Basic Information for the New Members

1. Historical background
We see the evidence in the Tokugawa Shugunate document “Igamono Yuishogaki (A long and distinguished history of the Iga people.” that the Shogunate employed shinobisamurai. Shinobinomono were ordinary people who were trained by Shinobisamurai to work for the shinobisamurai, themselves. The shinobinomono didn’t have family names. But those who became the retainers of the Shogunate had family names and crests before they were invited into the Tokugawa shogunate.

The shinobinomono disapperred when Japan became peaceful under the Tokugawa Shogunate. Many returned to farming, some became medicine dealers, some fireworks dealers, some became professional martial artists, etc.

Unfortunately there were also many shinobisamurai who were not employed by the Tokugawas. Some lucky ones were employed by other feudal lords.
The Fujibayashis were one of the unfortunate country samurai clans. So Fujibayashi Sabuji Yasustake wrote a book titled Mansen Shukai and dedicated it to the Tokugawa Shogunate hoping to get a position in the government. The Shogunate decided that the service by the clan was not essential.
————————————————————————————-

2. Ninjutsu
Mansen Shukai reveal us varieties of facts about ninjutsu.
We define ninjutsu as strategic techniques and they are not martial arts.

3. The Mansen Shukai Seishin
According to the book, the core idea to support ninjutsu is a virtue termed “Seishin (shoshin)正心). Seishin means correct or right mind, or integrity.
Though the shinobi carry out their missions like sneaking into places, or stealing things or kidnapping, or arsoning, plotting, or assassinations. the shinobi follow out the orders of their lords whose purposes were to avoid unnecessary wars. So the fact that the shinobi abide by Seishin in their daily lives is where they are different from criminals. Seishin suggests the shinobi are mentally and physically strong, good, humble people.

4. The Minsen Shukai Shinobi Mindset
The principle shinobi mindset stated in Mansen Shukai is phrased as “Grab at a chance when enemies are unaware ”(Ki wo mite kyo wo tsuku 機をみて虚を突く). Here we can see the shinobi can use every possible strategy without regarding fairness or righteousness or any ethics.

5. The Addition of Gotoku (Five virtues: Jin, Gi, Rei, Chi, Shin 仁義礼智信)
When our shinobisamurai ancestors started to work for the shogunate, Seishin was not enough. It’s such a vast ideas, that they needed more concrete guideline. There was a wide range of interpretation of Seishin that Seishin could be used for justification of all of the shinobi activities.
So Gotoku (Five virtues 五徳)were added. But their ninjutsu or strategic techniques were still just techniques. When they started to assume more important positions, they needed to think as elite officials not as low class samurai.
———————————————————————————–

6. From Jutsu to Law and then to Do (術より法に達し道に至る。)
Usually people train themselves to be strong or better or healthier. The techniques learned here are mainly for personal advantages and there’s no philosophy included.
As serious learners advances in their arts, they start to see fundamental laws, and when the learning become more profound they get to Do (Way 道. )
There’s a point where many start to think of utilizing the art for the society. That’s when techniques become enhanced with philosophical perspective.

7. In our order Seishin is termed Washin
The shinobisamurai’s strategic techniques are sublimated into the philosophical code, way(Do 道). Harmonious heart (Washin 和心) is the fundamental spirit to make it happen.

8. The ninshi
While the ninshi train themselves, they incorporate the ideas of Ninshido into their daily practices. The ninshi seek to turn social problems to be more harmonious for the mass.

The fundamental laws found through training are applied in different fields, and then Do become recognized in societies.
The ninshi plan and carry things out and assess the results, and if they are not satisfactory, efforts are made to get better results.

The Ninshido requires the ninshi to understand situations objectively before taking any measure. The ninshi “observe, orient, decide and act.”

9. Mind-Body Oneness
One of the elements in ninjutsu is sensing (Kannoh 感応). To sense, mind-body oneness (Shinshin Ichinyo 心身一如)becomes essential. An effective way to learn to sense is to combine mental and physical training.

Ku-no-kyouchi

Our ancestors started to work for Tokugawa Ieyasu in 1582 by the request from Hattori Hanzo, and were officially employed by the Shogunate in 1603. Those were the Shinobizamurai of the Sengoku Period, the major part of our tradition was formed during the Edo Period. Our people left Iga and Mikawa and came to Edo to work for a large organization, so they developed their own philosophy starting out from Seishin which might have been the standard guideline for Koka and Iga shinobi.During the Warring State Period, shinobi were often hired individually, so when a Shinobi working for a feudal lord “A” met his relative working for another lord “B”, they would exchange information to each other. Similar things happened from time to time. Knowing this, the Tokugawa Shogunate used only their retainers like our ancestors to gather intelligence and take care of shinobi related work so confidential matters would not leak. Our clan remained anonymous. They kept things to themselves. They were so careful to keep a clan, that they married the people from the same backgrounds. But in one thing they became rather outstanding. They researched and studied a lot. And that caught the attention of the Shogunate. Though they were not high-ranking samurai, by 1850’s they were very familiar with the situations in the world, when Japan still remained isolated. Our ancestors learned the Four Books and Five Classics of Confucianism and took exams. Of course they learned other arts, too. We see that some of our ancestors were awarded prizes from the Shogunate because of their mastery in martial arts.Then some high-ranking officials like Ii Naosuke started to give orders directly to them. So those became “Tenshu shinobi”. They were the shinobi who received orders directly from lords. We decided to call those ancestors of the time “Ninshi”. Those were the elite shinobi samurai with special knowledge.When a new member starts in our order, we ask this person to report about 5 places of interest. This is an easy task, but not everybody completes it. Many may think, this has nothing to do with ninjutsu or ninja. Well, for us this is important because we can get to know the new ninja. One has to know how to work in a shinobi order. So only the ones who complete requirements reach the next level. We want to make ninshi leaders, who know our ninjutsu. We say a ninjutsu is not a martial art. It is a way to make things work well in the world toward peace. To make a proper judgement, “Seishin” written in Mansen Shukai is not enough, and that’s why our shinobi order philosophy developed.

—————————————————————————-

This year, we have a Zoom NinYori in our Order of Shinobi Samurai once a month. The members attending are very dedicated ninshi. Each time very insightful topics come up and I learn a lot. In the NinYori of Aug 23rd, there was a question about the difference between Heijohshin (even or ordinary mind) and the state of Ku. Can or do the shinobi fight in the state of Ku? Tohmoku’s answer was “Yes, but you don’t know it when you were in the state close to Ku. Only after fighting when you look back over the things happened you may realize that you were in that Kyohchi (the mental and spiritual state). Ku is no-self, no ego, so you are not here as a person, you are part of the nature or balance. You know what happens. The happenings are subconsciously understood.A veteran warrior may have very clear and calm preparedness, he can sometimes foretell what his enemy will do. This does not come from Ku-no-Kyohchi, or his closeness to Ku. We define this mental state, Heijohshin (even or orninary mind). In this case the warrior is conscious of everything, and he judges and chooses to do correct and proper things.In most of the Japanese martial arts schools, they advocate one of them as the ultimate purpose of training, heijohshin or Ku-no-kyohchi, Our ancestors chose Ku. Even though one can get close to Ku, one does not become a saint or demi-god. We know we will never reach there, but we make efforts to go closer by giving compassionate services to our communities, As shinobi we prefer our work remains unnoticed.

Ninshi Yoriai Zoom Meet

忍士寄合 Ninshi-Yoriai Zoom Meet

For the members of the Shinobi Samurai Order who finished the first 5 reports, I’m planning to have another Zoom meeting to explain our ninjutsu techniques based on Gorin principle and the idea of Kyomei Mizukagami.

How about July 26th Sunday, 10 am, Japan TIme?

This hour may be good for those in the Americas.

Maybe we should have one more session for those in Europe.

July 26th Sunday 10:00 am, Japan
         11;00 am, Australia
         6:30 am, India
         4:00 am, Estonia
         3:00 am, France,Spain, Poland,Germany, Croatia,Switzerland
         2:00 am UK
July 25th Saturday 10:00 pm, Argentina, Brazil
         9:00pm, Chili, New York, Canada,Cuba
8:00pm, Colombia, Mexico, Chicago
         6:00pm, Los Angeles, Phoenix
If you can participate in this meeting let me know.

Our ninjutsu

Dear Shinobishu, though we use sword fighting kata when we explain our ninjutsu, please be sure to know that we don’t think martial arts are the essential part of ninjutsu. Our ninjutsu has been the techniques to get information and stay alive to report them to the clan headquarters so that the Jonin (上忍) can make use of them by providing advice to clients.

Since 2006 we have reorganized our order, but we have followed our ancestors ideas. Recently we named them Ninshido for the sake of convenience. Our forefathers didn’t bother to name their philosophy or other arts. There were over 3000 people working as onmitsu, and in order to keep things going well, they needed to develop a system to educate their members. Then in a way they turned to be perhaps more disciplined than ordinary samurai. We have decided to call those onmitsu, “ninshi”.

]The ninshi were the samurai who engaged in espionage. Those were educated in the government school of Shoheiko. Since they needed to make good marks in the Gakumon Ginmi (学問吟味) examinations to be promoted, they studied very hard. As a result, they could accumulate enough knowledge and became capable of developing their own shinobi samurai (ninshi) philosophy with an education system. Following the curricula they systematized, they found it easier to educated their youth with less time. They developed clear divisions of work.

Our ancestors of the 19th century chose diplomacy to be their expertise. They were the first ones to learn English, French, Russian and other languages. So, their ninjutsu were not martial arts but psychological techniques to intervene in diplomatic situations and maintain the country’s independence. The ninshi standards were established and their ninjutsu techniques were classified so that the onmitsu could use each technique more effectively. When a leader says his team will use the fire technique, the members understand how to operate. We sorted them into 5 categories, and we call them Gorin principle. This is our way to think.

The Gorin principle is fundamental that all the shinobinomono and shinobi-samurai at the front line could refer to when they were in operation.According to Mansen Shukai, seishin was the guideline for the shinobi in Koka and Iga. But the shinobi-samurai assimilated the ethics of Gotoku in their code. Seishin gives justification for the shinobi to carry on their missions. But when the shinobi worked for the shogunate, the scale of the government was by far larger than those of provincial governments. The Shogunate encouraged their samurai to study Neo-Confucianism. So the Ninshido is based on its ideas. In the 20th century our ancestors added the ideas of Christianity. It doesn’t mean the entire shinobishu became Christian. In our clan our ancestors took the idea of Ku, which is very general that an individual could interpret from his/her religious or non-religious viewpoints. So we never had any religious issues in our clan.

Our ninjutsu is the technique that our shinobi gather information and intervene in given situations without being noticed to improve the situation towards peace. A shinobi walks on the path to Ku. It can be hard to the next stage from the current point one is in, so education helps. A system with good curricula is indispensable.A good example may be the way to strengthen sensitivity. We don’t say you develop sensitivity through martial art training. For many of us meditation is more effective. So you need to teach the way. The student does not need to spend years to acquire it, if taught correctly. A teacher has to be confident to teach this. (S)he should give their students instructions easy to understand. The teacher should not say things ambiguously or in an abstract terms. Just teach them a correct way, then students do not need to spend a lot of time feeling at a loss. They can find their next phase quicker.

Gorin or 5 rings consist of 5 natural elements. Earth, water, fire, wind and ku (sky, void, emptiness, no-self). Our ancestors defined the attributes of each. Earth, the basic, symbolizes natural power. Water means fluidity or change. Fire means chance or passion. Wind is freedom and growth. Ku is no-self or perfect peace.In the technique of earth, we use natural strength and control the situation by force. In the technique of fire, we make a change to control the situation. So each of the 5 elements indicates the way we act. So you may use psychological technique in our negotiations or conversations, or use music or fine arts or any of your expertise. There are specialists and generalists, each of them has a place to work, as working together we know we can be of service to the society more effectively. When the general public feels thankful because of the unnoticed work of our members, we feel rewarded.

The Shinobi 1st class

Qualifications

Those who completed more than 5 reports.

Your regional news or article about places of interest will be placed here.

Before you advance to Onmitsu 2nd class, please make sure you know what the following are:

Gorin Goton, Gojoh(Gosha no jutsu) Gogyo, Godai

Futae Ibuki breathing

the idea of Kyomei**

Tanukigakure, Uzurakakure

the difference between In’nin and Yonin

shinobi rokugu and come up with your own version

and

Submit 4 short reports

(can be on places of interest, or regional news, of them one can be a report on your volunteer work)

The Onmitsu 2nd class

Qualifications

・Always consistent and reliable
・Able to plan and lead volunteer work
・Capable of serving as a team leader, club leader
・Capable of working as a liaison for the regional HQ.
・Read one of the ninja textbooks: Mansen Shukai, Shoninki, Ninpiden, and make 5 questions for the members to anwer.
・Read the book of Gorin by Miyamoto Musashi and make 3 questions to ask the members
・Able to lead meditation
・Do meditation and take notes at least twice a week or more.
・Device an original weapon or an attire.
・Able to explain** our basic gorin ideas**
・Knows what Seishin is.

・Able to demonstrate expertise in the field where you find your path to** KU** (no-self).
・Able to use needles.

(You can also develop your own standard ideas for you to employ ninjutsu instead of Gorin principle.

・After learning the Ninshido standards, you will submit one paper on Ninshido ideas, or 2 reports on current issues and a report on your volunteer work and a short paper (700-800 words) on Gorin.

**For those who want to represent us with your arts**

**The art is not limited to martial art(s).**

After sending us your 7th report. you will send a video or explain to us your understanding of Gorin principle when you use your ninjutsu on your mission on a video conference. The fee for the examination is 10,000 yen.

The Shinobi Time

It is the “Shinobi time”; the time of the endurance now. So it’s an opportunity for us to think what the shinobi are.
Speaking of the shinobi, there are many types of ninjas now. Many think that the real ninjas should be good at fighting like the 16th century in-nin (ninjas) with excellent physical abilities. Were all the ninja in’nin? Defintely not. The majority were yonin.

Our ancestors were the 16th century Iga ninshi (shinobi-samurai). They came to Edo to serve the shogunate, and while working for the shoguns developed their mindsets gradually.
Our ideas are based on our ancestors philosophy.
For the Tokugawa government the most important shinobi were those so-called “Kusa” and “Root”. They were stationed throughout the country to gather and exchange information without catching the attention of people and they sent their reports to the shogunate.

A network of shinobi is still essential. We think the shinobi are observant people that can determine the needs of their communities, and they gather and analyze information and provide reliable results to them. Their findings should be useful to the community and the society.

Things we can do: one example is:
If some are troubled by unfavorable rumors, the shinobi should be able to do research and find evidences to check credibility. The shinobi should be careful to be not blinded by unsubstantiated information.
If the rumors are bogus, they make efforts to dispel them anonymously to keep the community in harmony.
The people who have common sense and can think and work quietly for the benefit of others will become top-notch shinobi.

The mission of the shinobi order is to unite the shiobi and integrate their pro bono efforts, and deal with information to keep peace among people. The shinobi order is not a mere social circle as it has a purpose and it functions as a small think and do tank.

Ninshido : A new paradigm in the Order of Shinobi-Samurai

This is the abstract of the presentation we gave at the third annual convention of the International Ninja Research Association held in Ueda, Nagano , on Sept. 14, 2019.Ninshido: The New paradigm of the Order of Shinobi SamuraiA paradigm is a distinct set of concepts or thought patterns, and standards for what constitutes legitimate contributions to a field.

Contents of this presentation:

Part 1 Introduction

Part 2 Comparison of Shinobisamurai (Ninshi) in Mansen Shukai and that of our order.

Part 3 Ninshido as a New Paradigm

Part 4 Advocacy of Ninshido

Part 1 Introduction

Since 2006, we have been working to elevate Musashi-ryu Ninjutsu to the higher standards of Do (the way) and to help create a new culture. Our Order has identified the fundamental principles and has set up a system to create the paradigm. Our Order has termed the paradigm “The Code of Shinobi Samurai, or “Ninshido”. The members of our order share this practice of ninjutsu. Presently, we have started to slowly disclose the contents of Ninshido to the public. In this presentation, we offer a comprehensive vision of this paradigm and explain its usefulness.

Part 2 Comparison of Shinobisamurai in Mansen Shukai and how that applies to our order

Mansen Shukai and Shoninki discuss the philosophy of the shinobi. In this presentation, we will review the concept of morality and ethics of the ninjas in the Mansen Shukai (1676 version), followed by the study of the background of Ninshido of our order. The book is owned by the National Archives of Japan Cabinet Library.

In Mansen Shukai, the shinobi are classified into two categories, Shinobisamurai and Shinobinomono. The Shinobisamurai are samurai who practice ninjutsu. They are supposed to be true to their seishin (having a spirit that is unrelenting to the pressures of life & difficultly) and follow their jutsuri (mechanics and principles) of seizing the opportunities to conduct intelligence activities.

Our Order of Shinobi Samurai defines samurai operatives (Metsuke) and samurai who engaged in covert activities for the Edo Shogunate, and those who became key to intelligence activities in Europe as envoys as the Edo Ninshi (Shionobi-samurai or Ninshi). It’s obvious that Edo ninshi examinees acquired knowledge of how to govern society as well as ethical norms based on Confucianism and neo-Confucianism owing to Gakumon Gimmi recruitment examinations by the Shogunate. It is presumed that this shift in samurai qualities took place before the introduction of Bushido by Nitobe Inazo.

Part 3 Ninshido as a New Paradigm

Ninshido evolves and adapts to change. The Order of Shinobi Samurai has defined the modern ninshi as a person with expertise, belongs to the organization, finds and assembles information, and works for a common goal while walking in the path of NIN or Harmony.

In the Taisho era, Christian ideas were introduced in our order and our ancestors’ paradigm changed. In the latter half of the Showa era, Yin-Yang concept, Zen and the like were added to our shinobi philosophy, and new theories along with ideals were then established.

In the Heisei era, the fundamental philosophy was named Resonance and Water Mirror, and the ultimate purpose of our training was to be one with “ku” or to obtain “no-self.” Guidelines, systems and methods were established to gradually shift our member’s expertise from jutsu (art) to Do (Way). Ninshi practice mental training and ninja skills which put their Ninshi philosophy and creeds into daily practice. By putting the spirit of Resonance and Water Mirror in their daily activities, Ninshi can carry out their missions, make decisions, create things, and develop new human resources and skills.

In our modern times, Ninshi make use their developed sensibility to practice ninjutsu skills and knowledge to be in harmony in all situations. The action guideline is expressed by the four characters: “Lin puh lai in” signifying ; Act quietly and fast, get results instantly without being noticed.” An example of this idea is the “Musashi Ninja Experience”. An instructor and an interpreter/trainer objectively look at the participants in each experience and accurately grasp what’s needed. The interpreter makes liberal translations, obtaining necessary information from the participants, and adjusts the contents of the experience with the instructor while communicating between the different cultures.

Part 4 Advocacy of Ninshido

A paradigm of the educational system and teaching philosophy is indispensable to develop and spread the ninja culture in Japan and abroad. With this paradigm, ninjutsu practitioners can effectively utilize the traditional shinobi techniques and timeless wisdom in this modern age. We Advocate Ninshido as a valid framework for today and for the future.

What is important for us

When people say, “Thank God, things turned out all right.” The comment makes the shinobi smile, when the shinobi were the ones who worked and could manipulate a given situation so that peaceful outcome would be achieved. The shinobi observe and when necessary intervene without getting noticed. The ninjutsu the shinobi used is what we call the “Empathetic Resonance Technique.”

Things have balances. So seeing the balance swaying, and a shinobi places a weight on one side to keep things well-balanced so that a society or people enjoy harmony and peace. We can say our ninjutsu is to control balances. Depending on the location of the weight on a balance we see differences in results.

We need to train our people to judge the nature of a given situation from a shinobi standpoint. The Sengoku Period ninjas were only to abide by “Seishin (正心)” The Seishin was a mindset to justify what they did, and it was not an ethical or moral guideline. When Japan became peaceful, our ancestors thought the Seishin mindset was not adequate. They adopted the Gojoh principle to be the base for their value judgement, and to expect or anticipate results of their activities, Gogyo principles. The ninjutsu techniques they employ are divided into 5 types or Gorin.

How does a future-shinobi learn them?

First of all, a system where a prospective ninja can acquire necessary mindsets, and capacity to take control of a situation, and develop his/her grit, is what we think is essential. Every ryuha school has a system. A prospective student checks what a school can offer and decides which to attend. So we give an overview of our training system.

Our curricula can be expressed with “術より法を知り、根源に至れば、無限を知る jutsu yori hoh wo shiri, kongen ni itareba, mugen to naru( From an art you get to know the fundamental principles, and then by getting to the root, you get to know the infinity.)” The techniques of Goton (Five types of escape), and Gosha (Five wheels) are based on Gogyo. From Gogyo we learn “相生・相克(sohsei, sohkoku) the way to produce, or way to destroy.”

Our technical principles are based on Gorin. To employ any technique, a definite value judgement system is indispensable, so we learn 五常 Gojoh. Then, a shinobi is now ready to go on a mission. The guideline for a shinobi to operate is “林風雷隠(lin puh lai in) To move quietly, and fast, get a result invisibly without losing time.)

People who are willing to follow our requests and put them to practice will learn in our system.

What is Onmitsu?

During the Warring States period, there used to be a lot of the ninja groups in Japan. The Iga and Koga people were especially famous as mercenary ninjas.
Since the Igamono (Iga people) helped Tokugawa Ieyasu to go through the Iga mountains to get to safety, they were officially employed as samurai by the Tokugawa Shogunate after Ieyasu unified the country and received the title of Shogun from the emperor of the time. The Igamono took on the duties of undercover agents and spies, together with other samurais without shinobi backgrounds. They were the shogun’s samurai retainers, and were called the Tokugawa Shogunate’s secret agents “Kohgi Onmitsu(公儀隠密). Our ancestors were shinobi-samurai (ninshi 忍士), onmitsu of the Tokugawas. They were different from the shinobinomono (those who didn’t belong to the samurai class) of Warring States time, so were their mindsets. Receiving education from the government school of Shoheiko meant a lot to the shinobi samurai. They studied hard.

Nakane Masanori, inspector general of the shogunate, organized a covert organization belonging to the government in the early part of the 17th century. Around that time the code of samurai (“shido” not “bushido”) was established, and the shinobi-samurai’s ideas of were formed. The shinobi-samurai’s thoughts were focused on “harmony” of the society, where people of different cultures live peacefully and prosper together. The Onmitsushu (agents) consisted of all types of people, not only the Igamono and Kokamono but Oniwaban from Kishu and other samuraishu who worked as intelligence agent and secret police. They are the samurai from all types of schools and traditions and regions, but they shared the same ideal and worked for the common causes: peace keeping in the country and prosperity of the societies. This is one of the reasons that the Tokugawa Shogunate could last for 265 years.

The onmitsu of the shinobi samurai order

We want to follow suit with our ancestors on a transnational scale. But becoming an “onmitsu (shinobi samurai)” is not our goal. Our purpose is to help realize and keep international friendship. That’s why we become an onmitsu of this order. The Warring States Era ninjutsu were mainly tonjutsu (art of escape) and that of survival, but the ninjutsu for the onmitsu is johjutsu (情術:art of communication, psychological techniques). The onmitsu see to it that they are not noticed when they work to bring about harmony to any given situation in view of international friendship. We are going to introduce our ideas to our new members. When we have people from different backgrounds, we need to get to know each other and make efforts to share the same mindsets and values. We will build relations of trust among us.

So, we ask our members to report on places of interest in his/her country. When we read a report, we can get to know the contributor a bit better. After completion of certain numbers of reports, the correspondent shinobi advances to a higher rank of onmitsu. Then we ask the person to include some particular information in his/her following reports. We don’t talk about martial arts so much, as martial arts training do not make people onmitsu. Martial arts training is one of the ways to get to Ku (no-self). So are many other paths to get there. A street vendor or hitch-hiker can be excellent intelligence agents without so much of martial arts knowledge. Training in self defense may be recommended. We, the members. are the onmitsu, and we contribute to the society by providing information the general public may be interested in. Active shinobi who can collect and analyse information are our assets.

Of course, there are other types of shinobi who just train themselves or instruct students, etc in our clan. Those are supporting shinobi to the active ones who collect information, as we have divisions of work. In this research center, everyone is expected to submit at least one report a year.