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