The definitive history of the ninja, based on a wealth of historical texts, local Japanese sources, and John Man's own treks across Asia
"An immensely entertaining history, packed with splendidly blood-thirsty tales of derring-do, feats of endurance and self-sacrifice." —The Guardian
Out of the violent chaos of medieval Japan, a remarkable band of peasants rose to become the world's most feared warriors—trained to perfect the art of ninjutsu, the deadly union of martial arts and deception. Today, however, these real life ninjas are overshadowed by legend and pop culture caricatures. Could they fly? Climb walls? Make themselves invisible?
Drawing on a wealth of historical texts, local Japanese sources, and his own comprehensive treks across Asia, acclaimed author John Man takes us back to the ninjas' origins in China, through to their heyday in the bloody civil wars that ended with the unification of Japan in 1600. Man also illuminates the twentieth-century reemergence of the Japanese tradition of shadow warfare through the Nakano Spy School—the elite military-intelligence academy that operated as an extensive spy network during World War II—and reveals one former Nakano soldier, Onoda Hiroo, who may be the last surviving ninja.
Compelling and absorbing, Ninja reveals at last the fascinating true history behind one of the world's most enduring legends.