The History and Legacy of Ninjas in Medieval Japan

TLDR Ninjas, or shinobi, played a crucial role in medieval Japan's warfare, specializing in espionage, infiltration, and unconventional guerrilla warfare. Despite their decline in the late 16th century, the art of ninjutsu is still practiced today and continues to intrigue people around the world.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 Ninjas, or shinobi, were not as powerful as popular culture portrays them to be, and their origins and history are shrouded in mystery.
01:56 Ninjutsu was developed in Japan as a form of unconventional guerrilla warfare, covering a wide range of subjects including espionage, infiltration, and training in weapons, with assassinations being a secondary function.
03:38 The samurai class looked down on ninjas, but relied on them for their ability to engage in dishonorable and underhanded activities during warfare, making ninjas an indispensable part of medieval Japan's warfare between warlords.
05:21 The golden age of ninjas, which produced famous figures like Ishikawa Goemon and Hattori Hanzo, came to an end in the late 16th century when warlord Oda Nabunaga attacked and ended the Iga ninja clan, leading to a change in the role of ninjas as bodyguards and spies.
07:12 Ninjutsu never died out completely and is still practiced today by the last known ninja, Jinnichi Kawakami, who believes that the art of ninjutsu has no place in the modern age due to advancements in technology and medicine.
09:06 Throwing stars were primarily used as distractions in ninja fights, and while ninjas did not use straight swords like those seen in movies, they did use curved swords similar to katanas, and they had techniques to temporarily blind their enemies, but they would have used gunpowder if it was available, and despite the last known ninja's decision not to have anyone follow in his footsteps, a ninjutsu tradition may still continue through the world's first ninja research center and the discovery of a lost book on ninjutsu.
10:58 Ninjas were primarily spies, saboteurs, and propagandists who were given the jobs that samurai didn't want to do.
Categories: History Education

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