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Homma Saburo had actually changed his sleeping room, but Kumawaka found it out, and was about to rush upon him when he remembered that he had not actually got a sword of his own, a strange omission for an assassin. Realising that he would have to do the deed with Saburo's own sword, he was concerned that the light burning in the room would awaken him when Kumawaka attempted to draw it from its scabbard.

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The means he used to prevent this happening would have done credit to any ninja Thereupon he set a door ajar, so that the insects entered in swarms, quickly putting out the light. Kumawaka slowly drew Saburo's sword. He held the point of the blade to his victim's chest, kicked the pillow away and drove the sword into his body. Kumawaka's subsequent escape to safety is also in true ninja style:.

He thought to jump across the moat, yet in no wise might he do it, for it was six yards wide and more than ten feet deep. But then he climbed nimbly to the top of a black bamboo growing above the water, saying, T will cross by making a bridge of this. Ninja in the age of war The pivotal event in samurai history was the Onin War, which lasted from until It began over a succession dispute for the shogunate within the ruling Ashikaga family. It was a war that was fought with fire and starvation as much as with sword and bow, and it devastated both the capital city of Kyoto and the prestige of the shogun.

The fighting quickly spread to the provinces and ushered in a period of a century and a half of war called the Sengokujidai - the Age of Warring States. The rival warlords called themselves daimyo, 'great names', and ninja were among the devices by which their wars were waged.

For example, in the Chugoku chiranki, which deals with the fighting in western Japan, we read: 'The Amako were encamped on Aoyama Mitsukayama, and shinobi soldiers were sent from the Mori side, who cut their way through the enemy army on the mountain. We must, however, distinguish between the expert ninja, who passed their traditions on to their descendants, of which the Iga ninja are the best example, and others who were no more than brigands hired temporarily as spies or ordinary samurai given a secret operation.

Ninja were often mistrusted by their own allies, and their actions were sometimes perceived as no more than theft or revenge disguised as important operations. However, when taken along as hired mercenaries within an army, ninja were treated with respect, as related in OuEihei Gunki, in the section dealing with the fall of Hataya casde in Within Hataya castle there was a glorious shinobi whose skill was renowned, and one night he entered the enemy camp secretly.

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He took the flag from Naoe Kanetsugu's guard Temmago Zamon and returned and stood it on a high place on the front gate of the castle. The ninja of Iga and Koga The most celebrated 'professional' ninja were of course the mercenaries of Iga and Koga, whose lives and activities will fill most of this book. They were hired and used by rival daimyo from about to , when a dramatic attack on their province curtailed their activities.

So rapid and devastating was this onslaught that there was no time for the inhabitants to deploy ninja techniques. Instead they fought like ordinary samurai in bloody pitched battles. The invasion of Iga was carried out by the daimyo Oda Nobunaga, who was the first of the three 'super-daimyo' who eventually reunited Japan. The famous Myoryuji or Ninjadera ninja temple in Kanazawa Ishikawa Prefecture is one of the best of the very few authentic 'ninja-proofed' buildings to have survived. This is a view of the shoji staircase. The vertical sections of the tread are of translucent paper, enabling a spear thrust to be delivered against any unwelcome caller.

Interior view of the Ninjadera in Kanazawa, which formed part of the outer defence works for Kanazawa castle, the seat of the Maeda daimyo. The survivors of the invasion fled toother provinces. Some headed for the remote mountains of Kii, but others made it to nearby Mikawa. Back in he was just another daimyo, but from this time onwards all the activities of the ninja of Iga and Koga were conducted on behalf of the Tokugawa family, and their mercenary days were over. Tokugawa Ieyasu was an astute politician, and surely nothing illustrates his foresight better than the fact that he look Japan's finest ninja into his service.

Their refuge with the Tokugawa was the beginning of a long and beneficial association with the future shogun, and the inhabitants of Iga were able to repay the kindness very soon. In Oda Nobunaga was murdered by Akechi Mitsuhide, who then set himself up as shogun and began to hunt down any rivals. Tokugawa Ieyasu was visiting Sakai when the coup occurred. Having only a handful of personal retainers with him, he was faced with the difficult prospect of getting back to Mikawa by sea or land without being intercepted by the Akechi samurai.

The overland route lay via Iga, so with the help of local supporters Ieyasu set off. The Mikawa Go Fudoki continues the story: From here on it was mountain roads and precipices as far as Shigaraki, with many mountain bandits. Yamaoka and Hattori accompanied them, defying mountain bandits and yamabushi alike.

Hattori Sadanobu was praised for the great extent of his loyalty, and on leaving he was presented with a wakizashi [short sword] forged by Kunitsugu. Yamaoka, father and son, took their leave beyond the Tomi pass on the Iga border. Thus, by a combination of friendly guides they made it to the Iga border. Here more allies took over:. Hattori Hanzo Masashige was an Iga man. Sent on by Tadakatsu. The previous year, when Lord Oda had persecuted Iga, he had ordered.

T h e samurai of the province must all be killed. Consequently their relatives were able to pay them back for this kindness. Beginning with Tsuge Sannojo Kiyohiro and his son, 2 or men of Tsuge village, and over Koga samurai under Shima Okashi no suke and others The serious nature of the perils Ieyasu faced is illustrated by the fate of his retainer Anavama Baisetsu, who took a different route back to Mikawa and was murdered along the way. There is also a story in connection with Ieyasu's escape that is almost too good a ninja tale to be false!

Akechi's men, who had been ordered to be on the lookout for him, searched the ship in which Ieyasu fled from Ise. Ieyasu was hidden under the cargo in the hold. The soldiers began thrusting their longbladed spears into the cargo to find anyone concealed therein. One of. Hattori Hanzo, the leader of the ninja of Iga and a samurai general in his own right under Tokugawa leyasu, is buried in this grave in the grounds of the Seinenji temple in Tokyo. Hanzo's spear is preserved inside the temple. Serving the shogun Oda Nobunaga's murder was avenged by the second of the unifiers, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who marched his army against Kyoto and destroyed Akechi Mitsuhide at the battle of Yamazaki.

From this time on Hideyoshi went from strength to strength, and over the next 20 years conquered the whole of Japan. When he defeated the Hojo in he gave Tokugawa leyasu their territories as a reward. It was a successful move, as Edo is now called Tokyo, and what is now the palace of the emperor of Japan was Ieyasu's own Edo castle, guarded by the men of Iga and Koga.

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The Iga detachment at Edo was under the command of the man who appears in popular works as the most famous ninja of all, Hattori Hanzo Masashige, who had acted as a guide through Iga. Hanzo was born in , the son of Hattori Yasunaga, a hereditary retainer of the Tokugawa. He fought his first battle at the age of 16 in the form of a night attack on the castle of Udo in , and went on to serve with distinction at the battles of Anegawa and Mikata ga Hara His nickname was 'Devil Hanzo'.

He died in , aged 55, and was succeeded by his son, Hattori Masanari. The later wars in which ninja were involved on behalf of the Tokugawa will be described in the section 'Ninja at war'. From onwards Japan was at peace, and military skills declined, yet during this time the myth of the ninja as we know it today began to grow, until a mixture of historical accounts and legends produced the 'superman' ninja who could fly in the air.

Ninja recruitment From the midth century onwards, certain samurai families began to develop particular skills in intelligence gathering, undercover warfare and assassination. These were the ninja families. Like so many other martial-arts traditions in Japan, their skills and traditions were passed on from father to son, or more usually from sensei master to chosen pupil,. In a real sense, therefore, ninja were born, not made, and the expression 'recruitment' refers only to the negotiations made between daimyo and the ninja leader for the use of his men's services.

However, when Tokugawa Ieyasu took the men of Iga and Koga under his personal wdng in , the source of supply dried up, and we begin to see other daimyo training and using their own home-growrn ninja. Strangely enough, this was not officially forbidden, and in , in the shogunate's laws for military service, we read that only those daimyo with incomes of 10, koku and above were allowed to have shinobi in their armies. The school of ninjutsu called the Nakagawa-ryu, which served the daimyu Tsugaru in Mutsu Province in the midth century, provides a good example of the recruitment and training process.

The founder of the school was a samurai called Nakagawa Shoshunjin, an expert in ninjutsu. The most fascinating account of his life is the Okufuji monogatari, which says that 'he could change into a rat or a spider, and transform himself into birds and animals' - an early illustration of the magical powers traditionally attributed to ninja. In reality Shoshunjin had the command of a group of ten young samurai whom he trained to practise ninjutsu, and forbade anyone else from coming near the place where they exercised, which was at the southern corner of the castle and called Ishibayashi.

Shoshunjin called the group the Hayamichi no mono 'the short-cut people' and its numbers soon increased to Since the duties of the group members. A ninja crossing a castle moat using a hooked rope is the earliest known illustration of the traditional image of the ninja in action. It dates from Ninja in a narrow corridor. This posed shot, kindly supplied by the Department of Tourism of iga-Ueno City, depicts perfectly the classic image of the ninja approaching his prey. Ninja selection There is a splendid story about Nakagawa Shoshunjin's first visit to the Tsugaru mansion to be interviewed by Tsugaru Gemban, a karo senior retainer of the Tsugaru.

Tsugaru Gemban challenged Shoshunjin to prove his ninja abilities by stealing the pillow from under his head while he lay sleeping. That night Gemban lay down on his futon, and as time passed he heard the pitter-patter of a passing shower beginning to fall outside the house. He carefully avoided letting his head move from the pillow, until he suddenly felt rain falling on to his face. He raised his eyes, and quickly noticed that the ceiling was leaking.

In spite of himself his head moved off the pillow at an angle. When he lowered his head once again the pillow was missing, and as he turned his head in surprise he saw Shoshunjin standing beside him, grinning broadly, and with the pillow in his hands! Unfortunately, the story is probably not authentic, as similar versions are told of other ninja employed by daimyo.

For example, Mori Motonari's general Sugiwara Harima-no-kami used a ninja, who, according to legend, was asked to steal a sword from his master's bedside, and a certain Kato Dansai was asked to steal a naginata from beside the bed of Naoe Yamashiro-no-kami of the Uesugi family. Nevertheless, it illustrates the respect that the daimyo had for ninja skills, and the need to hire someone who could be trusted. Ninja training We may certainly envisage the ninja of Iga and Koga being trained for their future roles as soon as they could walk.

The ninja leaders of the province were minor landowners, and, in common with all daimyo of any size, great emphasis was laid on family connections and hereditary loyalty. Any boy born into a conventional samurai family would grow up expecting to be a warrior, and many hours of his childhood would be spent learning the martial arts.

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  • Skills with the famous samurai sword, the spear, bow and, later in ninja history, guns would be most important. A young samurai would also be expected to ride well and to swim. For a young ninja, of course, the curriculum would be more extensive. He would also have to learn about such matters as explosives and the blending of poisons, and become an expert in fieldcraft and survival.

    This would include such 'ninja lore' as how to purify water and how to cook rice in camp by wrapping it in a wet cloth and burying it underneath a campfire. He would have to be superbly physically fit to enable him to scale the walls of castles and become an expert in martial arts, including unarmed grappling techniques. We may therefore envisage the fledgling ninja being trained from an early age in all these skills. He would also have to know how to draw a map and would have a great advantage if he could read and write. If he was to adopt the disguises of other professions, he would need an in-depth knowledge of them to be convincing.

    Belief and belonging At a psychological level the young ninja would need to develop a detachment from death and the fear of dying that was even more complete than that customarily expected of ordinary samurai, who were presented with the ideal of serving their masters with unflinching zeal to the very end. There was also the chilling samurai tradition of ritual suicide, whereby, in situations of certain defeat, any disgrace could be wiped away by the act of hara kiri that released one's spirit.

    The ninja's concept of his own fate was therefore a more intense version of the samurai worldview. The major difference in attitude that would be inculcated in the ninja, as distinct from the samurai, was the complete acceptance of the knife in die dark as a legitimate activity. This was contrary to so much of the samurai tradition that relied on stories of noble warriors who fought in an ideal and often idealised way. The accepted samurai code involved first of all being very visible, so that both friends and enemies recognised who it was that won the supreme distinction of being the first to go into battle or the first to scale a castle wall during an assault.

    To make identification easier a samurai wore a flag on the back of his suit of armour. Once engaged in battle, the ideal outcome was for the samurai to locate a worthy opponent and take his head. This trophy would be presented to the daimyo, who would note the names of both victor and victim, and reward his loyal follower accordingly.

    How different it was for a ninja. Dressed in black and with no flag to identify him, his role in a siege would be to enter the castle days before the assault and lie low until emerging to cause mayhem by setting fire to towers, killing guards or even assassinating the commander. His job done, the ninja would withdraw into anonymity and let the first samurai in the assault party receive all the glory. It was an attitude totally different from the rest of samurai warfare, and carried the additional opprobrium that the noble samurai, who depended upon the ninja's activities for his own achievements, officially despised the ninja for behaving in such an underhand way.

    Ninja mail armour. This ensemble from the Arashiyama Historical Museum in Kyoto shows a simple suit of armour that could have been worn under a ninja's costume. Usually they appear to have disguised themselves to blend in with the enemy. As the Buke Meimokusho relates:. Ninja lightweight armour. This item from the Arashiyama Historical Museum in Kyoto is a suit of armour made from metal plates sewn on to a cloth backing.

    It could have been worn under a ninja's costume. They travelled in disguise to other territories to judge the situation of the enemy, they would inveigle their way into the midst of the enemy to discover gaps, and enter enemy castles to set them on fire, and carried out assassinations, arriving in secret. The earliest pictorial reference to a ninja in black is a book illustration of , which shows a ninja climbing into a castle wearing what everyone would immediately recognise as a ninja costume.

    However, it could simply be that it is pictures like these that have given us our image of the ninja rather than vice-versa. It is a long-standing artistic convention in Japan, seen today in the Bunraku puppet theatre, that to dress a character in black is to indicate to the viewer that he cannot see that person. To depict a silent assassin in an identical way in a picture would therefore be perfectly natural and understandable to the contemporary Japanese viewer, and need not imply that the resulting illustration is in any way an actual portrait of a ninja.

    Nevertheless, it is obvious that if a ninja was to perform the role most often noted for him, that of entering a castle in secret by night, then a head-to-foot costume of black would be the most sensible thing to wear. We may therefore safely conclude that in this situation at least the traditional black costume was authentic, although some authorities maintain that the black was tinged with a little red so that bloodstains would not show.

    The ninja costume The ninja costume was simple but very well designed for its purpose. The jacket was not unlike the jacket worn for judo or karate, having no ties. So that nothing would catch on any protrusions when climbing a wall, the 'tails' of the jacket were tucked inside the trousers. These were like the trousers commonly worn by samurai when riding a horse.

    They were quite narrow and tied below the knee. Over the calves would be worn cloth gaiters, again very similar to standard samurai equipment, while on the feet would be black tabi, the classic Japanese socks with a separate compartment for the big toe, and reinforced soles. Waraji straw sandals would complete the ninja's footwear.

    A shirt with close-fitting arms also seems to have been worn according to most illustrations, and the whole ensemble was pulled tightly together round the waist by a long black belt. The biggest difference from a samurai's costume, however, was to be found above the neck, because the ninja's head was wrapped in an all-enveloping cowl, with only the face above the mouth, or even only the eye slits visible. Several museums in Japan have examples of lightweight body armour that could be worn under the ninja costume. The construction was that of a heavy cloth backing on to which were sewn small lacquered metal plates joined by thin sections of ring mail.

    Reinforced hoods, not unlike the ninja cowl, were made of similar material. As the ashigaru foot soldiers in a samurai army wore very different types of armour, it is not. An old book illustration showing samurai practising their throwing of shuriken, the favourite ninja weapon.

    As well as the familiar 'ninja stars', short knives were also used. Standard samurai kote sleeve armour and suneate shin guards would also have provided extra protection for very little additional weight. Ninja disguises The use of disguise is frequently mentioned in the chronicles, and different disguises suited different situations. If the ninja was required to travel widely round an enemy's territory observing the layout of troops and the defensive features of his castles, what better cover could there be but to assume the role of a komuso, the sect of Zen monks who played the flute and wore enormous baskets over their heads?

    They would be seen on the highways and byways, playing music and begging. The itinerant yamabushi the mountain monks were also frequently seen on Japanese roads, and this was a better disguise to adopt when the mission was to deliver a message in private to a friendly ally, because yamabushi were invited into people's homes to say prayers and give blessings.

    Even a simple Buddhist monk sent out begging, his face partly concealed by a large sedge hat, might be a ninja. Strolling players such as sarugaku dancers and puppeteers might provide cover for spying activities in a daimyo's castle town. They would no doubt be searched for weapons if they were invited to give a performance inside a castle, but the mere act of entering a castle and making one's way through the maze of interlocking walls and gates to the daimyo's private apartments would yield much valuable intelligence for a rival.

    Standard ninja equipment The most important ninja weapon was his sword. This was the standard Japanese fighting sword or katana, renowned for its strength and sharpness. The Japanese sword was also designed to be flexible, so that it could act as both sword and shield when the samurai parried a rival's blow and then delivered a deadly cut of his own. This factor would have been very important for the lightly armed ninja.

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    Both the length and curve of katana blades varied considerably, and for convenience the ninja would choose a blade that was shorter and straighter than usual. To make climbing easier, the sword would not be thrust through the belt, as was usual for a samurai out of armour, but would be carried over the shoulder with the blade edge up and the handle near the left ear.

    One other way of carrying a sword must be mentioned. This arose from the ninja technique of exploring a potentially dangerous dark place such as a castle's corridors. The ninja would balance the sword's scabbard out in front on the tip of the sword blade, with the scabbard's suspensory cords gripped firmly between his teeth. This extended the ninja's range of feel by a good six feet, and if the scabbard end encountered an enemy, the ninja would let it fall and lunge forward in the precise direction of the assailant.

    A sword could also be used in. This illustration from Bansen Shukai, the manual of ninja lore published in , shows a ladder with a hinged section. The ladder is light in weight. The ninja would loop the end of the suspensory cord round his foot so that he could pull his sword up when he had climbed the wall.

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    Needless to say, the ninja would have had an array of weapons secreted about his person. A simple-looking Japanese folding fan might well conceal a knife blade. Heavy iron knuckle-dusters called tekagi are also known. Another fairly standard piece of ninja equipment was a hooked rope for climbing. This consisted of a three- or four-pronged grapnel attached to a coil of thin but very strong rope.

    It was most conveniently carried hanging from the belt. A utility bag might also be suspended from the belt, and this could contain small throwing weapons such as knives or the well-known shuriken ninja stars that were flung with a spinning motion. Tetsu bishi caltrops could also be carried. These consisted of iron spikes arranged in the shape of a tetrahedron so that one spike was always protruding upwards. As samurai wore thinsoled footwear, tetsu bishi could be very effective in slowing down pursuers.

    Poisons and their antidotes and emergency food supplies might also find their way into the utility bag when appropriate. Other pieces of standard ninja equipment are illustrated in Plate A. Specialised ninja equipment There was also a weird and wonderful array of specialised weapons and devices that ninja could use in appropriate circumstances. Many of these are drawn and described in Bansen Shukai, the ninja manual of the 17th century from which some of the accompanying illustrations.

    Hooks and ropes are shown in this illustration from Bansen Shukai. A hooked rope was a vital piece of ninja equipment. A rope ladder with wooden slats, designed to be affixed across a gap for others to cross, appears in this illustration from Bansen Shukai. We will deal first with devices to assist climbing into a castle - a very common ninja activity. Let us consider the typical ninja attacking a castle in secret by night.

    First, he has to cross the ditch or moat. He could always swim, and even ordinary samurai were expected to be so skilled at swimming that they could use their weapons while treading water. But if explosives were involved in the ninja's plans then he could not risk getting the powder wet. He might therefore use his hooked rope to cross the moat hand-over-hand, but if the moat was wide a safer alternative might be to paddle across using some form of flotation device.

    The best known of these was the mizugumo, the wooden water shoes illustrated in Bansen Shukai, which look very unstable. Bansen Shukai also shows a prefabricated boat. Alternatively, if the ninja were operating as a group, one man could swim the moat and then help his comrades rig up the simple rope ladder shown in the accompanying picture. The castle wall now had to be climbed, and in many cases the deeply curved stone walls with many gaps allowed the ninja to climb up without difficulty, but mechanical devices would sometimes be used. The standard hooked rope has already been mentioned, but for more difficult ascents some form of portable ladder was needed.

    The simplest was a straightforward rope ladder with strong wooden rungs and a stout hook at the top. An ingenious version of this consisted of a series of short bamboo sections. A rope was threaded through each section, alternating between pieces threaded across the middle and through their whole length. A hook was attached to the top, and when the whole length of the rope was pulled tight and secured the result was a lightweight if flimsy ladder. Other help might be provided for the feet by means of spiked climbing devices rather like crampons.

    Having surmounted the stone base the ninja was faced with the white plaster walls that lay on top. Some were simple outer walls pierced by arrow and gun ports, others were made up of elaborate superstructures and towers. As there would be a considerable overhang because of the tiled protective surface on top of the white wall, the ninja might decide to cut his way into the defended position. Here the construction of the walls came most admirably to his assistance.

    They were made on a wattle and daub core and plastered over, so a ninja would use a kunai, which looked like a cross between a broad bladed knife and a paint scraper. By gouging and cutting, the ninja could rapidly carve out a hole large enough for him to climb through. Many of the buildings within the walls of a Japanese castle were made of wood.

    In some cases these would include the daimyo's yashiki mansion , which was often a palatial structure built in addition to the keep and used for entertaining visitors. It would be heavily guarded. Portable listening devices called saoto hikigane, which acted like ear trumpets, enabled the ninja to listen in to conversations and ascertain the movements of guards.

    For a ninja to enter such a wooden building unseen he would have had to use some form of saw. Several types are illustrated in the ninja manuals. The hamagari, for example, was a long thin saw with many very sharp teeth mounted on a folding iron shaft like a penknife. Alternatively, using two devices in succession, the ninja could open small gaps between the planking.

    The first was like a two-pronged iron fork, which would enlarge the gap slightly by twisting, making a space just large enough for a thin leaf-shaped saw with small teeth to be inserted. It could even be used to crack the wood, but this would create a sound that might give the ninja away. Ninja also had to be fully conversant with firearms and explosives technology. The matchlock arquebus, introduced to Japan in , was too clumsy to be considered a ninja weapon except when it was used as a sniper's firearm.

    Matchlock pistols could more easily be carried by a ninja, but the ideally suited wheel-lock pistol arrived too late in Japan for it to be used in war. In addition the ninja had a huge range of mainly Chinese explosive devices at his disposal. There were two main types. This illustration from Bansen Shukai is of the famous and notorious! One was supposed to have been worn on each foot to allow the ninja to cross water. Fragments of iron, broken pottery or dried human faeces could be included to make them into anti-personnel devices. The second type were hard-cased bombs, either of pottery or iron.

    The latter could produce fearful wounds like a fragmentation bomb, and large models would have had sufficient force to blow a hole in a castle's plaster walls. Small versions could be thrown by hand, making them effectively hand grenades. Ignition was provided from a tinderbox or a smouldering cord kept in a weatherproof lacquered container. A ninja would also be expected to be a sharpshooter with a bow and arrow, and there were small versions of ninja bows that could be carried more easily. Ninja also made good use of the martial-arts weapons that were derived from agricultural implements, such as the kusarigama, the combination of a sickle and a chain.

    The chain had a weight on the end and could be flung to halt a pursuer. The attacker would then drag him off his feet and kill him with the sickle blade. The ninja version had a smaller but very sharp blade kept in a scabbard when not in use. It was called a shinobigama.

    For other illustrations of specialised ninja equipment and weapons see Plate A and B. Ninja techniques Ninja relied on more than just clever gadgets for entering defended places. Teamwork and co-operation were also essential, and well-practised acrobatic skills may well have given rise to the myths of ninja being able to fly. For example, there were two-, three- and four-man techniques for climbing over a wall. In the first type one ninja would run forward with his comrade on his shoulders. He would then leap from this elevated position.

    Two men could assist a third to 'fly' over a wall by giving him a powerful leg up. Four might construct a human pyramid. Other ninja might use one of the foot soldier's pike-like long spears and pole-vault over a gap. It may even be the case that ninja were lifted off the ground using kites to spy on an enemy castle or.

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    The technology for this certainly existed, but the extension of it to 'human gliders' or even 'human cannonballs' belongs to the realms of ninja fantasy. These are the Iga Province and the southern area of Omi Province known as Koga, and the bulk of historical evidence suggests that the popular view of Iga and Koga as the most important cradles of ninja is broadly correct. In the chronicle Go kagami furoku we read: 'There was a retainer of the family of Kawai Aki-no-kami of Iga, of pre-eminent skill in shinobi, and consequently for generations the name of people from Iga became established.

    Another tradition grew in Koga. Iga Province now the north-western part of Mie Prefecture was entirely landlocked, and almost the whole length of its borders followed the tops of several ranges of mountains. Thus the villages in the flatlands within. Models of ninja equipment, most of which are described in this book, on show in the Ninja Museum at Iga Ueno.

    The one side of Iga that is not entirely protected by mountains is the north, where it borders Koga, the southern portion of Omi Province. It was a situation somewhat analogous to that of contemporary Switzerland, though on a much smaller scale, where mountains provided such a good natural defence that its equally formidable inhabitants could become the mercenary soldiers of Europe. A more detailed look at the topography also reveals that this was politically a very sensitive region. It lies just to the south of the 'neck' of medieval Japan, the narrow strip of land between Lake Biwa and the Bay of Owari that divides the country neatly in two.

    At the mouth of Lake Biwa lay the then capital, Kyoto, and from it ran the two main highways to the east: the Tokaido and the Nakasendo. The two roads were in fact one and the same as far as Kusatsu. The Nakasendo turned north-east along the edge of Lake Biwa and threaded through the vast mountains of the 'Japan Alps' to join the Tokaido in the vicinity of modern Tokyo.

    These mountains amaze one even today by the solitude they present for a region so close to the urban sprawl of Osaka and Kyoto. Within these mountains were villagers who lived their entire lives in one tiny valley community shut off from the rest of Japan until comparatively recent times, and visited only by the wandering yamabushi who traversed this wild count 17 on their pilgrimages.

    Several accounts refer to these mountains as the haunt of bandits who acted as highwaymen along the Tokaido or as pirates on the sea coast of nearby Ise Province. Many of the ninja myths, such as that of the legendary outlaw Ishikawa Goemon who was supposed to be adept in ninjutsu. The historian Sasama sums up the Iga situation as follows: In Iga Province at about the time of Onin, Jinki Iga-no-kami was provincial shugo, but thereafter for generations they declined and in Iga there were few who lived there to rule the ji-samurai country samurai.

    The ji-samurai In later years the so-called Iga-shu began to be recruited to various provinces such as Odawara in groups of 50 men or 30 men and were used for ambushes. Its trade spans around the Pebbled Sea , and it even has several banks in Namorn. It is quite prosperous and wealthy. Emelan has four coins in circulation: Gold majas , astrels in gold and silver, and crescents in silver and copper.

    A gold maja measured half a year's income for a poor family. A gold maja and a gold astrel equal three hundred silver crescents. In KF the country was afflicted by several problems, starting with an earthquake in Mead Moon and a pirate attack in the same month. The removal of the damage cost the Emelanese treasury all of its surplus [8]. In addition to those incidences the northern regions, among them Gold Ridge , had been suffering from a drought for three years and grassfires were causing additional problems there, especially when a large forest fire broke out.

    Duke Vedris was hard-pressed to help all of the northern fiefs because his treasury was still low from the summery incidences. The following spring a blue pox epedemic also struck the capital. The Emelanese mainly worship the Living Circle gods. Winding Circle temple is one of the greatest temples of the Living Circle. It is a center for learning and magic that rivals the University of Lightsbridge. Imperial is spoken in countries around the Pebbled Sea , due to the Kurchal Empire , which stood there thousands of years ago.

    Upper class and middle class women primarily wear skirts. Trisana Chandler claims that since she is a girl, it is proper for her to wear skirts, even in the heat. Usually, upper class and noblewomen also wear veils over their hair. Despite that different climate, Emelanese fashion doesn't seem to differ quite a lot from Namornese fashion. Women wear skirts and modest clothing in both cultures. A list of all named Emelanese, or characters who live mostly in Emelan, who appear or are mentioned in the books. Based on the climate, Emelan is likely based on Greece or even Turkey.

    He was the first monarch of France from the House of Bourbon , a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty. He inherited the throne of Navarre in on his mother's death. Bartholomew's Day massacre. He later led Protestant forces against the royal army. As Head of the House of Bourbon, Henry was " first prince of the blood ". He initially kept the Protestant faith the only French king to do so and had to fight against the Catholic League , which denied that he could wear France's crown as a Protestant. To obtain mastery over his kingdom, after four years of stalemate, he found it prudent to abjure the Calvinist faith.

    As a pragmatic politician in the parlance of the time, a politique , he displayed an unusual religious tolerance for the era. Notably, he promulgated the Edict of Nantes , which guaranteed religious liberties to Protestants, thereby effectively ending the Wars of Religion. Considered a usurper by some Catholics and a traitor by some Protestants, Henry became target of at least 12 assassination attempts.

    The "Good King Henry" le bon roi Henri was remembered for his geniality and his great concern about the welfare of his subjects. During his reign, [5] the French colonization of the Americas truly began with the foundation of the colony of Acadia and its capital Port-Royal.

    He was celebrated in the popular song " Vive le roi Henri " which later became an anthem for the French monarchy during the reigns of his successors and in Voltaire 's Henriade.

    Murder at the Villa Byzantine / | Woodland Public Library

    On 9 June , upon his mother's death, the year-old became King of Navarre. On 24 August, the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre began in Paris. Several thousand Protestants who had come to Paris for Henry's wedding were killed, as well as thousands more throughout the country in the days that followed. Henry narrowly escaped death thanks to the help of his wife and his promise to convert to Catholicism.

    He was forced to live at the court of France, but he escaped in early On 5 February of that year, he formally abjured Catholicism at Tours and rejoined the Protestant forces in the military conflict. Catherine held the regency for nearly thirty years. Since Henry of Navarre was a Huguenot, the issue was not considered settled in many quarters of the country, and France was plunged into a phase of the Wars of Religion known as the War of the Three Henries. The third was Henry I, Duke of Guise , who pushed for complete suppression of the Huguenots and had much support among Catholic loyalists.

    Political disagreements among the parties set off a series of campaigns and counter-campaigns that culminated in the Battle of Coutras. However, the populace was horrified and rose against him. The title of the king was no longer recognized in several cities; his power was limited to Blois, Tours, and the surrounding districts.

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    The two kings were united by a common interest—to win France from the Catholic League. Catholic royalist nobles also rallied to the king's standard. With this combined force, the two kings marched to Paris. The morale of the city was low, and even the Spanish ambassador believed the city could not hold out longer than a fortnight.

    The Catholic League, however, strengthened by support from outside the country—especially from Spain—was strong enough to prevent a universal recognition of his new title. The Pope excommunicated Henry and declared him devoid of any right to inherit the crown. He set about winning his kingdom by military conquest, aided by English money and German troops. Henry's Catholic uncle Charles, Cardinal de Bourbon was proclaimed king by the League, but the Cardinal was Henry's prisoner at the time.

    When Cardinal de Bourbon died in , the League could not agree on a new candidate. In case of such opposition, Philip indicated that princes of the House of Lorraine would be acceptable to him: the Duke of Guise; a son of the Duke of Lorraine; and the son of the Duke of Mayenne. The Spanish ambassadors selected the Duke of Guise, to the joy of the League.

    However, at that moment of seeming victory, the envy of the Duke of Mayenne was aroused, and he blocked the proposed election of a king. The Parlement of Paris also upheld the Salic law. They argued that if the French accepted natural hereditary succession, as proposed by the Spaniards, and accepted a woman as their queen, then the ancient claims of the English kings would be confirmed, and the monarchy of centuries past would be nothing but an illegality.

    Mayenne was angered that he had not been consulted prior to this admonishment, but yielded, since their aim was not contrary to his present views. He was said to have declared that Paris vaut bien une messe "Paris is well worth a mass" , [21] [22] [23] although there is some doubt whether he said this, or whether the statement was attributed to him by his contemporaries. Since Reims, the traditional location for the coronation of French kings, was still occupied by the Catholic League, Henry was crowned King of France at the Cathedral of Chartres on 27 February In he issued the Edict of Nantes , which granted circumscribed toleration to the Huguenots.

    Henry's first marriage was not a happy one, and the couple remained childless. Henry and Margaret separated even before Henry acceded to the throne in August After Henry became king of France, it was of the utmost importance that he provide an heir to the crown to avoid the problem of a disputed succession. Henry's councillors strongly opposed this idea, but the matter was resolved unexpectedly by Gabrielle's sudden death in the early hours of 10 April , after she had given birth to a premature and stillborn son.

    His marriage to Margaret was annulled in , and Henry married Marie de' Medici in For the royal entry of Marie into Avignon on 19 November , the citizens bestowed on Henry the title of the Hercule Gaulois "Gallic Hercules" , justifying the extravagant flattery with a genealogy that traced the origin of the House of Navarre to a nephew of Hercules ' son Hispalus. He and Sully protected forests from further devastation, built a system of tree-lined highways, and constructed bridges and canals. He used one construction project to attract attention to his power.

    When building the Pont-Neuf , a bridge in Paris, he placed a statue of himself in the middle. The King restored Paris as a great city, with the Pont Neuf , which still stands today, constructed over the river Seine to connect the Right and Left Banks of the city. More than metres long and thirty-five metres wide, this huge addition was built along the bank of the Seine River.

    At the time it was the longest edifice of its kind in the world. King Henry IV, a promoter of the arts by all classes of people, invited hundreds of artists and craftsmen to live and work on the building's lower floors. This tradition continued for another two hundred years, until Emperor Napoleon I banned it. The art and architecture of his reign have become known as the " Henry IV style " since that time.

    France laid claim to New France now Canada. The conflict was not resolved until after the Thirty Years' War. During Henry's struggle for the crown, Spain had been the principal backer of the Catholic League, and it tried to thwart Henry. Under the Duke of Parma , an army from the Spanish Netherlands intervened in against Henry and foiled his siege of Paris.

    Another Spanish army helped the nobles opposing Henry to win the Battle of Craon against his troops in After Henry's coronation, the war continued because there was an official tug-of-war between the French and Spanish states, but after victory at the Siege of Amiens in September the Peace of Vervins was signed in This enabled him to turn his attention to Savoy, with which he also had been fighting.

    Their conflicts were settled in the Treaty of Lyon of , which mandated territorial exchanges between France and the Duchy of Savoy. It was widely believed that in Henry was preparing to go to war against the Holy Roman Empire. The preparations were terminated by his assassination, however, and the subsequent rapprochement with Spain under the regency of Marie de' Medici. Even before Henry's accession to the French throne, the French Huguenots were in contact with Aragonese Moriscos in plans against the Habsburg government of Spain in the s.

    It granted numerous advantages to France in the Ottoman Empire. During the reign of Henry IV, various enterprises were set up to develop trade with faraway lands. No ships were sent, however, until Henry IV proved to be a man of vision and courage. As king, he adopted policies and undertook projects to improve the lives of all subjects, which made him one of the country's most popular rulers ever. Henry is said to have originated the oft-repeated phrase " a chicken in every pot ". If God keeps me, I will make sure that no peasant in my realm will lack the means to have a chicken in the pot on Sunday!

    This statement epitomises the peace and relative prosperity which Henry brought to France after decades of religious war, and demonstrates how well he understood the plight of the French worker and peasant farmer. This real concern for the living conditions of the "lowly" population—who in the final analysis provided the economic basis for the power of the king and the great nobles—was perhaps without parallel among the kings of France.

    Following his death Henry would be remembered fondly by most of the population. He was also a great philanderer , fathering many children by a number of mistresses. Henry was nicknamed "the Great" Henri le Grand , and in France is also called le bon roi Henri "the good king Henry" or le vert galant "The Green Gallant", for his numerous mistresses. Henry's coach was stopped by traffic congestion related to the Queen's coronation ceremony, as depicted in the engraving by Gaspar Bouttats. Henry was buried at the Saint Denis Basilica. The reign of Henry IV was long remembered by the French people.

    A statue was erected in his honour at the Pont Neuf in , four years after his death. When the Revolution radicalized its positions and came to altogether reject Monarchy, Henry IV's statue was torn down along with other royal monuments — but it was the first to be rebuilt, in , and it stands today on the Pont Neuf. In addition, when Princess Caroline of Naples and Sicily a descendant of his gave birth to a male heir to the throne of France seven months after the assassination of her husband Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry , by a Republican fanatic, the boy was conspicuously named Henri in reference to his forefather Henry IV.

    Henry IV's popularity continued when the first edition of his biography, Histoire du Roy Henry le Grand , was published in Amsterdam in An English edition was published at London in