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Ninja Attack!: True Tales of Assassins, Samurai, and Outlaws Paperback – November 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA (November 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 477003119X
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770031198
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.5 x 5.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,983,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Product Description
An entire generation has become fascinated with the stealth, ferocity and wisdom of the ninja--the epitome of the Japanese "tough guy." Ninja Attack! is the ultimate reference for those who want to know more about them and their legendary lives. This book covers the most unforgettable ninja in history, ranging from the leaders of ninja clans to solo artists, occult masters, warlords who used their cunning to help their climb to the top, and vicious assassins and warriors. Each of these real-life figures is presented with a full-page illustration, smaller illustrations and photos, along with detailed descriptions and anecdotes about his life, weapons, weaknesses--and how he met his end. While the book is research-based and factual, it is most definitely not a dry history tome. Instead, it is a lively and accessible source of entertainment that provides readers with a deeper understanding of Japanese culture and history.

Fascinating Ninja Facts from Ninja Attack!

1. The masks that we’ve come to associate with ninja are largely a work of fiction, as are the infamous all-black outfits. In reality, ninja wore outfits that let them be as unobtrusive as possible. Most dressed like farmers, both because it worked well as camouflage in a nation of farmers, and because most of them really were farmers.

Ninja Attack

2. In Japanese, the word “ninja” is written with the kanji characters meaning “clandestine” and “person.”

3. Body odor was a significant issue for ninja, as a strong scent could lead to one’s hiding place. They generally avoided highly aromatic foods such as garlic, chives, or onions, and meat, and bathed fastidiously.

Ninja Attack

4. Ninja watched their weight carefully, as one might expect for people who spent inordinate amounts of time hanging from rafters or crouched beneath floorboards. The ideal weight was said to be no greater than a full sack of rice: 132 lbs.

5. Mochizuki Chiyojo remains the only female ninja of whom anything is even vaguely known. She created a squad of female intelligence operatives known as “walking maidens” who criss-crossed the country in the guise of holy women, entertainers, and prostitutes, gathering information for their masters.

6. Although in popular culture ninja are often portrayed as wearing chainmail shirts or hoods, the weight and noise made these useless for the average ninja mission, which relied on stealth and avoiding the enemy.

7. With his eye-patch, rakish good looks, top-notch sword skills--and the ability to stop a sword between the palms of his hands--it’s no wonder that 17th-century ninja rival Yagyu Jubei has been the star of countless comic books, films, and historical dramas. A classic scene early in Akira Kurasawa’s Seven Samurai, in which a talented swordsman is forced to kill a challenger who refuses to admit defeat, is supposedly based on a real-life incident from Jubei’s travels.

Ninja Attack

8. Momochi Tanba, seemingly a middle-aged farmer, was actually an extremely powerful figure in the early 16th century, who personally trained and commanded a vast army of ninja. He was so dedicated to subterfuge, that he split his time among three separate residences, each one with its own wife and family.

9. Upon becoming Shogun in 1716, Tokugawa Yoshimune established Japan’s first true, clandestine intelligence service: the Omwa-ban, aka “the Gardeners.”

10. In 1853, four heavily armed American warships sailed unannounced into Urago Harbor, just south of modern-day Tokyo. Unknown to Commodore Matthew Perry, the fleet’s commander, Sawamura Jinzaburo Yasusuke, often called the “last ninja,” secretly boarded one of the American ships to gather information about the mysterious foreigners. He returned with items he took from the ship: two loaves of bread, two cigarettes, two candles, and two pages of a document, written in Dutch and believed to be personal writings.

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-For anyone who's ever wondered how they would fare against a kappa, kitsune, or the dreaded kuchisake onna, these lively volumes are structured as handbooks for surviving encounters with Japan's legendary monsters, spirits, assassins, and spies. Ninja Attack! dispels stereotypes while filling in the real history of these infamous spies and assassins. Yokai Attack! catalogs demons and monsters, and Yurei Attack! focuses on gruesome ghost stories. Action-packed tales of vengeful spirits and shape-shifting badgers are accompanied by historical background, regional origins, and related trivia, while profiles of well-known ninja are interspersed with details of their daily lives, such as housing and food. Each book includes appendixes with recommended books, movies, and websites for further research. Gleefully gory manga-style illustrations in full color add to the creep-out factor of the texts, and eye-catching layouts with photographs and reproductions of woodblock prints make for a visually appealing reading experience. Japanese names and words are seamlessly integrated into the texts, with Japanese characters appearing alongside English translations and pronunciation guides. An engaging blend of information and entertainment, this trilogy is a fantastic reference for budding manga artists who want to incorporate Japanese legends into their own stories, or anyone who simply enjoys a good scare.-Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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It's written at just the right reading level.
BasaBasa
The cartoon-like artwork really brings what's written alive.
Merav Taylor
This book is a must read for Ninja lovers everywhere!
Charm505

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Were you one of those people that watched Sho Kosugi films when you were younger? Watched Kung Fu cinema on television in hopes that "Super Ninja" would be televised? Purchased ninja clothes and weapons online so you can be like those ninjas you watched in the movies?

Well, if you were one of those type of people, then "Ninja Attack! True Tales of Assassins, Samurai and Outlaws" is definitely a book for you! And also a book for those who love stories about real life (and fictional) ninjas in general with some added samurai warriors to make this book even more enticing.

Back again are Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt, the husband and wife team who wrote the 2008 book "Yokai Attack!" featuring Japanese mythological spirits and monsters with a humorous take on the subject, the duo does the same with their ninja (and samurai)-driven book by featuring historical facts about these individuals and their affect on Japanese pop culture many, many years later.

As a child, I have always been into ninja storylines and like many kids back in the '80s, we had access to ninja magazines from our local supermarket and purchasing the latest ninja gear via mail order was not too difficult. Granted, my parents were not exactly the accepting type and when they found ninja stars and a sai in my closet, needless to say, my collection of ninja magazines were trashed and my hopes to becoming like a ninja were dashed.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kenpoguy on December 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is super cool and full of illustrations and facts about real life ninja and a few samurai as well.
I grew up in the 80s and wathced the ninja movies etc. I am still intrigued by by the shinobi. Fun, interesting guidebook for the ninja/martial arts enthusiasts.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Of all of Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt's "Attack!" books "Ninja Attack!" is the one I was looking forward to the least. Although I love Japan's yokai and yurei--I am the translator and webmaster of the hyakumonogatari website-- I have only a passing interest in the super-spies and assassins known collectively as ninja.

Yet to my surprise, this was the book in the series I enjoyed the most. I think it is because they didn't use the "Survival Guide" motif that I am not a big fan of. This meant they had more pages to devote to the subject matter at hand, and could cover things in greater detail. This ended up being a really fun read.

"Ninja Attack!" is nowhere near an account of Japan's historical ninja. I have read Dr. Kacem Zoughari's The Ninja: Ancient Shadow Warriors of Japan and Dr. Stephen R. Turnbull's Ninja: The True Story of Japan's Secret Warrior Cult, (not to mention Dr. Hatsumi Masaaki's modern ninja books, The Way of the Ninja: Secret Techniques and Secrets from the Ninja Grandmaster), all of which give a much more accurate account of ninja in Japanese history. Ninja were spies, assassins, and castle-breakers, as far removed from the Hollywood image of ninja as John Wayne is from historical cowboys. But like cowboys, in Japan ninja were elevated to legendary figures capable of sorcery and superhuman feats.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nicole Y. Church on October 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book was better than i expected! Action packed and interesting. A must read if you are interested in Assassins, Samurai and Outlaws! Also, cool graphics.
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This is perfect for a kid around 10 or 11 who is starting to pretend to be a ninja. It's illustrated with some very pulpy pictures of the juicer more iconic bits. It's written at just the right reading level. The Japanese is just the right amount to start them learning the basics of another language, because they want to. It covers the mythic cloudy past of Japan, the clearly documented real ninjas who did exist, ninjas in drama and theatre and comes all the way to almost the present day, including the last real documented sanctioned Ninja mission to infiltrate the American "Black Ships" of Commodore Perry... the last one they ADMIT to. ;D A true ninja history lesson, the kids won't know it was there.
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For the lover of trivia, history and ninjas! The cartoon-like artwork really brings what's written alive. I love it, my daughter (age 11, into manga, anime and Japan in general) loves it. :)
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Format: Paperback
I highly recommend the Attacks! series (Yokai, Yurei, and Ninja all) of books to anyone who is interested in Japanese mythology, and in mythology in general. As someone who has, through the years, enjoyed reading about the myths and legends of many cultures (Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Greek, Norse, etc.) I find the Attacks! books well-designed, easy to read and digest, and full of rich nuance and detail, conveyed in an easygoing manner that quickly distinguishes this collection from many old-fashioned tomes which present you with dense walls of text. This is not to suggest that the Attack! series is written for children or a "My First Mythology" book, it's quite the opposite. These well-researched books are full of context and color, which makes for lively reading no matter what your age range. They're comfortably sized for tossing in your bag for reading anywhere, and the entire series is inexpensive enough to recommend grabbing the entire set. Five stars without a doubt.
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