Recently, I have been asked by several people why I am taking so much time in translating this Yasuda Ryu ninjutsu densho, so I felt it is best to explain myself some and my goals with this project.
Firstly, Soke included this in his book “Ninpo Taizen” (忍法大全) and stated that this was an example of a ninjutsu manuscript that he wanted to share with us. He felt it was worth putting the whole document in his book. Unfortunately, according to Soke, he did not have anyone that wanted to take on the task of translating this document due to its difficulty. Last year I officially given the ok to translate this for him and publish it when complete.
Second, by taking my time, translating it piece by piece, I am able to ponder and question it as I go. If Soke thought this document was important enough to include in his book, I want to make sure I understand it properly before I publish it. By the time I get to the end of the document I highly expect to go back through it making small corrections based on a total and more complete understanding of the densho.
Third, by translating it like this in the open, piece by piece, I have been able to allow others who have the capacity to understand the Japanese language help me with corrections and small details that I may have missed.
So, while this may take some time, by the time I am finished with this project, I believe it will be a solid translation and I will be able to add my own commentary to the original to help the reader understand some concepts and ideas that are not typically found in our western culture, whether it be a military term or just a mundane everyday term that is just not easily translated.
This text has been incredibly difficult for me to translate. I am not a translator by profession, although I do use Japanese every day, all day at work. (I am the only American in my office). But with persistence, lots of dictionary searching and often consulting with Japanese historians at various Universities and associations, I have thus far made it. But with still many many pages to go. In my opinion we are still in the boring parts of the densho. But very soon the contents become a lot more interesting and alive with some very cool passages on ninjutsu techniques and strategies.
I hope you are enjoying this project as much as I am!
Part 18 of the Yasuda Ryu Ninjutsu Densho (From Soke’s book Ninpo Taizen)
For parts 1 through 17 please see my previous blog posts in the translations section. Enjoy!
If the shinobi commander is given the order for an infiltration mission (short-term or long-term), on that occasion one is wrapped up in vigorous information collection activity. The number of people and the power of the enemy is to be considered. Movements based on the actions or thinking of the households. Are they confident and strong or feeble and weak? The terrain. The location. The weather. (for that land) (countermeasures for various weather conditions) The length of the infiltration, military funds, measures for sick people, movements for in case of a retreat, the methods of communication with friendlies. The locations of the shinobi. Their movements.
Only after receiving the request for the infiltration mission, select locations in the enemy’s land and the intermediate lands that firstly, hide you from the enemies on the ground and in high places. Depending on the purpose or objective, the shinobi contacts the main units with their location when they attack or afterwards when it is easier to move. Moreover, make our movements considering the lands, etc. where we can do the most damage. Understood? At that time, use lands that are difficult for the enemy to attack.
The shinobi’s location, when possible should be a place where the enemy can be observed. (but be careful, the place where one can easily see the enemy is also a place where the enemy can easily see the shinobi) Use a home in the enemy’s lands or in lands that are in favor with the enemy. Use their dialect. Be especially careful of the people moving in and out of this place and observe their movements. Understood? Anyone who is aware of our presence will certainly inform the enemy. It is vital, when possible, to prevent them from entering and leaving. Understood? When you are few in numbers do not use a house in the enemy’s lands.
Sean Askew – Dōtō 導冬
Bujinkan Kokusai Renkoumyo
May 15th, 2020