Folklores about the ninja and samurai, and how it influenced pop culture; think Jiraiya, Tsunade and Orochimaru from Naruto.

Sarutobi Sasuke & the Original Ninja Warrior Obstacle Course

February 20, 2017 Valerie L. Taylor

Ninja Warrior and Sarutobi Sasuke. The first one's a popular obstacle course competition, while the latter is an insanely famous Japanese folklore character. What do they have in common? Ninja Warrior is Sasuke. What!? Known as SASUKE in Japan, the famous televised obstacle course was renamed Ninja Warrior in English-speaking countries. With its rising popularity, many…

Tengu Folklore Retold by an American (who visited Japan in 1870)

December 22, 2016 William Elliot Griffis

According to folklore, the ninja were the descendants of tengu - legendary beings with long noses and hawk-like heads. These beings lived in the mountains of Japan and possessed supernatural powers. More likely than not, Shugendo yamabushi (mountain monks) - rumoured to possess extraordinary martial art skills, meditative wisdom and medicinal knowledge - inspired the Japanese version of the tengu folklore. Yet,…

Jiraiya Folklore retold by an American (who visited Japan in 1870)

September 16, 2016 William Elliot Griffis

Editor's note: This version of Jiraiya folklore was written by William Elliot Griffis. During Japan's modernisation, he was invited to Japan to reform the education system (nearly 150 years ago). Learn more about him at the end. Tale of The Gallant Jiraiya (by William Elliot Griffis) Ogata was the name of a castle-lord who lived in the Island…

The Tale of The Gallant Jiraiya (Original Folklore) – from Edo Period

September 2, 2016 Logen Lanka

Most people know Jiraiya, Tsunade and Orochimaru from the Naruto series. But did you know that these characters were originally from "Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari" a 200 year old folklore? Here are the origins, story, character profile and early movies of Jiraiya, Tsunade and Orochimaru. Origins of Jiraiya, Tsunade & Orochimaru Jiraiya Goketsu Monogatari (児雷也豪傑物語; "The Heroic Tales of Jiraiya"…

Ninja Attack! True Tales of Assassins, Samurai and Outlaws Review

December 16, 2014 Logen Lanka

Reminiscent of a full-colour graphic novel and manga (Japanese comic),  Ninja Attack! True Tales of Assassins, Samurai and Outlaws details the murky past of the ninja through its beautifully exaggerated illustrations and funny commentary by its authors. Despite the book having the feel of a comic, its contents are factual, unless you count the ninja folklores taken…

Sarutobi Sasuke, One of The Legendary Ten

December 12, 2009 Anonymous Writers

Sarutobi Sasuke is probably a fictional character that appeared in many children's stories in the early 20th Century. His life and story is probably based on a Kozuki Sasuke, a famous ninja of the Meiji era. The word "Sarutobi" means "Monkey Jump", and like many Japanese names it is actually a nickname that describes the…

Ishikawa Goemon, The Ninja Thief

November 13, 2009 Anonymous Writers

No ninjitsu school in Japan would openly acknowledge Ishikawa Goemon as one of their students. This is because, Ishikawa Goemon is considered to be the greatest thief in Japanese history. Goemon was probably a Ninja, since many sources claim that he was born in the Iga Province, the home of the Ninjas. Yet, he perverted…

Kato Danzo, The Ninja Illusionist

October 27, 2009 Anonymous Writers

All Ninjas of the olden days were attributed supernatural powers, sometimes greatly exaggerated. Many were associated with witchcraft or black magic even. The illustrious Kato Danzo was also well-known for his capabilities as an illusionist. Who else can boast of being able to swallow a whole bull in front of a crowd of over twenty…

Tengu, The Ancestors of Ninja

September 7, 2008 Logen Lanka

Based on Japanese folklore, the ninja were descendants of the tengu (a being that was half man, half crow). It was also rumoured that the ninja took orders from this being. There are several types of Tengu, of which, here are two of them: Daitengu (major tengu) Karasu Tengu (minor tengu) The daitengu are more human-like…

Yamato Takeru The First ‘Ninja’

September 3, 2008 Logen Lanka

Prince Yamato was the brave prince who set out to win over the evil rebellions of Southern Island of Kiushiu at the age of sixteen. He was very intelligent and courageous that his father had complete faith on him. It took him a long time to reach the destination and gradually he started towards the head…

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