Nearly 900 years have passed since Nishina Daisuke created the Togakure school of ninjutsu. Since then the stories of the ninja have been told many times, and they will probably be told many times more, because the ninja are a tale filled with all the elements of romantic history: it is set in an exotic time and place, filled with both supremely honorable and deeply corrupted characters, and then imbued with secrets. Much of the mystery surrounding the “shinobi” or ninja comes from a lack of knowledge, and from the many uninformed writers who have taken imaginative liberties with the known facts. Secretive societies, as the shinobi truly were, have always captivated the mind of people outside of them. This type of romantic ideal of the ninja is fine for entertainment but as history it is, at best, a waste of time, and even worst, extremely misleading. Since the ninja were historical, and not just a mythological phenomenon, new information and evidence is continually being discovered, clarifying some of the mystery and uncertainties, though not nearly all of them. And as more information is continually coming to light, rediscovered from the dusty recesses of archives and libraries, the motives of the ninja – Those mysterious men, both warrior and monk – become more understandable and accessible. Surprisingly, here with the Hidden Lineage authored by Sean Askew, an actual practitioner of the Togakure Ryu, uncovering these mysteries makes the ninja story itself become more, not less, fascinating.
I am a practitioner of Bujinkan in Japan. I have studied this art for more than 33 years. I live in Japan. Also one of my great passions is history, Japanese history but also any history that comes with conflict or great changes in human history. Why do I love this book? In this book I finally find a non native Japanese, who actually can Read and Speak Japanese and with great passion and skill have spend decades on finding hidden evidence on the Ninjas history in Japan. Many foreigners who writes about Ninjas in Japan does not speak Japanese and therefore have to rely on others. This limits them a lot and it shows in their various bestseller books about the Japanese Ninjas. How can you even find any facts on Ninjas besides the Shoninki, Ninpiden or Bansenshukai? This is where the foreign scholars get stuck( Anthony Cummins and Stephen Turnbull), because there is much more knowledge out there but you have to look for it in Japanese. What this author has taught me is there were so many more Ninja clans out there than I ever thought. He has opened a new door in the Ninja universe and I hope that more people will read this book and step through that door and do more research!!!
Whether you’re a martial artist, nipponophile or just love literature, this historical view into the real history of the ninja is outstanding. The author is in a unique position as both a scholar of Japanese language and history and as a long-time high level practitioner who has had a unique level of access and dialogue with Masaaki Hatsumi. The book is a delight to read and look at. Askew has a style of writing that satisfies the appetite of the academics or deeply committed enthusiasts of the subject yet tells the tale in a bright conversational style that explains as it goes so the reader is really able to get a clear understanding of the time and events. It is lavishly illustrated, almost every page has photographs or illustrations so it really captivates your attention fills your senses. This is a book that is joy to spend time with and the reader leaves as a well informed minor expert of the subject.
I have nothing but good things to say about this book. Secret societies in general are very difficult to gather information on; but Massaki Hatsumi has given us all a sneak peak into the world of Ninpo Tai Shin Gi Tai. Sean has done an amazing job researching this, and backs all of his claims with verifiable sources. I can’t wait to read the next book.
This was a fascinating story, tracing the Togakure ninja clan’s origins from Mt. Togakushi down to the well-known ninja hotbed of Iga. The discovery of Toda Shinryuken’s identity is hard to dispute. Not only does this book present a scholarly approach, with credible evidence tracing the Togakure Ryu lineage, I was surprised by the apparent links to falconry. I’m eager to read Mr. Askew’s next book.
The book touches on several elements of Japanese history as they relate to the Hidden Lineage and identify the huge obstacles that research in this area faces. Individuals not familiar with the main topic will find it less of a challenge than most other books on this topic to get into. For those seeking insight into this area of Japanese history presenting it in a more personal fashion than the average droll history lesson - it is an excellent contribution to the subject. Mr Askew presents a thorough investigation into the identity of a key figure in the Togakure Ryu system. The legwork for which alone well deserves an award.
Excellent historical look at the ninja. Finally a book that can make claims and show factual linkage with those claims. If your interested in the history of the Ninja and who was who, this is the book. Very well written. Highly recommend! 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻
You can tell a lot of time was spent researching the history of this martial art! It was really well written and leaves you wanting to learn more. Anyone interested in history and martial arts will find something of interest and probably debate. Check it out!
Today, I received my copy of Sean Askew’s “Hidden Lineage: The Ninja of the Toda Clan”. Already read it, and will continue re-reading it. Highly recommended reading for all Takamatsu-den ryuha practitioners, and for anyone interested in Ninjutsu history.
For people interested in the history of ninjutsu, its origins and how it developed and lasted into the modern era, check out this new book by Bujinkan Daishihan Sean Askew, entitled Hidden Lineage - The Ninja of the Toda Clan. (Members of our dojo here in Dublin did some work on this book to help bring it to fruition and having read it thoroughly, we can strongly recommend it.
Hats off! So much work went into this research.Most definitely have to respect the time consuming research. Takamatsu would be honored.
Hidden Lineage by Sean Askew is exceptional. If you study #togakureryu this book is not a maybe, it is a must.
If you enjoy investigations into martial arts history and traditions this book is fascinating.
Fantastic book for anyone interested in the history of Japanese ninjitsu history!
I think that this book will become as popular as the purple togakure book.