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True Path of the Ninja: The Definitive Translation of the Shoninki (An Authentic Ninja Training Manual) Hardcover – March 10, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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  • True Path of the Ninja: The Definitive Translation of the Shoninki (An Authentic Ninja Training Manual)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"…the most excellent masterpiece of all the manuscripts on ninjutsu that have ever been written." —Otake Risuke, Katori Shinto Ryu, Head Teaching Master, from his foreword

"…every time you reread this book you will obtain a new perspective." —Dr. Nakashima Atsumi, Translator of the Shoninki into modern Japanese

"…the first definitive English-language translation of the "Shoninki." —Metropolis

About the Author

Antony Cummins is a world-renowned Ninja historian. His background as an archaeologist gives him unique insight into the mysterious world of the historical Ninja and Samurai. Cummins' works include translations of the most authentic Ninja documents available to modern researchers and readers. He is the author of several books on Ninja and Japanese warfare, including: Samurai and Ninja, The Book of Ninja, Iga and Koka Ninja Skills, The Secret Traditions of the Shinobi, In Search of the Ninja, Samurai War Stories and The Book of Samurai.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; Hardcover with Jacket edition (March 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4805311142
  • ISBN-13: 978-4805311141
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
At first I was skeptical with this book when I decided to get a translation of Shoninki, because of some of the controversy surrounding the author. So I purchased the Axel version instead. But upon investigating the work of Antony Cummins, I came to the conclusion that most of the controversy is not founded in any objective criticism, but rather in personal attacks due to the author's comments regarding Bujinkan and modern Ninjitsu.

So from a skeptic, I came all the way, to my current opinion that this is a far better translation of Shoninki than the version by mr. Axel. The book is very detailed, and pays much attention to details. The author states that a lot of footnotes were incorporated into the text itself due to publisher's request. This is my only objection to this book, but I know the author didn't have a choice in the matter as much.

In regards to the work itself. It might be a disappointment to those who are used to the popular image of a Ninja warrior provided by media and modern Ninjutsu schools, which are unable to prove their lineage. This isn't a book for kids playing with shurikens. It's a manual on espionage, communication skills, strategy etc.
In fact it is much more usable in everyday life, than any martial arts book could ever come close to be. As the shoninki states itself, the real war is fought with words, not weapons. And the greatest Shinobi is he who manages to have no enemies. If a Ninja has to hit someone or use a sword, then he is a really bad Ninja. This is the whole message of the book.

If anyone is interested in REAL Ninpo, historical Ninpo, as opposed to modern imaginative reenactments, or 80's movies nonsense, I'd recommend this book. If you are, like me, looking to buy any translation of Shoninki and can't make up your mind, I'd advise you to buy this one first(and others then just to compare).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Puts aside the misrepresentation of the ninja as seen on TV and screen..... A easy read and the chapters were not filled with hype..... It put the reader in the era of the Ninja instead of having you believe all the mysticism.....
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A lot of work went into producing this book and every word is a gem that could have been lost if it weren't for Antony and his translation team. For anyone wanting to learn about the techniques, strategies and the day to day lives of the ninja buy this book!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An excellent read one of the best translations of the shoninki I've ever found. Don't set your Kindle with a black background, the formatting for the text makes many pages look blank, causing you to feel quite foolish when you change it realizing that was why text was invisible before
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So it turns out this once secret manual, a manual many were waiting for , for years, is among other things about guerrilla tactics, intelligence gathering, survivalism, bush-craft, sabotage, psychological manipulation , con-artistry and trickery, general military strategy, physiognomy, divination and last but not least asymmetric warfare. The Ninja is a much broader set of skills than previously imagined, they never really cared much about unarmed hand combat "known now as martial arts", and preferred much to accomplish their tasks using deception and winning without a fight a la Sun Tzu. This is truly a masterpiece, its not a detailed step by step manual, but more of a general know-how book on how to become a ninja. While some of the stuff can be recreated , most would need "kuden" or oral knowledge which has been unfortunately lost. If you know what to expect, from what I have written above, this book will entertain you.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
it's good to have every version of translations of books like this, as some parts are open to interpretation. My first main complaint is that they inserted their footnotes into the text, rather than keeping them separate, which in turn no longer makes this a very "definitive" translation.

Second of all, Yoshie isn't very good at translating the latter parts once they get into deeper topics. Her translation is pretty dry and misses the essence of the original text.

Personally, I prefer the other english version of the Shoninki available [with the black cover] but have this version also to double check things. If you're going to only get one version, get the other.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
True Path of the Ninja is the first authoritative translation in English of the Shoninki--the famous 17th century ninja training manual. Antony Cummins and Yoshie Minami worked closely with Dr. Nakashima Atsumi, author of the most comprehensive modern Japanese version of the Shoninki, thus making this English translation the closest to the original scrolls. The information and insights found in this translation are invaluable for understanding the skills, techniques and mentality of the historical ninja. Whether it involved tips for surviving in the wild, advice on intelligence-gathering techniques, or methods for creating chaos in the enemy camp, the True Path of the Ninja unveils secrets long lost.Also included is the first written record of the oral tradition "Defense Against a Ninja" taught by Otake Risuke, the revered sensei of the legendary Katori Shinto Ryu school of swordsmanship. It reveals for the first time the traditional teachings on how the samurai can protect himself from the cunning wiles of a ninja. Highly recommended!!!
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