Isaac Meyer

Historian, teacher, podcaster

Tag: Ninja

Episode 232 – A Thief in the Night

This week, we spend an entire history podcast talking about someone who may not even have actually existed — the legendary thief Ishikawa Goemon.

Listen to the episode here.

The link to submit questions for the AMA is here.

Sources

Brandon, James R. Kabuki Plays On-Stage: Villainy and Vengeance, 1773-1799

Morris, Ivan. The Nobility of Failure.

Botsman, Daniel. Punishment and Power in the Making of Modern Japan.

Images

An Utagawa Kunisada print of Ishikawa infiltrating “Mashiba’s” palace from Sanmon no Kiri.

A Toyokuni print of Goemon’s death from the late Edo period.

An Utagawa Kunisada print of the final scene of Sanmon no Kiri, showing the death scene.

A modern Goemonburo, made of ceramic instead of metal.

Nanzenji temple, which, to be fair, does appear to be a fairly pretty place to be boiled alive.

Episode 41 – Striking from the Shadows

This week, we’re going to discuss the ninja, or at least what we can discern about them from the limited information that’s out there. We’ll discuss their origins, historic exploits, and the mythologization that turned them into the pop culture warriors we know and love today.

Listen to the episode here.

Sources

Sansom, George. A History of Japan, Vol II: 1334-1615

Turnbull, Stephen.Ninja: The True Story of Japan’s Secret Warriors.

Images (Courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation)

Yamato Takeru, the imperial prince who dressed as a woman to assassinate his enemies.

Yamato Takeru, the imperial prince who dressed as a woman to assassinate his enemies.

The location of Iga province.

The location of Iga province.

A Sengoku-period travel garment with secret armor worn beneath it. This kind of gear would be utilized by Iga or Koga ninja.

A Sengoku-period travel garment with secret armor worn beneath it. This kind of gear would be utilized by Iga or Koga ninja.

Hattori Hanzo, the samurai who brought the Iga ninja into Tokugawa service.

Hattori Hanzo, the samurai who brought the Iga ninja into Tokugawa service.

The ninja archetype as we understand it dates to the mass culture of the Edo Period. This image is from the Hokusai Manga, and dates from the early 1800s.

The ninja archetype as we understand it dates to the mass culture of the Edo Period. This image is from the Hokusai Manga, and dates from the early 1800s.

A villain from a kabuki drama utilizing ninja talents to escape. The mythologization of the ninja dates back to the Edo Period low-brow entertainments of ukiyo-e and kabuki.

A villain from a kabuki drama utilizing ninja talents to escape. The mythologization of the ninja dates back to the Edo Period low-brow entertainments of ukiyo-e and kabuki.

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