Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hattori Hanzo, Ninja [Ninja Week!]

The most famous historical ninja of all is Hattori Hanzo. Of course, there's no actual record of him having been a ninja, only that he was a samurai from Iga (one of the two homes of ninja, the other being Koga) who served under Tokugawa Ieyasu.

You can find all sorts of factual and fictional accounts of Hanzo. And pretty much any manga or anime or movie made in Japan will either have the man himself, one of his descendants (who of course have the same name), or at least someone named Hanzo or something similar.

Hanzo as he appears in the video game Samurai Warriors.

And if you've only seen Kill Bill, well, he was not a swordsmith (although they do imply that the Hanzo in the movie is a descendant of the legend).

As most historical records that even mention shinobi only have references like, "a shinobi entered such-and-such castle and set a fire," actually having a Man of Iga on record, sort of, makes him a ninja superstar!

Okay, maybe not quite that big of a superstar, but hey, it's Bootsy, baby!

Well, anyway, if you're gonna have ninja in your game, learning the accounts of Hattori Hanzo, both historically verified and fictitious, can only help to improve your game and your ideas about what ninjas were, and what they could be.


  1. I agree wholeheartedly about the learning part. People have this unfortunate misconception that ancient and medieval people were all idiots, crafting things out of blocks of metal and unable to figure out anything.

    For example, when I point out that they invented central heating in 1000 BC in China, or that they had a programmable analogue computer in the 1200s, people are baffled, like the idea that you could get a machine to do math for you was invented in the 20s or something.

    In reality, as you probably know, people were incredibly capable of things that people even today think are impossible. Truth is stranger than fiction in 99% of the cases! :)

  2. Woh, I watched 'Goemon' LAST NIGHT, a film about a ninja-trained master thief, guess what the trainer was called ...