In this piece we get an idea of the age of the document. The author makes a statement that “In today’s world, we need to confirm if there is electricity or not” when referring to a target.
Electricity as a form of power was first demonstrated in Japan on March 25, 1878 at the Institute of Technology in Toranomon, Tokyo when a lamp was switched on in commemoration of the opening of the Central Telegraph Office. At the time, electricity was uncommon not only in Japan but also in Europe and the United States. In 1886 Tokyo Electric Lighting was established as the nation’s first electric power company and started to supply electricity to the public in the following year. Military facilities had started to make use of it as soon as 1869 when Japan’s first telegraph wire was set up between Tokyo and Yokohama. By 1896, the number of electric companies established throughout the nation reached a total of 33.
Therefore, we can safely say that this densho must have been written around the time of the Bakumatsu or just after, between 1869 and 1896. After 1896 I think electricity would have become a given and not needed the extra comment of “In today’s world…”
The shinobi secure the area first and then the advance guard come in. The shinobi will engage in reconnaissance while the main troops move up to the advance guard. The most important thing to keep in mind is if the advance guard’s patrols are good or not. Depending on the advancement of the main troops, the Capitan of the unit will decide if an attack should be carried out by the advance guard alone.
– The first thing to do is to determine the (appropriate) time (of attack) by the enemy’s movements.
– Don’t lose the opportunity for an attack.
– Keep in mind the amount of time it will take for the shinobi units to prepare for the attack.
Once set up at the infiltration point, the Shinobi Commander will have a good grasp of his own group and will be on high alert for the enemy. He will obtain (text missing) for the attack. However, at this time, especially since we are to reconnoiter for the enemy again and again, (we must be careful that) our movements do not become known to the enemy. Understood? If the reconnaissance at this time is of the utmost importance it is best to send out the most skilled shinobi in the group. In such a case, the shinobi Commander should decide upon on a signal to use only when it is impossible to attack. Understand? As this signal is to call off or abandon an attack, it may be made known to the enemy. A specialized smoke signal is especially useful to inform all members of the Shinobi unit.
Since most Shinobi attacks are carried out at night, we must be careful of sound and light. The enemy will know our movements by these two things, so we must be especially careful. Understood?
By the order of the General, the target we are given is the goal of our attack. Our movements are to be kept secret from start to finish and we will cause destruction, commit arson, carry out bombings, kill, maim, plot, etc. Understood?
When the shinobi attack, the chief must be especially meticulous in his preparations, and carefully ready the unit.
- 敵の動きを入手するために二、三の先出の者を出行させる時は御大将及び我が組の入用なる目標を細密に調べ、敵の動きを知るを第一とす。されどその際に一目標ばかりを我が組の者が調べておれば、おのずから我が攻撃目標を敵の者も知る事となれば、この事も気を付けて動く事。よいか。時間の許す限 り、 他の事項も忍取る及び兵の配り法を見る事。左のごとき物を忍び取ればよしとす。
When sending out two or three of the advance troops to obtain the enemy’s movements, they should make a detailed investigation of the (enemy) General and our unit’s most important targets. The priority is to learn of the enemy’s movements. However, if our unit members only check one target, the enemy will naturally know the target of our attack, so you must be careful about this. Understood? If time permits, look at other matters as well, such as how to take out enemy shinobi and how to distribute our soldiers. It is good if we can obtain the following through methods of stealth.
The target’s movements
The disposition of the security personnel, how many of them there are, their leader’s name
The hours of movement, hours per shift, timing of shift changes
Circumstances of the (enemy’s) camp
Location and movements of the guards, day and night
- 警備及び警報装置 敵の警戒口及び兵の持物。防備施設。障碍物。今まなら電化。地雷有。無。警報装置
Locations of security and alarm systems, enemy guard posts and their belongings. Defensive fortifications. Obstacles. In today’s world, we need to confirm if there is electricity or not. Land mines present or not.
Details of the target
Target location and status details to be vigilant about
The status of directly policing the necessary target details
Status of the behavior of the personnel
Topography near the target
- 潜伏地点。潜入。口口等に利用すべき地形、我が動きにさまたげになる地形地物 (河川。湖沼。湿地。森林。地隙。断崖。口囲壁。) 利用出来る応用材料の有無
Infiltration points. Terrain that should be used for infiltration, terrain that hinders our movement (rivers, lakes, marshes, forests, crevasses, cliffs, enclosure walls, etc.) The availability of raw materials that can be made use of,
Weather conditions near the target
Wind direction and speed, especially constant winds and the particular local wind conditions, and their effect on the target, such as rainfall. etc.
When attacking the decided target, based on the allocation of the team members and the items they need for that specific target, we consider the target’s position and its movements, its topography, etc. To aid the movements of our shinobi, if possible, it is exceptionally good to include a second person in the group. Understood?
If possible, the second person should be used primarily in preparation for and in the event of an untimely attack on a new target. In addition, the second man can be used when moving with allies or taking in friendly shinobi units. Alright? At that time, prepare any items that may be used.
Items that can be used by the shinobi for a direct attack, are the means of attack for the team. There are various variations depending on the type of personnel target, but for the sake of the target, no matter what time of day it is, make every effort to avoid failure. Understood? And depending on the target, the land itself or the things that can burn, apply gunpowder. Use logic and make every effort to achieve the goals of the group. Understood?
To attack the target, if possible, each member of the team should decide what he or she is going to bring with him or her, according to his or her specialty and attack. However, no matter their specialties, don’t let the attack go to waste. Understood? Our first priority is to keep our movements and targets unknown to the enemy. Got it?
The shinobi commander should make every effort (so as not to be discovered by the enemy) and go out first. To ensure that the items to be used are ready as planned and scheduled, they will need to be prepared ahead of time or brought in by the units. The units attack. The enemy moves. You can’t move in very small groups, and you have to be careful (skeptical) if your attacks and plans are naturally coming together. Understood chief?
This closes the chapter, Shinobi Gyorai no Koto (忍行来之事), which I loosely translate as “shinobi activities”. It was a very long chapter, many pages thick. The following chapters are much shorter and on a wider variety of topics. In my opinion, moving forward in this densho, it gets much more interesting. So, stay tuned for further translation updates.
Next chapter: Kogeki no Koto 攻撃之事 (On Attacking)
Sean Askew – 導冬 – Dōtō
March 26th, 2021