View Full Version : The ninja during WWII
08-17-2000, 11:09 AM
I was curious as to the role of ninja during WWII. Did they train their fellow countrymen? What was Takamatsu doing during that time? Were there other ninjutsu ryu during that time as well? For the most part were they regular soldiers, or special forces?
08-17-2000, 02:06 PM
In 1938, Japanese military intelligence established the Nakano School for spies; its official name was "Training Unit for Rear Duties Agents." While the Japanese government wanted foreign studies, the school’s romantic young officers believed themselves to be modern-day ninjas. ("Success in clandestine activity comes from integrity" was the unit motto.) Accordingly, Nakano students studied martial arts and disguises as well as infiltration, propaganda, and sabotage, and some of the nonsense written about ninjutsu originated from this location. Why? In the words of historians Meirion and Susie Harries, "Many Japanese spies also tended toward the credulous." In this the Japanese were hardly alone: Special Operations Executive and the Office of Strategic Services were Nakano’s British and American equivalents.
Until 1942, their instructor was Morihei Ueshiba; after that it was a series of Shotokan and Wado-ryu karate instructors. (Evidently Ueshiba's aikibudo students were having some trouble dodging bullets, so with shortened training schedules the Japanese Army figured a punch in the nose and a kick in the crotch would work better.)
For some passing references, see Louis Allen, "The Nakano School," Japan Society Proceedings, 10, 1985, 9-15; Harries and Harries, "Soldiers of the Sun: The Rise and Fall of the Imperial Japanese Army" (New York: Random House, 1991); Graham Noble, Noble, "Master Funakoshi’s Karate, Part III," _Dragon Times_, vol. 5, 1996, 6-7; (I didn't check to see if the latter was included in the sections posted at Dragon Times, but if it is, then the URL would be http://www.dragon-tsunami.org/Dtimes/Pages/articled1.htm or thereabouts); and Samuel Salone, "Ninjutsu: They Knew All about Poison Gas," Japan Times, June 17, 1940, reprinted at vol. II of Journal of Non-Lethal Combatives at http://ejmas.com/jnc/jncframe.htm .
If somebody knows more (or differently), I am very interested in seeing the documents. (Send 'em in Japanese if you have to; eventually I'll find somebody to translate them.)
In France, the story is that Fujita Seiko and Kawaishi Mikonosuke trained Japanese spies during WWII, and it is rumored that they practiced effects of blows on concentration camp inmates. Fujita's French text is "L'Art Sublime et Ultime des Points Vitaux", Fugita Saiko et Henri Plee, http://www.budostore.fr/pages/french/frenc_fr.htm
[Edited by Joseph Svinth on 08-17-2000 at 03:15 PM]
Hiroo Onada wrote the book No Surrender: My Thirty-Year War. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1974 after his 30 year stay behind lines in the Philippines. He was a graduate of the Rikugun Nakano Gakko and describes its training in one chapter. He doesn't talk about assasanation techniques or army budo training, but he does mention he was a 2-dan in kendo.
Very interesting book -- and it is in English.
08-17-2000, 10:52 PM
I too would like to know this.
I bet Japan could have won alot of the battles if they just hired the ninja. Do you know how helpful the large number of Iga would have been if the damn shogunate law didnt raid them. Just send some ninja to a enemy base at 3am, quietly kill some sentry, put the sentry clothes on, cut off his face and wash it in water, wear his face(hey, ninja dont have any limits), go inside the base, and either shoot everyone with a machine gun or just wait until the majority fell asleep and quietly execute them one by one. It would have been much better than firing into the open while yelling, "here I am, please shoot me!!!".
But my guess is that the ninja didnt know what was going on. Maybe they didnt believe land-takeovers were possable.
How could the shogunate be so stupid as to kill the ones who could have helped then for a small about of money! Matane.
08-18-2000, 05:02 AM
On Okinawa in 1945 there was one commando raid in which a bunch of Japanese transports full of infantry crash landed on the US airfield and proceeded to shoot up the place. Eventually the base security trashed them, but the result was still a significant portion of the USAAF aircraft losses of the Okinawa campaign. A far less successful event occurred at Guadalcanal in 1942; this Japanese Marine battalion tried to sneak into US Marine lines one moonlit night and unfortunately for them there was a watercooled US M1917 Browning .30 machine gun awaiting them...
Mas Oyama was in one of these so-called Special Attack Groups in 1945, so probably other MA people were involved, too.
[Edited by Joseph Svinth on 08-18-2000 at 06:05 AM]
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