrounded by a large number of enemies and throwing charred owl and turtle powder when hiding.
The book also included manufacturing and ninjutsu tool instructions for weapons such as cane swords and “makibishi,” the Japanese version of the caltrop.
Professor Ishoda expressed his high hopes for the book, describing how it may lead to better understandings of the science and technology of the Edo period as well as broader knowledge on ninjas.