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What is a Ninja? And NinjutsuEdit

Main article: Ninja

"A person who uses ninjutsu".

The familiar image of a ninja is a mysterious man cloaked in black and is able to utilize elite martial arts, magic such as fire, camouflage and illusions, and is able to carry out assassinations and reconnaissance operations. However, MGW's motive behind Pure Heart is the creation of a "real ninja", and to deviant from their famous image in media for a broad audience.

In Seishin however, a ninja is a person who uses ninjutsu or similar unconventional tactics against the enemy or within enemy territory, or to gather info on the local population. Some, like the Iga and Koga, are employed by a client.

Info on Ninjutsu is scarce because the art does not conform to the samurai class, which has the most acknowledged face in Pre-Meiji Japanese history. That also includes the daimyo and their most significant vassals; in other words, ninjutsu is nonstandard to the pride and code of the samurai. However, some ninjutsu practitioners are ji-samurai or rural samurai underneath the primary upper class. There are many Ji-samurai families such as the Hattori and the Fujibiyashi, who are important in the ninja culture. Furthermore, the word "ninja" is historical, but unconventional tactics are still practiced in modern days within the military.

It is interesting to note that, along with the word shinobi (忍, the familiar alternative name for ninja), there were various ways to spell the word to make it mean "dark arts" or "to forebear" (to avoid or shun, keep away). Depending on geographic location, Ninja have various names such as the following: suppa (水破 and 出抜), toppa (透破 and 突破), ukagami (伺見), dakkou (奪口), shinobi (竊盗), kusa (草; grass), kyoudou (郷導), kyōdan (郷談), kanshi (間士)[1][2]. Woman ninja are called kunoichi (くノ一).

Ninja in SeishinEdit

Main article: Aptitude Measurements in Seishin

In Seishin fiction, the Iga and Koka live by a system of collectivism, but were still subjugated to daimyo up until the Sengoku. Samurai, immigrants, peasants, and monks have meld with Iga and Koka population, their influence leading to the birth of ninjutsu. There is much study in plants, animals, mountain ascetics, espoinaige, military tactics, and more. The Koga in particular are specialized in making medicines and have a pharmaceutical village.

Described in the Bansenshukai, the ninja are divided into three ranks: genin (下忍, low ninja), chūnin (中忍, middle ninja) and jōnin, (上忍, top ninja). There are only jonin in Iga family, and they are land-owning samurai who rule the genin. The genin, who are mostly employed by Japan's daimyo, are mostly tenant farmers under the jonin. The chunin are small bosses of the genin. In Koga, there are no jonin and the chunin is the top rank instead[3]. In the narrative, however, the ranks aren't used to describe the ninja.

About Abilities

There are some instances where ninja surpass a normal being, developing superhuman-like abilities such as a poison immunity and highly honed senses. Due to the difficult times, the demand for their services, and to conserve their family lines, the ninja can train so far to achieve such capabilities. Some are acquired from just sensitization, and are sometimes said to be related to kami.

Customs

There is the for the Koga; for Seishin, the Iga will have a twelve member council, which functions beyond the Iga Rebellion of Oda.

The Punishment of Ronin (浪忍の処罰) is synonymous to the widely recognized, fictional custom of a ninja betraying/leaving village, as well as the the custom of samurai committing suicide after shaming their Lord. The background behind the former is unknown, but implemented as a tool in Seishin to remove potential threats and to draw the "ninja world" as extremely harsh. For Tanba Momochi, it is a method to rid of people before they become too corrupt and to make sure the corruption doesn't return against the Iga and its allies. Its named after ronin (浪人), a masterless samurai. Ronin is spelled with the shinobi Kanji, the first symbol meaning "to waste", "to undulate/sway (like a wave)" or "to drift". Thus, runaways are called "drifting ones".

SettingEdit

Main article: List of Battles in Pure Heart: Ninjutsu Chronicles
Main article: Timeline of Pure Heart: Ninjutsu Chronicle

Because Pure Heart mainly take place in the 16th century, this section provides some pictures on the ancient regions of Japan and an overview of its world. Long ago, Japan was divided into over sixty provinces or kuni (国). Kuni are also sometimes called "countries", and each one has their own administration led by the noble Shugo Daimyo. The daimyo were appointed by the Shogun or military warlord, to occupy and oversee the provinces (law, economy, etc); but over time, some Daimyo were replaced by even their followers. During the 16th century, there was a time of anarchy and the daimyo would fight each other to take control.

Feudalism and SocietyEdit

Feudal Europe Feudal Japan
King Emperor
Manor Lords (ie: Baron) Shogun (Commander) & Daimyo
Knights Samurai
Serf Peasants ("Serf" entails the same)

Feudalism is a type of land management through a pattern of mutual deals between leaders and peasantry. It appeared in Europe and Asia.

When the Japanese Imperial Court declined in power, the Shogun reigned as the de-facto leader of Japan for many centuries. The mighty Shogun gave lands, called fiefs ( \fēf\ ) to nobles, who become loyal Daimyo. Daimyo exercised control over the fiefs by gathering soldiers called samurai, who provided military service for them as vassals or retainers (家臣団). In return, samurai gained the land. Lastly, legal protection are given to the peasants, who supply labor and heavy taxes for the ones above them. [4]. The reward of land is exchanged by service; the receiver of the land would become a vassal to the land giver.

The peasantry class made up most of Japan. They had to work around the clock, and were not allowed to leave their land. Some were allowed to be chartered into the military. This way, stability and security was assured. The lands in Feudalism are manors; in Japanese, that is called shōen (荘園 or 庄園, the first symbols meaning "sho" can mean villa and manor).

The importance of each kuni was measured by the amount of Koku (180 litres).[5][6]. Koku provided the all-around income and taxes.

Post-FeudalEdit

During the Warring States or Sengoku Period (AKA: Wars with a lot of daimyo fighting), the Ashikaga, the Shogun family at the time, were losing loyalty from many daimyo and the government armies fought for power. Resistance forces of peasants and lower-ranked samurai were gathered into community bands called Ikki to oppose them and fend off any kind of danger. For farming communities in such difficult regions, like in the mountains, the yielding to the lords feudal trend was unnecessary. Those kind of lands were tough for conventional war. There is much info about ninja (and religious sects) living in independence from the ruling class.

Iga and OmiEdit

Omiigamikawa

The above photo is cropped from a feudal map of the Tokugawa era, originally from Maproom. The focal provinces here are Iga and Omi, the origin of Japan's most famous ninja schools.

According to history[7], during the ruling days of the Imperial Court, Iga Province used to be a part of the Ise Province and is a low rank country. Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, was located nearby Iga to the west and played a valuable role. During the Muromachi, Iga was sometimes ruled by the Niki family[8]. The Niki, like the Iga ninja's employer Motoyasu Matsudaira (AKA: Ieyasu Tokugawa), seem to have the same ancestry (Seiwa Genji family) and also moved to Mikawa Province[9], Tokugawa/Matsudaira's residence. So the Iga's ties to Matsudaira/Tokugawa may not be a coincidence. During Sengoku Era, Iga went under the control of the Iga Sokoku Ikki; that was when ninja activity sprouted, particularly during the Iga Tenshō no Ran. The Niki family's power declined during the era.

To the north of Iga neighbors Omi Province (近江国), the home of the Koka Ninja . Koka (こうか), also called Koga (こうが), is a district directly above Iga and both are separated by only a range of mountains[10]. Much like Iga, Omi is adjacent to the capital of Kyoto and serves as strategic guarding point to the northeast. The Koga's employer, the Rokkaku are one of the divided families of the ruling Sasaki family. It's either a rumor or a myth that the ancestors of the Koka bred and trained horses for the Imperial Court.

About NamesEdit

Many last names are based on geographical areas in Japan (ie: Ueno, Togakure) or/and are generally based on nature (ie: Fujibayashi = rattan grove; Takayama = high mountain). Reputation and genealogy were important; originally, only those of the upper class, like Tokugawa and Oda, could have last names to pass down through the generations. Rural samurai exist in the ninja communities and a similar class system is used.

Youmei/Youmyo (幼名; childhood name) were names given to infants. These names use common suffixes such as maro, maru (丸), o, "ko", etc.

A Zokumyō (俗名; popular/common name) is a name taken at Genpuku (元服; first dress), [11], where young men change become of age. In usual cases, it may reflect the order of birth of a person. This type of name is called a "haikomei" (輩行名; numerical name). For example, Saburojiro meant 3rd son's 2nd son. Adjectives were used a prefix, such as Daigoro (大五郎; big fifth son) and Ryotaro (龍太郎; dragon first). Sometimes the ends like "rou" were left out. This is also called Kemyō. In the ninja world, there is Hanzo (half), Saizo, Sandayuu. Also called tsuushou (通称).

A Nanori (名乗り; make oneself known) is a formal adult name. The first names' syllables can derive from ancestors or current family members (ie: Tadamasa, Iestsuna, Tsunamasa, Masamune, Terumune).[12]. Restricted to samurai. It is also given during Genpuku and attached to the above-mentioned zokumyo (ie: Mamamune Date was called Tojiro Masasune, 藤次郎政宗)

An Azana (字) was a courtesy name using onyomi (音読み) or how closely Kanji is pronounced in Chinese. Examples are Takeda Harunobu (晴信) to Shingen (信玄).

For a prefix, there is "o" (お) for women, which seems to make the word polite (ie: Okaa-san = mother). The word hime (meaning "princess") is used here and attached to the end of a noble girl's name. "Hime" also means "beautiful woman".[13]

There are characters with only first names, especially youths and those of lower class. In mostly fiction and historic speculation, some ninja contain names that are also nature-based [14] such as Kazekiri (風霧, wind fog), Kasumi (霞, rosy clouds), Genei (幻影, illusion shadow), Shigure (時雨, late fall rain) and Akakage (赤影, red shadow). There is a possibility that the names are aliases and reflects the characters.

Referring to the folklore characters Sasuke Sarutobi (Jumping monkey Sasuke) and Saizo Kirigakure (Saizo of Hidden Mist), their last names have a meaning to their character and there's little to no sources saying that they are from a region or derived from another family name or ancestor. There will be other examples.

One Japanese particle that is not used during the narrative is no (の,ノ), which shows a connection or identity to a person's name and when they are from (ie: Soga no Umanko, Taira no Munekiyo). Even the below mentioned Shimotsuge ninja were originally called "Shimotsuge no Kizaru/Kozaru"[15] because Shimotsuge was a place in Iga. The change to this is by the author's personal choice. Sometimes the characters are distinguished by their family (ie: Shoutarou of Tsukimori [Family]) or region, rather than using it as a last name.

After Genpuku, men were allowed to marry and have children. There are also posthumous names (戒名 or 諱; imina).

Court TitlesEdit

The Ritsuryō system has designed a variety of titles placed in a name, from 8th (lowest) to 1st (highest), split into junior and senior ranks. When Japan was divided into provinces (or kuni, countries), each province was assigned a kokushi (governor) of one out of four titles: kami, suke, jo and sakan precided with "no". This was a part of the Shitokan (四等官)[16]. Samurai Archives has created a list of court titles. Various other titles are connected to the ministries such as Hyoubu (military), Jibu (Ceremony) and minbu (affairs), which are from Daijo-kan (Dpt. of State). There are alternate ways to describe "senior" or "chief" and ranks below them. There is also Kanpaku and Kanrei.

The titles saemon/zaemon (衛門府; outer palace Guards) were titles to the Ministry of the Right and Left respectfully, also ending with kami, suke, and so on.

Marriage (Family) and WomenEdit

Before pre-modern Japan, especially Feudal Japan, marriage was often used to ensure political and diplomatic favors between lords and families. This is done through a process called miai (見合い); matchmakers (仲人; nakōdo), either friend or family member, are assigned to arrange candidates of marriage for the house leaders. Eventually, the bride is adopted into the man's family. This age old custom is called yomeiri (嫁入り). In Seishin, there is many miai opportunities between Iga and Koga. Because of the pursuit of family benefit, personal selection/rights from couples are not considered (or perhaps not preferred). Furthermore, a noble could have many wives aside from legal wife. It is uncertain whether the opposite (ie: Lady leader with many husbands) happens or not. In Seishin, the measure of talent and strength of candidates can be facilitated by the Kankyoshi.

The preeminence of men over women is notable. When a husband dies, they cut their hair and become nuns. Confucianism stated the following: "A woman is to obey her father as daughter, her husband as wife, and her son (three men) as aged mother." A basic tenent of Buddhism is that salvation is not possible for women, and the Samurai believed that "a woman should look upon her husband as if he were Heaven itself." Despite this, there were popular woman figures such as Oichi, Masako Hojo, and Ginchiyo Tachibana. A popular female ninja is Chiyome Mochizuki.

TimeEdit

Lunasolar Calender
Before the Meiji Reform and the use of the Gregorian calender, Japan used a lunasolar calendar (旧暦), which made use of the moon's phases (ie: crescent, full, new) to indicate the months, and the cycle of seasons to indicate when a year has passed. After the Meiji Restoration, the Gregorian calendar, plus the use of Anno Domini, was used.
Nengō
Nengō (年号) are names identifying years in eras. It was adopted by Emperor Kotoku and each era changed when a new emperor is installed. Many of the years are identified in the Timeline of Pure Heart: Ninjutsu Chronicle and the List of Seishin Stories. For example, 1573 was called the "4th year of Genki Era" (元亀4年), Genki spanned through 1570 to 1573.

Combat/Martial ArtsEdit

As samurai make a large part of Japanese history, many martial customs are recognized. During Genpuku, a child receives gifts in aid of becoming a finer man. One such gift, in common samurai custom, is a mamori-gatana (守刀), which came after the training sword. Sometimes its called omamorigatana (御守刀). Along with that is new battle armor, garment, and hairstyle. During Seishin, the customs may be handled with different variety. A mamorigatana may be a short sword, which can be handled in a household to denote rank. There might be an initiation duel.

Death
N/A

Seishin ExclusiveEdit

Onitaiji
(鬼退治) Stands for "Demon Extermination". A rare occurrence where Iga and Koga team are gathered for a mission to obliterate sighted demons.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

NavigationEdit

BODY & MIND: WORLD OF SEISHIN
Setting/Timeline Stories | Setting of Seishin | Timeline | Conflicts | Warring States Period | Pre-Modern Terms
Characters / Groups Families and Organizations | Character List | Jōnin Three Houses | Sanada Ten Braves | Oniwabanshū | Iga Ninja | Koga Ninja
Items and Interests Iga vs Koga | Aptitude | Three Great Books of Ninjutsu | Tatsukawa Book Collection | Ninjatō
Ninja Families
Akutagawa Family | Ban Family | Fujibayashi Family | Hattori Family | Kazama Family (Fūma) | Kido Family | Kōdanguchi Family | Kōsaka Family | Kosei Family | Mochizuki Family | Momochi Family | Sawamura Family | Shimotsuge Family | Sugitani Family | Takayama Family | Tsuge Family | Tokitsu Family | Tsukimori Family | Ueno Family | Jōnin Three Houses

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