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The Ninja: Ancient Shadow Warriors of Japan [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Kacem Zoughari
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1. Januar 2009
Ninjutsu is the most renowned and misunderstood of all martial arts. The long history of ninjutstu is often murky; surrounded by mystery and legend. Here, for the first time, is an in-depth, factual look at the entire art of ninjutsu, including emergence of the ninja warriors and philosophy in feudal Japan; detailed historical events; its context in the development of other schools of martial arts; and the philosophies and exercises of the school today.

Based on more than ten years of study and translation of authentic Japanese texts, including many that have never before been translated, this is the most comprehensive and accurate study on the art of ninjutsu ever written outside of Japan. It includes studies of ninjutsu history, philosophy, wisdom, and presents a wide range of information from authors, historians, chronicles and scrolls in order to foster a deep understanding of this "shadowy" art.

For those who train in ninjutsu, for other martial art practitioners, for historians, and for anyone with an interest in Japanese feudal history or Japanese martial arts, The Ninja: Ancient Shadow Warriors of Japan shines a light on this enigmatic subject.

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The Ninja: Ancient Shadow Warriors of Japan + True Path of the Ninja: The Definitive Translation of the Shoninki
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  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 208 Seiten
  • Verlag: Tuttle Pub (1. Januar 2009)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0804839271
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804839273
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 25,4 x 18,8 x 2 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 59.840 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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"Dr. Zoughari's visionary work connects old ways with the new, breathing life and new meaning into an often controversial subject in a way that benefits all who will read these pages."—Shihan Christopher Davy, from his Foreword

"His translation of Takamatsu's autobiography, albeit short, was powerful to me...The art shown in the book is beautiful and adds context to the text."—

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Kacem Zoughari is a researcher on Japanese studies and holds a Ph.D. in the history of Japanese classical martial arts. Zoughari is an internationally recognized authority on the Japanese martial arts and is also a licensed instructor of Ninjutsu. He conducts seminars in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Shihan Christopher Davy holds a tenth degree black belt under Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi Soke of Japan. He has been training in the martial arts for over 30 years.

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Another view on history 20. April 2014
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Recently, many books on the history of the ninja have been written...
Recently, a very different view on the ninja is coming up.... but still there is this work... it's a scientific book, done by a true expert in japanese history, who lived years in japan, studying various classical japanese martial arts (koryu traditions) like Yagyu Shinkage ryu, Dr. Zoughari has published a book on the history of the Ninja.
He examined a lot of various transmissions from Koka and Iga Ninjutsu traditions - to examine the history of the Ninja. And even if the book has a very clear Bujinkan aspects within, it'S a very good read with many informations and references to the different ninjutsu history documents and transmissions, not only on the schools of the Bujinkan.

It's a well good read - and a good literature to balance the other books on this topic, to get a good overall view on the old japanese scout and spy, once called Ninja
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0 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Good !! 19. März 2011
Von Kiddo
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
The book was very well presented ..
There are many nice pictures with good explanations!
I would recommend this book: D
It also presents the history as well
Enjoy the read ;)
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.2 von 5 Sternen  17 Rezensionen
7 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen A good book but still not the history of the ninja 8. Dezember 2010
Von Stage 3 - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Dr Zoughari's book on the Ninja is certainly well footnoted and he has gone to a lot of effort to track down sources but at the end of the book I still felt like I did not know what a ninja was. The author showed that the ninja was not the assassin of the popular imagination but that a ninja was a good guard against another ninja who may have been tasked to carry out an atypical assassination mission. I just felt that the book gave me a lot of facts but that it did not not provide the big picture. He did have coherent themes running through the book and he did discuss the possible origins of the ninja, including foreign connections, as well as how their role changed from military intelligence gatherers to something akin to a secret police during the Tokugawa Shogunate but to me the history of the ninjas did not come through.

He discussed the Iga and Koga prefectures and how they were the traditional homes of the ninja clans but he also talked about ninjas and shinobi from other clans, assessing that other clans also taught ninja techniques. He described Iga and Koga prefectures as isolated and rugged so being the perfect training areas for the ninja but why just those two areas, why not other rugged and isolated parts of Japan.

While Dr Zoughari provided some examples of ninja or shinobi uses I could not see where he gave his view on where they fitted into the martial structure of Japan, which was what I was after. Were ninja's assigned to clans or were they used as a resource of the shogun thus allowing him to control all information. If the ninja were an integral part of the samurai armies then why is there no mention of their work in Korea during Hideyoshi's invasion of 1592-98? Is this dearth of knowledge a result of their effectiveness or because daimyos wanted to claim all credit for themselves and their clans, or have we still not understood what ninjas did and who they were?

The author's background in ninjutsu probably made him less critical on some aspects of ninjutsu but that did not distract from the book. He was also not pushing the ninja as a superman. He also clearly showed that while some of the WW2 spy training used at the Nakano was similar to ninja training, those aspects as well as others were probably also similar to spy schools across the globe due to the nature of the work. He also pointed out that ninja training was family based and not a mass training regime such as a military uses.

I suspect that if you are a practitioner of ninjutsu then you will still get much worthwhile information out of the book, especially the later chapters on the essence on ninjutsu and the secret text of ninjutsu. If you are trying to understand what the ninja's or shinobi were and how they fitted in to Japanese warfare model then you will get a lot from the book but I think you will still be left with a lot of questions unanswered.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen The Ancient and Modern Ninja 8. Juli 2011
Von Zack Davisson - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Dr. Kacem Zoughari took on a difficult task in "The Ninja: Ancient Shadow Warriors of Japan," He attempted to combine in one short book two aspects of ninja; the historical spy and castle-breaker of ancient Japan, and the modern spiritual warrior path of Hatsumi Masaski. But the two halves are not given equal treatment. Zoughari is himself a martial artist, a licensed instructor of ninjutsu, and his bias towards the martial arts aspect of ninjutsu is readily apparent.

The first three chapters deal with history. Zoughari defines ninjas, then writes about the public and private histories of Japan's most mysterious and legend-shrouded figures. His efforts here are the least successful part of the book. Even in their own time, it was hard to separate fact from fiction regarding ninja, and Zoughari doesn't even attempt it. Instead, he just presents details without interpretation, gives lists of dates and names that are soon read and soon forgotten. I really had to slog through this part of the book, and almost gave up due to the bland and lifeless writing. Zoughari uses lots of one-sentence paragraphs and gives dates and names without context. The writing was so poor that I wondered in perhaps Zoughari was not a native English speaker and perhaps this book was just a poor translations.

But then with chapter four, "The Essense of Ninja," Zoughari opens up, showing us where his passion truly lies. The prose becomes fluid and almost poetic as he talks about ninjutsu as a martial art, as the battle of ego against body, and compares the strict kata forms of karate and judo with the adaptability of ninjutsu's kamae poses. Clearly, this was the book Zoughari wanted to write, not the dry, factual accounts of historical ninja.

One of the big problems is that both aspects of ninja, the historical and modern, have been written about better. Historian Stephen Turnbull's Ninja: The True Story of Japan's Secret Warrior Cult is a fantastic account of the historical ninja, one that diligently separates the fact from fiction and accounts the creation, evolution, and eventual destruction of the Iga and Koga tribe of assassins and spies for hire. Turnbull's account of historical ninja is superior in every way to Zoughari's brief chapters. One the topic of the modern ninja and the martial art of ninjutsu, Hatsumi Masaaki has written his own books (The Way of the Ninja, Ninja Secrets from the Grandmaster), which detail the philosophy, training and tradition that he represents.

Another problem is that Zoughari also devotes about a third of "The Ninja: Ancient Shadow Warriors of Japan" to a detailed appendix, written in tiny print that is difficult to read. An academic, I understand why Zoughari used this method but for a popular book on ninja he would have done better folding the appendix notes into the main text, telling us the story of ninjas rather than just lists of facts.

There is good information here, and when Zoughari gets writing about Hatsumi's teacher Takamatsu Toshiitsugu the book really comes alive. I found myself wishing Zoughari had written a biography of Takamatsu rather than a book about ninja, and judging from the way the writing changes Zoughari probably thinks so too.

Unfortunately, this is the book he wrote. "The Ninja: Ancient Shadow Warriors of Japan" does fill a need I suppose, for those who know nothing about ninja and want a crash course in the ancient and modern. But anyone looking for a solid, throughout historical account of ninja would be better off with Turnbull's book, and anyone looking for insight into modern ninjutsu would be better off with one of Hatsumi's books.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Insightful 28. Juni 2010
Von Goemon - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
This book was thoroughly researched. The first few chapters are dense with names, dates, and obscure but documented details. It is a little dry at the start, but is well worth the read. Dr. Zhougarhi offers some very keen philosophical insights on the mind and heart of the ninja. I believe this work represents his doctoral dissertation. If you are involved in the art, you may find it a fascinating read.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent text book on the History of Ninjutsu 17. Mai 2010
Von Justin Raleigh - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I have trained many times with Dr. Zoughari and I am always impressed by his skill, dedication and passion for the art and the history of the martial arts. This book provides you with extremely detailed information on the history of Ninjutsu and his years of physical research for factual information. Although he is a student of Soke Hatsumi, I do believe he left much of the politics out of his book and kept the research to factual and documented information only.

I do agree with the previous reviewer. We should see a second volume that has more focus on the Koga Ryu clans with the same detail and dedication to the Iga clan. I look forward to training with Mr. Zoughari again and hope to see more books in the future.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen A Missed Opportunity 13. Februar 2012
Von Pen Name - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
There is an appendix in this book on the history of the changing vocabulary used to describe what we now call 'ninja'. The vocabulary listed is organised according to the major periods of Japanese history. There is also another appendix with a chronological list of events in Japanese history that runs alongside another chronological list of events related to the ninja and ninjutsu.

If the whole book had been a more thorough expansion of these two appendices, it would have real merit as a scholarly work. That the vocabulary used to describe 'ninja' changed as time went on is an interesting fact. The appendix highlighting this could have been the basis for an interesting exploration into how the ninjutsu traditions were viewed throughout history, what those views represented and what effect this may have had on the development of ninjutsu itself.

This also applies to the appendix representing the chronological events as no connection is given (other than a chronological one) between the two lists of events. No theory was offered as to any possible relationship between the two; all that exists, basically, are two lists, side by side. An exploration of this would have truly been a serious addition to the field of Japanese history (and history in general).

Much of the scholarly text (in particular, the appendices and notes) is a display of linguistic proficiency with detailed information on Japanese kanji characters and brief histories of other martial arts. There are some fairly interesting episodic references to the ninja and ninjutsu sourced from historical scrolls but some of the conclusions made from these sources are contradictory and no effort has been made to resolve them (for example, in one reference, the author writes that, "It can be concluded, then, that the mercenary aspect of the ninja of Iga and Koga rests indeed on a firm historical basis." In the reference that follows this one, he then states that, "This is a surprising example; the ninja was far from being a simple mercenary, as many seem to believe.")

A frustrating feature of this book is that while ostensibly a work on the history of the ninja and ninjutsu, there is little historical narrative present. In addition, the book is heavily weighed down with continual attempts at martial and spiritual grandeur. That the possibility of such grandeur existing within the martial arts is not in question here but the repeated attempts by the author to express it does little to add to the scholarly value of the book.

The author ends his history of the ninja with a look at the previous grandmaster of the ninjutsu tradition he claims membership with (surprisingly, there is no mention of why he does not end the book with a look at the current grandmaster). Much ink is spent on this deceased grandmaster with a translation and commentary of two of his writings. His commentary raises some interesting and valid questions on the relationship between combat and spirituality but again, the attempts at martial grandeur and wisdom have a distracting effect; one gets the feeling that the author has not experienced the spiritual epiphany he feels compelled to write about.

For any academically aware reader, this book will offer some interesting information (there is an appendix listing the historical scrolls on ninjutsu but no reference to their location) but will ultimately find it disappointing. The philological and linguistic information has value but perhaps it is best to say that linguists and philologists do not make the best historians.
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